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Canoe up the Noosa River

Home > Sunshine Coast > Day Trips | Escape the City | Health and Fitness
by Katherine Quinn (subscribe)
A freelance journalist who can often be found cycling, bushwalking and swimming in and around south-east Queensland
Published December 27th 2013
Is this the most tranquil place on earth?
Lake Cootharaba, about 2 hours north of Brisbane, is a picturesque and family-friendly lake with plenty to offer the watersports enthusiast. It can be accessed from Boreen Point or Elanda Point, and both places offer camping as well.

The lake is shallow, making it a great place for kids to splash around in. It's surrounded by paperbark gums, making it a scenic venue for sailing, wind-surfing and kite-surfing.

Elanda Point is the best place to embark on a canoe or kayak trip up the Noosa river. There is a variety of equipment and craft available for hire. Kayaks can also be hired from the Boreen Point campground, however starting there will add an extra half hour or so each way to your journey.

lake cootharaba pelicans
Pelicans are part of Lake Cootharaba's abundant birdlife


From Elanda Point it takes about an hour to canoe across the lake to the first landmark, Kinaba. This is the site of the Sir Thomas Hiley Information Centre, where you can find out a little bit about the lake and wildlife. The canoe can be tied up to the stairs if a rest break is needed. There are plenty of pelicans offering photo opportunities along the way.

From Kinaba, it takes another 20 minutes to get to Fig Tree Lake, which has a beautiful mat of lilies and a variety of bird life. This is the last stretch of open water before entering the Noosa Everglades.

Once in the Noosa river system, the tranquillity descends and often the only noise you hear is the sound of oars moving through the water. Paddling is easy in this sheltered stretch of the river, so there is time to take in the beauty of the Cooloola National Park.

Canoe Noosa river
The tranquillity of the Noosa river


After an hour of paddling, the first opportunity to come to shore is at Harry's Hut. This hut was built in 1957 and originally housed timber cutters who worked in the surrounding forest. It's now a protected cultural site. There are covered picnic tables here to have lunch at and camping areas for those who are continuing their journey up the river.

Harry's hut
Harry's Hut is a protected cultural site and the ideal destination for this day trip


Elanda Point to Harry's Hut is an excellent day trip, and suitable for beginner paddlers. If the wind is strong it may be difficult canoeing back over the lake, however it is shallow enough get out of the canoe and stop for a rest at any time.

kayak noosa river
Kayaks and canoes are the ideal way to experience the Noosa river


Visit the Elanda Point Canoe Company website before you go. During busy periods bookings are recommended.
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Why? Escape the city
Where: Lake Cootharaba and Noosa river
Cost: $60 - $120
Your Comment
I love your photography! Such crisp photos :)
by Tema (score: 2|784) 1877 days ago
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