Noosa River - Elanda Point to Campsite 15

Small scale map
Satellite close up of Kinaba and FigTree Point
Map of paddle route

The Noosa River flows into the Pacific Ocean at Noosa, and the sixty kilometre long river system originates to the north in the sand masses of the Great Sandy National Park, Cooloola section. The lower river consists of the tidal Noosa River and Lake Cooroibah. Further upstream, is Lake Cootharaba and Noosa River with National Park campsites to Campsite 15 furtherest upstream.

The river water is stained black from teatrees, and the black water creates a mirror like surface. The lower section of the river above FigTree Point, known as the Everglades, is famed for the beauty of the reflections in the water. From Campsite Three it is a seven kilometres return walk to the SandPatch, a large sand blow.

Road access to Elanda Point is either from north of Brisbane on the Bruce Highway to Pomona, then Louis Bazzo Drive to Cootharaba Road, or McKinnon Drive out of Tewantin to join Cootharaba Road. The usual launch point is the beach accessed from the carpark of the National Parks ranger station at Elanda Point. The lake stretches before, and the direction to the next waypoint, the Kinaba Ranger Station, is at about 10 o'clock if the far shoreline is 12 o'clock. The compass bearing to Kinaba is about 30° degrees magnetic, but there is shallow water offshore from Elanda Point, and Mill Point, that requires a dogleg out into the lake, before turning north. Paddle out into the lake for about a kilometre to clear shallow water near Elanda and Mill Points, then aim for the left sand patch to the north. Two large high sand patches are visible about ten kilometres away.

The sand patches provide a navigational pointer to Kinaba Ranger Station, about four and a half kilometres distant. Note that on the paddle north, south east winds will help you. Usual conditions mean the wind picks up in strength as the day wears on, and a late afternoon return paddle can see a strong opposing headwind, and waves. sand patches

Kinaba Ranger Station is a wooden building over the water. Go past to reach Kin Kin Creek confluence, turn right, and follow the left bank for 250 metres, then take the channel on the left. When the lake opens up, aim for Fig Tree Point diagonally opposite, bearing 25° degrees magnetic, a kilometre away. If you are camping at FigTree, or are on a day trip, Kin Kin Creek is a pleasant paddle upstream.

The channel to follow at FigTree is 5 metres from the shore, on the right. Follow the channel 200 metres and turn left into the next channel. Five hundred metres upstream turn right into the Noosa River, the first channel on the right. The other channel continues to Lake Como. Watch out for commercial launches in this next section. There are many tight corners in a very narrow channel. Fig Tree to Harry's Hut camping area is about 5 kilometres. Take note that between Fig Tree and Harrys (The Everglades) is a no landing, no camping area. When you do go ashore anywhere do not drag your boat up over the shoreline mud and vegetation. As of December 2005, the national park is a fuel stove fire only area.

Harry's Hut is a National Parks camping ground. You need to have a permit to camp there or other sites. It is best to pre-arrange your permit, as this checks the availability of sites. Four wheel drive vehicles can get to Harry's Hut. The Campsites 1 to 15 are upstream from there. No naviagation is required other than paddling. Campsites are visible by the landing pontoons at the waters edge. Campsites are basic, and consist of a cleared area and toilets. Bring your own water. Campsite 3 is the nearest campsite to the Sandpatch, and you can walk from Campsite 1 and 2 to 3. Campsite 15 is a little downstream from Teewah Creek confluence. The 1:50,000 topographic map "Cooloola" is recommended.

From To Distance in kilometres
Elanda Point Kinaba 4.5
Kinaba FigTree 2.0
FigTree Harry's Hut 5.0
Harry's Hut Campsite 1 3.0
Campsite 1 Campsite 2 2.0
Campsite 2 Campsite 3 2.5
Campsite 3 Campsite 4 1.0
Campsite 5 Campsite 8 5.0
Campsite 8 Campsite 9 1.0
Campsite 9 Campsite 13 2.0
Campsite 13 Campsite 15 3.0

On the return voyage, care is needed to pick the right channel as you leave the Everglades. The tight corners will tell you that you are approaching the turn. Hug the right bank, and take the first right channel. You emerge into a larger channel with Lake Como upstream to your right. Turn left, and follow the right bank downstream. Again, take the first channel to the right, to emerge on Lake Cootharaba, next to FigTree Point.

Diagonally opposite a yellow marker should be visible, a kilometre away. Head to it and follow the channel to Kin Kin Creek. Upstream 250 metres, the channel to Kinaba opens on the left. From Kinaba follow the red and green channel markers out into the lake. About five hundred metres out from Kinaba, head towards the houses on Boreen Point.

Paddle towards Boreen Point until you are level with the white post shallow water marker off Mill Point. Swing right, and aim towards Mt Cooroora, the conical mountain shape right of Boreen Point. turn towards
Stay on that heading. The mountain will gradually be obscured by the shoreline trees as you get closer. getting closer
When the mountain disappears, aim for the National Parks launch beach. It is the far left patch of sand, about 250 metres left of the Elanda Point Camp. turn to launch point
Last leg back to the tiny beach at the National Parks Ranger Station, Elanda Point. This route avoids shallow water off Mill Point. map of return leg


Click on thumbnails below photos to see larger images.
Elanda Pt Nat. Parks launch beach reflections on the water early morning Lake Cootharaba
Nat Pk launch Elanda Pt
Lake Cootharaba