Off the beaten track, you'll find Lake Dunethin - Bli Bli's hidden gem - a small inlet on the southern side of the Maroochy River. The locals call Dunethin Lake the 'Frying pan' - I suspect this is perhaps because of its shape - but this is a spot that has something for everyone.
With exceptional views of the Ranges, this little gem provides picnic tables, a jetty, boat ramp andDunethin Rock for the more energetic, so it's perfect for a family day out, away from the crowds. Fishermen have their choice of fishing the protected inlet of Lake Dunethin or the Maroochy River itself, with catches including mangrove jack, bream, flathead and mud crab.
Scramble up Dunethin Rock for some of the best views in the house - Image: Elaine de Wet
Dunethin Rock is a perfect viewing spot for the local kookaburra population too.
In the 1880's steamships from Brisbane would paddle up the Maroochy River as far as Dunethin Rock. A decade or so later smaller mailboats carried sugar cane to Dunethin Rock where a horse-drawn tram would carry the cane to mills in nearby Nambour.
Can you spot Maroochy, the swan? - Image: Elaine de Wet
I love local legends, don't you? There's an Indigenous Dreamtime story regarding Mount Ninderry, which one can view from Dunethin Lake. The legend goes that a young Aboriginal warrior called Coolum was in love with Maroochy, a beautiful girl from his tribe. All was well as the tribal elders had approved their union. However, one day, a warrior called Ninderry from another tribe kidnapped Maroochy while Coolum was out hunting.
The two warriors engaged in an epic battle for Maroochy, and while fighting, Ninderry struck Coolum with a club, knocking his head right off. Coolum's headless body turned to stone, forming what is now known as Mount Coolum and his head rolled into the sea and became Mudjimba Island.
The spirit gods were so angry by Ninderry's interference in the approved union of Coolum and Maroochy and the killing of Coolum, that they turned Ninderry to stone and he became Mount Ninderry.
Mount Ninderry after being turned to stone - Image: Elaine de Wet
When Maroochy discovered what had happened to her beloved Coolum, she fled inland to the Blackall Ranges, where she wept so much her tears flooded down the mountain range to the sea, forming the Maroochy River. Maroochy was determined to find Coolum's spirit, so she transformed herself into a swan so she could travel up and down the river in search of her lover's spirit.
Glimpses of Maroochy's tears, Maroochy River - Image: Elaine de Wet
The Maroochy River Trail is about thirty kilometres long with the upper reaches of the Trail commencing at Lake Dunethin. From the trail head paddlers have the option to paddle north to George Best Park or south to Coolum Creek, the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary and Mangrove Islands into the lower reaches of the Maroochy River.
Lake Dunethin Scouts, positioned on the site of the original Maroochy River State School at Lake Dunethin Road, Maroochy River is within walking distance of Lake Dunethin, hires canoes for paddlers and for a nominal fee one can camp on their grounds too.
Boating enthusiasts can launch from the boat ramp - Image: Elaine de Wet