Thinking about hiking one of Australia’s up-and-coming Great Walks? Between Noosa and Rainbow Beach, lies a remote region of tall eucalyptus forests, hidden sub-tropical rainforests, epic coastal cliffs and giant sand dunes just waiting to be explored. Here’s eight reasons why the Cooloola Great Walk should be on your hiking bucket list this year.
After starting the walk through plains of stunning wildflowers (late Winter to Spring), you’ll find yourself hiking along the beach highway that is Noosa North Shore early on day one. I can’t think of a better way to start a hike than soaking up sea breezes, sunshine and golden sand as you find your rhythm for the days ahead.
Walking along the beach at Noosa North Shore.
From glimpses of the hinterland ranges and rivers to epic coastal cliffs, you won’t be short of rewarding views along the way. Some of my favourites include the coastal views near Brahminy camp (see below), the top of Cooloola Sand Patch, Mt Seewah and the Carlo Sand Blow.
Stunning coastline views before the final stretch to camp on day one.
Letting your circadian rhythm get back to rising and falling with the sun is itself a great way to reset your body and de-stress. Add in the early morning chirping and whistling of birds and other animals as the rainforest comes to life and you find yourself about as close to bliss as possible for any nature lover. Waking up on the last morning of the hike at Kauri walkers’ camp might just make you forget the previous seventy-odd kilometres.
In the middle three days of the hike, I think we probably saw a dozen people, max. Roam where the wifi is weak, let your mind wander even further and just enjoy the serenity. Nowhere on the hike is this more true than on the morning of day 2, eating breakfast by the river at Dutgee walkers’ camp. Just one of the many simple pleasures you begin to enjoy when you’re disconnected from the hectic pace of everyday life.
It’s not hard to see why the Noosa Everglades are famous for their mirror-like reflections!
There might not be a shower anywhere in sight for five days, but there’s a much cooler (pun very much intended) way to freshen up along the way. The best two spots are undoubtedly the Noosa Everglades and Lake Poona. After reaching the top of the Cooloola Sand Patch around lunchtime on day two, just know that it’s all downhill to the river for a refreshing dip in the teatree-stained waters of the Noosa Everglades. And by the morning of day five, you could be forgiven for mistaking the white sandy beaches and mirror reflections of Lake Poona for a mirage playing tricks on your mind. No, its very much real and a perfect place to freshen up before hitting the home straight.
Lake Poona: an Oasis in the middle of the Great Sandy National Park
From different varieties of eucalyptus trees (including the fascinating ‘Scribbly’ gums), massive Kauri Pines and rainforest strangler figs, to wildflowers and foxtail grass, you see countless varieties of native flora species during the hike.
These gorgeous Banksia wildflowers will guide your way into Brahminy walkers' camp and make you almost forget the aches starting to kick in after the day’s journey.
A golden sunset from the golden sand dunes of Carlo Sand Blow means you’ve made it. And whether you’re looking east towards Double Island Point or west to Tin Can Bay, the views from this place are well worth the journey.
Watching the sunset from the Carlo Sand Blow.
When was the last time you or anyone you know walked almost 90 km over five days across sand dunes, rainforests and plains? Withrelatively few people having completed this up-and-coming hike, not only will you have some awesome stories to share with family and friends, you’ll also likely have adventure bragging rights for some time to come!
The final few hundred metres across the Carlo Sand Blow and time for a celebratory drink!