After a big few weeks of work, I was really looking forward to a weekend away, kayaking through the Cooloola Recreation Area along the Upper Noosa River. My brother has done this trip a few times and made the perfect guide (well, except for the missed turn up Kin Kin river that added about 7 extra kilometres to our trip).
Lucky for me, my brother provided me with all of the kayaking gear needed for a great trip, but if you don’t have your own gear, it is easy enough to hire locally.
Taking off mid-morning from Elanda point, it was about an hour kayak across Lake Cootharaba to Kinaba Ranger’s Hut where you will also find an information centre and toilet facilities. We stopped for morning tea before heading for our next checkpoint, Harry’s Hut.
Just past Kinaba, the river splits in two – left to Kin Kin creek and right to the Upper Noosa River. Somehow we missed the signs that directed us right and me, not really knowing where I was going and assuming my brother knew the way, we headed left and it took about 45 mins and nearly 4kms before we realised that we were going the wrong way. After turning back towards Kinaba we found the Upper Noosa again and passed through a field of water lilies only a few hundred metres past the turn off (so a tip for young players – if you don’t hit the lilies soon after Kinaba then you’ve gone the wrong way!). Consequently with the detour it was about 2 1/2 hours and about 12kms before we finally reached our Harry’s Hut checkpoint for lunch.
With the day getting away from us, we had to put the skates on to get to our next checkpoint, Campsite 5, about 7kms upstream. It’s a beautiful stretch of the river, known as the Everglades. The water is nearly black due to the tanins from the trees that line the banks, creating stunning reflections. Good for keeping the motivation up. When we reached Campsite 5, there were already campers set up and so were weren’t able to get out and stretch the legs. We stopped for a quick afternoon tea break and continued on our way to final destination for the day, Campsite 8, a further 5kms away.
Now I haven’t kayaked for a while and certainly not this sort of distance, so the body was starting to protest and our earlier detour had not helped matters. I just had to push through or we were in danger of not making our campsite before dark. As it was, we arrived with darkness upon us. We had about 15 minutes of partial light to unpack the kayaks and set up our tents before it went pitch black, and with a new moon in the sky there was no help from above. A dinner of spaghetti bolognese fuelled our tired bodies and after listening to some tunes in the darkness, we were in bed and asleep by 8pm.
Awake with the sun, we were packed up and on our way back before 7am. Day 2 was less eventful (and also shorter without the detour) thankfully and we were back at Elanda Point by lunchtime.
All in all an awesome two days and perfect for clearing the mind and working the body. I pulled up surprisingly well the next day, with only some tenderness in my shoulder blades and stiff hands to show for my efforts.