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Noosa Everglades Canoe & Kayak Camping Safari

Invisible bull sharks and mirror reflections

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Unfortunately, as a backpacker, when you hear something about camping or even kayaking associated the Noosa Everglades, you tend to think of the Gagaju bushcamp. Now I didn't do the bushcamp, so I can't say for sure...but I did hear enough bad reviews and horror stories to steer me far away from it.

Luckily, there is an awesome alternative that's still paddling in the everglades for 3 days! Kanu Kapers! Yes, the Florida Everglades aren't the only everglades, there's one other one here in Australia! It's located on the east coast, just a couple hours north of Brisbane and just outside the relaxed town of Noosa Heads.

Right from the start, Kanu Kapers had awesome customer service, responding to my emails and answering all my questions as I tried to plan a kayak camping trip while travelling. I eventually decided on the 3 Day Kayak trip and convinced a friend of mine that I met in Brisbane to join me. The 3-day package was definitely affordable and included all the camping / paddling gear necessary, from stove and fuel to tent and tarp, from maps to the boat and paddling accessories.

When I reserved the boat, they booked a campsite for me and arranged a free pickup from my Noosa hostel to their headquarters, about a half an hour drive. There we arranged our gear, packed the car, and headed off to the launching point.

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It was amazingly calm and peaceful when we got to Lake Cootharaba, loaded up our kayaks and headed out on the water.

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I couldn't believe how calm the waters were, for what seemed like a big lake. And the reflections were spectacular.

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We made our way across the lake and onto the Noosa River. The navigation was easy with a couple well positioned signs.

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Once we got into the heart of the everglades, the reflections just got better and better.

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We stopped for lunch at Harry's Hut and got destroyed with mosquitoes before we gave up and got back to paddling.

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Once we got to our campsite we set up our tent and explored the area a little. We had a dock, and there were tons of minnows and tadpoles in the water!

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We made ourselves some tea, covered ourselves in bug spray, and watched the sunset and marveled at the reflections. And when the stars came out, they were reflected in the water as well and it was just spectacular. Some things you can't capture on a simple digital camera. It was neat watching the colors change as evening progressed and then into the next morning as well. Where, if possible, the reflections were more intense.

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I couldn't help myself, I just kept taking pictures... There were tons of birds in the area as well, though mostly out of sight. My bird identification by sound is somewhat lacking so I can't really say which birds we heard, but the trees were full of life! Here's a quick video of the sounds (though I'm sure half the birds stopped when I hit 'record'!).

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Finally we got on the water and headed up the river for a mid-day hike up to the Cooloola Sandpatch.

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It was huge! And had gorgeous views of the area...

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We were just as impressed with the reflections when we got back to the water.

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No matter how hard you looked, or at what angle, there was no way to see beneath the surface. Who knows what was swimming below, or how deep the water was. Judging by sticking my paddle in occasionally, it was very deep in parts. There were signs saying to be careful and not to jump in the water, because you can't know how deep it is or if there's submerged logs and whatnot. There was also mention of bull sharks. Bull sharks?! We didn't see any though, and after researching them when I got back afterwards, I'm glad. But we were certainly hoping to see one and on the lookout for them...exclaiming after every splash or fish jump, 'bull shark!'

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Anyway, we headed back to the campsite and enjoyed another sunset.
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The next morning we woke to the sound of this...

...and then went back to sleep.

By the time we packed up camp it'd slowed down to just a little drizzle.
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Undeterred by weather, we continued with our plan and paddled up Kin Kin Creek some, before heading back to the lake and the end of our trip.

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It was SO great to be out on the water and camping. A break from the east coast travel, crazyness, tours, parties, hostels, and general overpopulation of German backpackers. Noosa is a small town that is easily missed by many, but the Noosa Everglades and a paddle with Kanu Kapers shouldn't be missed by anyone! Do this for something different. And for great pictures.

Posted by smr1188 16:31 Tagged lakes boats rivers walking australia kayaking sand east_coast Comments (4)

Walking along the Southern Coast

Great Ocean Road, walking version for the day

There's a famous Great Ocean Road in Australia, which I'll talk more about in the next post, but there is also a Great South West Walk which follows the coastline as well. We took an afternoon and walked just a small portion of it, only around 10km. The following are pictures from that, it was gorgeous!

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Posted by smr1188 15:52 Archived in Australia Tagged victoria great_ocean_road walking hiking australia coastline great_walk Comments (1)

National Parks of Tasmania (3)

Part 3 of 3

I really was going to try to combine Tasmania into one or maybe even two posts, but here I am on the third post! And the third national park, Mount Fields National Park. A commonly missed national park, it's right outside Hobart and relatively easy to get to. It features waterfalls, giant ancient trees, wildlife, and much more!

Standing inside trees...
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We stopped at several different waterfalls, and stayed at one for lunch.
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These trees were so massive!
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I found one that had been hollowed out by a fire, and, after calling out to all the poisonous things not to kill me, promptly climbed inside!
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We walked around the lake.
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And even made friends with an echidna!
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And of course, it being Australia...there was an awesome warning sign!
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Posted by smr1188 18:34 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls trees wildlife walking hiking australia tasmania national_parks Comments (1)

National Parks of Tasmania (2)

Part 2 of 3

The rest of our time in Tasmania was spend on the East Coast exploring Wineglass Bay and then we headed inland to Mount Fields National Park on our last day. I was going to try to cram two national parks in this entry, but decided to make a third instead...

Wineglass Bay offered the opportunity to hike up to a viewpoint and gaze out at the bay, and then, if you were feeling ambitious (of course we were), to hike down to the bay and relax by the waters.

First we encountered some wildlife in the carpark though!
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Then we headed up the trail, and by trail, of course I mean stairs.

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Finally we reached Wineglass Bay...
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Then we headed down to the water's edge. P2212341.jpg
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While laying on the beach, I kept my eyes on the water and was rewarded in seeing some dolphins swim by!
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Wineglass Bay is very popular with tourists, especially the lookout point, but not many venture down to the sands so that was a good escape!

Posted by smr1188 14:59 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches wildlife walking hiking australia tasmania national_parks roadtrip Comments (2)

National Parks of Tasmania

Part 1 of 3

If you're ever planning a trip over to Tasmania and are a fan of national parks and the outdoors, be prepared to spend lots of time here! Over 45% of the island of Tasmania is covered in national parks and reserves. There are 19 (!) national parks here, on an island roughly the size of Scotland, or of West Virginia. The best way to get around is certainly to rent a car, and unless you own one in Australia, it's cheaper to fly (in and out of Launceston) and rent a car within Tasmania instead of taking the ferry.

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With only a week in Tasmania, we planned our roadtrip carefully and managed to get to 3 national parks and see a lot. The owner of our hostel the first night helped us plan it and he said 'it's not so much what you can see in Tasmania, it's what you miss out on seeing.' There's so many awesome things to see and explore!

I first explored the town of Launceston and though I wasn't impressed overall, Cataract Gorge Reserve is a gorgeous walk.
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We did a (very full) day trip from Launceston over to Cradle Mountain National Park, which was spectacular. The landscape wasn't as green as it normally would be as we'd just arrived at the end of almost 2 months with no rain. It was an overcast and rainy day but the mist made it that much more exciting and it lifted briefly for us to see Cradle Mountain, though it's hidden in the clouds for most of my pictures.

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The next day we headed to the east coast of Tasmania for some coastal beaches and views.
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Posted by smr1188 13:30 Archived in Australia Tagged mountains beaches walking hiking australia tasmania national_parks roadtrip Comments (1)

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