Australia is a truly beautiful country. It is basically made up of National Parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites with various sized settlements of people and vast areas of uninhabitable outback dotted between them. It is also full of plants and animals that you can pretty much only find here (I learned the word for that the other day – endemic. You’re welcome).
I’d been told that Noosa is beautiful, and I was not to be disappointed. There are only two lots of Everglades in the world, one of them is here in Noosa and the other is out in Florida. They are very particular ecosystems in the tropical wetlands made up of rivers, estuaries, glass-like reflective waters, Tea-Tree and mangrove trees. In fact, the water is so still and dark, due in part to the tannins from the Tea-Tree Tree, that you can capture the purest photographic reflections, as if the camera (or iPhone) were pointed directly in to a mirror.
We went on an Everglades discovery tour which was a full day made up of a boat ride and a canoe trip. For some reason, this whole travelling malarkey has got me embracing physical activity and all sorts of other things that I would never ordinarily even consider. Like holding animals that could theoretically eat me, but that’s a story for another day! Now, of course I’m nothing of an expert when it comes to these small-boat-type activities, having set foot in a canoe once and a kayak twice in my life, but I can say that I much prefer kayaking. You get a double-headed paddle in a kayak, and only a one-sided paddle in a canoe. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve only ever been in a kayak with another person who knows what they’re doing, and only ever in a canoe with Helen, who has also never canoed. Who knows? What is unquestionable is that water lilies are really pretty. And we saw those two girls again. Yet none of us knew how well we’d get to know one another at this point.
Helen and I went on the coastal walk along the Noosa coastline and it was a lovely day. The colour of the water was the brightest turquoise I have ever seen, as far out to the horizon that you can see. The sky was equally bright and looking through sunglasses lenses was impressive, but taking them off for just a second really took my breath away. So did the walk itself… I am seriously unfit and really not looking forward to the hiking through the outback in a few weeks…
There are specific things that you should see along the way. The first part goes through a wooded section of the Noosa National Park, and you’re advised to keep your eyes peeled for wild koalas. Helen’s augmented vision didn’t fail us, and she spotted one of the snoozing marsupials high up in the trees. We took a load of pictures and attracted a bunch of tourists along the path too. One of them managed to find another one on the other side of the path. What I found really interesting was that neither of the furry pals were even in eucalyptus gum trees. Maybe they weren’t hungry? Explains why they didn’t go for the proffered banana…
Further along the path, we made it across maybe four or five different beaches and at least a couple of bays that looked like good spots for a nice beach afternoon picnic or whatever. We definitely walked through a nudist beach too. Luckily it wasn’t overly populated, but it was quite funny because I literally just said “this is a really nice stretch of beach, I wonder why there aren’t that many people here…?” and then we saw a rather large lady laid out in the sun without a thread of clothing, and it all made perfect sense!
Around halfway through the walking trail was a spot called Dolphin Point, and since it was really hot, we’d decided earlier that once we got there, we would assess whether we wanted to continue or turn back. Still in good spirits, despite not seeing any dolphins, we continued along the coastal walk. The next stop was a bunch of rocks that looked really treacherous but had people all over them. There was a nice bench at the top overlooking the rocks and the blue ocean with the sunlight rippling across the surface of the water, so we sat and had a quick snack. The next stop was the highlight of the walk. Called “Hell’s Gates”, there was a beautiful rock formation that we saw from the top. Of a lovely cliff with no railings. Like, it would have been really easy to overstep the mark on this one, and fall to my death screaming, but I’m still here, so you know I didn’t do anything silly! Beauty comes at a terrible price, and it’s important to know when to draw the line. I think Noosa balances this line perfectly. They do great fro-yo too.