Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cooloola Great Walk

Tewantin to Brahminy

The map for Day 1 is 17.3 km and 6 hours walking time. We do about 20 km (2.5 km from the parking at the ranger station) in 6 hours, thus setting the standard for being about 1 hour quicker (including rest breaks) than the indicated times each day.

We had trouble finding the ranger station in Tewantin which was much busier than we expected. But, we should have expected as much as Tewantin is really just a suburb of Noosa which is outrageously busy. Only one car in the parking at the Ranger station and we went in and bought a map and told them we would be leaving the car for 5 days. Kept walking along the road a short distance to the river ferry which is $1 for foot passengers. Stacked with 4WD heading off to drive on the beach.

There is no track to walk to the start of the walk from the ferry terminus so you have to walk along the road which is not that nice. The start of the walk is well marked as is the whole walk.

South end of Cooloola Great Walk 

We walked through open heath and paper bark to the beach and along the beach for a couple of kilometres. The tide was low and the beach is flat so very easy walking. After two kilometres, you come to beach where bogans are allowed to drive and the track goes behind the beach. We did not want to be forced off the beach by bogans so instead we walked up the beach. We stuck to the wet area to keep from being run over. Lots of 4WD going past, apparently it is great fun to drive on a beach. A bit hard to understand why people who likely spend most of the day in a car during the week choose to do so on the weekend.

There is some kind of resort about 6 km up the beach from the start of the driving area where the bogans have to slow down to 50 km/hr. We walked past the resort on the beach and were just thinking about looking for the track when we were approached by a very enthusiastic older woman who had done the walk and wanted to tell us where to go. We got instructions, then found a good place for lunch at the top of the beach in some shade. I had a quick swim. The water was very warm.

A rare vehicle free moment on Teerwah Beach 

After lunch, we left the beach not to return. The track climbed up through heath to Mount Seawah which is a short 150 metre diversion from the main track. Nice views down to Noosa and of the waterways of the Noosa River system. About another two or three kilometres to camp and we were both ready to stop as our feet were getting a bit weary and the 5 day pack felt a tad heavy. The track is wide and well cut all the way to Rainbow Beach.

This was the best campsite as it was open with a nice view of the beach and the Noosa River system. The camps are unusually laid out with a common area, and then the tent sites off a track that leads away from the common area. The track leading to the campsites was a little overgrown and some of the campsites also seemed to be growing in. Some campsites are quite a few hundred metres from the common area. The common area has about five flat wood slabs that QPWS is fond of.

We had tea and dinner and lazed about after putting the tent up on one of the sites that was slightly larger than the others. I cleaned up a pile of fire wood as fires are not allowed. The sun went down at 5.00 pm and by 5.30 pm it was dark. The bugs were very bad at dusk and we got into the tent for the first of four long nights in the tent.

The view from Seawah Hill

Brahminy Camp to Dutgee Camp

Today we walked on good track all day mostly through open heathland or eucalpyt forest although we did go through one small patch of rainforest. We had a break in the rainforest in the morning and then lunch at Cooloola Sandpatch in the shade. The sand patch was not that soft to walk on. At the sandpatch we met four other walkers who had come up from camp #2 on the Noosa River. They were walking very slow and even with our 4 day packs we zoomed ahead of them.

Poona Lake

After the sand patch, the track goes downhill and passes by campsite #3 (a slight detour), continues along the river to Dutgee camp. This is the same set up as others with the communal area and platforms with tents sites off a track. Again, the tent sites are a long way from the communal area. We had a swim in the river, although inexplicably, QPWS has posted the track to the river as a rehabilitation area keep out. Wonderful to have a fresh water wash after a day of sweating. In hindsight, the thing to do would be to book Noosa River site #3. This would equalize the walking on days 2 and 3 and you would have a much nicer campsite. Campsite #3 is very luxurious as we had it last time we paddled the Noosa River.

Lake on the right, ocean on the left

Dutgee Camp to Litoria Camp

Some up and down today through open forest on the same good track. Doug found a tick on himself at the start in the moist section. We passed Ramsay's Hut site from the timber cutting days which is a collapsed corrugated shed like structure. We arrived at camp quite early as it was a short walk day. Same camp layout with the commmunal area and the tent sites along a ridge in fairly open forest.

Lake Cooloomera was about a 600 metre walk further along and for a look. The bugs were bad again at dusk and we were in the tent early again.

View to Noosa

Litoria Camp to Kauri Camp

Lots of walking through rainforest today with huge figs and towering Kauri trees. No views but good track. We found many bees nesting in the sand. Same camp set up but very dark and buggy even in the early afternoon. We had dinner early so we could get into the tent before the bugs got too ferocious. Some of the camp sites seemed quite overgrown again. A native mouse type animal was scurrying around in the night and did a poo in the cup which were hanging on a branch. A very dark night in deep forest.

Carlo sand blow

Kauri Camp to Rainbow Beach

I got up in the dark at 5.30 am to have coffee before we left and Doug got up about 6 am. Luckily no dew overnight and the tent was dry. A nice walk today in the rainforest again. We passed Poona Lake early and I had a swim in the lake - wonderful - but Doug did not.

At Carlo Sandblow we finally met people after 4 full days of seeing no-one. All the tourists from Rainbow Beach stagger up to the sand blow and carve their names in the trees - grrrr.

In Rainbow Beach we hopped the Greyhound back to Tewantin and I walked the 2.5 km out to the Ranger Station to pick up the car.  It's not often a shuttle is that easy. 

Double Island Point

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