We all know that there's nothing quite like getting out and about with our furry family members. But, with all the new 'restrictions' coming into play regarding crowd gatherings, I feel sure a few less crowded, dog-friendly (on a leash) walks in the fresh air, would work wonders towards maintaining pet owners' healthy lifestyles and mindsets. Besides … regular walks appear to enhance immune functions, which is a huge plus in my book, for warding off winter colds and flu!
The jury is still out on whether it's the access to green space being linked to a significant lift in mental wellbeing - or simply a consequence of some fresher air in your lungs. Whatever the reason, it's a good reason to check out some local dog-friendly walks on the Sunshine Coast!
1. Ben Bennett Bushland Park Queen Street, Caloundra West
In the heart of Caloundra is the Ben Bennett Bushland Park
The Ben Bennett Bushland Park is one of the few remaining remnant bushland areas in the heart of Caloundra. Visitors can access the twenty-one hectare Ben Bennett Bushland Park via the car park entrance in Queens Street. This remnant green space provides valuable environmental education opportunities for all ages, including wildflower spotting, bird watching, photography and of course, exercise walking with our furry family members, on a leash.
Maps detailing the self-guided walks are available at the Queen Street entrance. These include the:
Rainforest Trail - 1.1km return, 30 minutes, little climb; Heath Trail - 1km return, 30 minutes, little climb; and the Eucalypt Trail
Pack a picnic and find a spot at one of the sheltered picnic areas. BBQs and toilet facilities are also available. A fabulous family day out awaits!
2. Buderim Palmwoods Heritage Tramway Walk Corner of Mons Road and Telco Road, Buderim
A fabulous walk with historical tidbits en route
The Buderim Palmwoods Heritage Tramway Walk is a fun 4kms return walk, providing walkers and joggers with interesting historical tidbits en route. This dog friendly (on a leash) walk starts from the corner of Mons and Telco Roads in Buderim, with a grassed parking area to leave your vehicle.
A wheelchair-friendly access ramp with a gentle gradient from top to bottom takes you down to the start of the moderate walking track. Give yourself at least an hour to complete the round-trip of the Trail and look out for plaques and information boards along the way as there is plenty to see and absorb. Try to imagine how tough life must have been for the early settlers …
A moderate walking track, perfect for the 'oldies'! Image: pasja1000 to Pixabay License
The only 'flaw' to the near-perfect Heritage Tramway Walk is that no freshwater or loos are available - please bring your own water for you and your fur babies.
The Buderim Palmwoods Heritage Tramway Walk is suitable for walkers and runners, but not suitable for bicycles or horses.
3. Eric Joseph Foote War Memorial Sanctuary
Park Lane, Buderim
A local Buderim secret!
Located on twenty-three acres on the eastern slopes of Buderim Mountain you'll find the Eric Joseph Foote War Memorial Sanctuary - an impressive location to observe Buderim's fauna and flora. In 1948, a local farming community family, the Foote family, gifted this land to the Buderim War Memorial Community Association. This land dedication was to the memory of their son, Eric, who had been killed in the fighting at the Somme during the First World War.
Enjoy either a casual stroll or something a bit more challenging, with your leashed furry friend, on one of the six walking trails, marked 'easy to moderate' or 'difficult'.
Botanic Track - 20 minutes - the Botanic Track follows a sealed path through juvenile rainforest, with picturesque creeks and native plantings en route, making this one of the most popular of the Sanctuary walks (easy to moderate)
Stay away from long grass during tick season! Image: lucag1978 to Pixabay License
Cascade Circuit - 40 minutes - the Cascade track is a steep descent from the sealed track, but well worth doing, to view the permanent water flow over the basalt rocks, set amongst the young rainforest canopy (moderate)
Southern Track - 15 minutes - the Southern Track is a lovely undulating bush track that takes walkers through the original plantations that were established more than forty years ago (easy)
Brant's Circuit - one hour - the Brant's Circuit takes walkers through an area donated to the community by the Brant family. The birdlife is abundant through the rainforest sections - please note that the walk back to the gazebo is all uphill (moderate to difficult)
Challenge Track - one hour - the Challenge Track offers walkers a steeper circuit than the other tracks but again, well worth doing to enjoy the views across the Northwest. The birdlife is prolific, with viewings of Little Eagles, Pacific Bazas', Lorikeets and Wrens, who all find shelter in this woodland vegetation (moderate to difficult)
Eucalyptus Track - 45 minutes - the Eucalyptus Track is an amazing walk through natural woodland forest and eucalyptus (gum tree) plantings - keep an eye out for the plentiful birds, either on the ground or in the trees (moderate)
An undercover gazebo, electric BBQ's, tap water, ablution block, picnic tables and a large grassed area to throw a blanket down, all add to the allure of packing a picnic for a family day out at the Foote Sanctuary of Buderim!
4. Gary Evans Walkway
Petrie Park Road, Nambour
The Gary Evans Walkway is a paved walkway that runs along the banks of Petrie Creek, a tributary of the Maroochy River, in Petrie Park.
A green oasis in the heart of Nambour
This little oasis in the heart of Nambour offers walkers an approximate 3kms return walk, boasting creekside picnic areas and sun-basking water dragons. Our four-pawed pals are permitted on the Gary Evans Walkway from Monday to Friday.
Petrie Park also houses the ever-popular Model Railway Park, the miniature steam and diesel trains that run on the fourth Sunday of every month. Train rides are only $3 each or four tickets for $10. Children under three ride free and our doggies, on a leash, are welcomed here too.
5. Mountain Creek Recreational Trail
Mountain Creek, Buderim
An easy grade walk or cycle trail
Tucked away in the heart of Buderim, walkers and cyclists will discover the Mountain Creek Recreational Trail. The approximate four kilometre level, easy grade walk or cycle trail, runs alongside the creek, through wetlands and on to tall open forest trails, giving visitors a feeling of having 'gone bush'.
Historically, the waterways and forests of the Mountain Creek Conservation area provided an abundance of resources, including food, shelter and tools for local Indigenous people. Today, this lush green area provides an integral corridor for wildlife through to the Mooloolah River National Park.
Go bush with your furry family members
The Mountain Creek Recreational Trail is a fantastic walkabout destination for any time of the day. Early mornings walkers and cyclists will enjoy the calls of local birds, whilst the tall forest trees provide much needed all day shade from the sun. Our furry pals, on a leash, love exploring and sniffing out all the new smells on offer and judging by how many dog lovers use these trails, are guaranteed to make new friends too.
6. Noosa Botanic Gardens
Lake Macdonald Drive, Lake Macdonald
large lawn areas with winding paths leading to picnic spots
a Greek-style amphitheatre (a circular structure with rows of seats)
children's play facilities
permaculture and composting area
Pelicans preening at the Noosa Botanic Gardens
The Noosa Botanic Gardens are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and our furry friends are permitted, on a leash. Doggy litter bags are also provided, should one forget to bring one's own. There are no barbecue facilities in the Botanic Gardens, but there are two electric barbecues in the adjoining foreshore park, next to the boat ramp.
7. Point Cartwright Nature Walks
Lot 577 Pacific Blvd, Buddina
Flanked on one side with the ocean and Mooloolah River on the other, Point Cartwright has its own un-patrolled beach, located at the base of the headland at the northern end of Kawana Beach.
A choice of different walks at Point Cartwright
Park your car at La Balsa carpark and take a stroll up to the Unity Water Reservoir for the Lighthouse walk. This colourful Reservoir with its striking mural depicts local sea life and birds, perfectly in sync with the natural surrounds of bushland and ocean. The Point Cartwright Lighthouse is located right next to the Reservoir and this is where the most exceptional ocean views (and whale watching) can be enjoyed. Continue down through the expansive grassed park area, ideal for those large family picnics, and onwards to the beach.
Alternatively, for the bush track, take the stairs leading down through the bush and discover the La Balsa Park's walking paths that run along the fringes of the Mooloolah River. This paved walkway meanders around the headland, leading back up towards the open parkland and the Lighthouse.
This area is also an off-leash doggie area, but please note that there are time restrictions for when and where our furry pals are permitted off lead. Please heed the signage (which is plentiful), giving dog owners the necessary time guidelines.
Point Cartwright is an awesome spot for a family day out. Get there early to secure a park.
Everyone loves the water!
So, whether you and your pet love to hike; love to toss a frisbee on one of our dog-friendly beaches or enjoy a dogga-cino at a local cafe, I think we have it 'covered' (excuse the pun). Bookmark these dog-friendly (on a leash) walks and let's make it about connecting more people and their dogs with nature.
All images courtesy of author unless otherwise indicated