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Coolum Creek (Postcard)


Here’s a quick “postcard” account of our recent kayaking trip up the Maroochy River to Coolum Creek and back.

After a recent minor knee injury, my doctor advised me to stay off the bike for a couple of weeks.

So out of kindness to my knee, today I decided to paddle instead of pedal.

We “put in” at Muller Park in Bli Bli on the Maroochy River, a few kilometres upstream from bustling Maroochydore.

We started about two hours before the high tide.  The current pushed us gently upstream.  If we timed it right, the tide would turn around the halfway point, and we’d be paddling “downhill” for most of the day.

Conditions were perfect.  The water was mirror smooth, there was hardly any breeze, and the cloud cover kept the harsh late-summer sun away.

In the distance, Mount Ninderry peaked above the riverside mangroves.

Mangroves dipped their toe-like roots into the water.  Their crowded trunks formed an impenetrable wall.

After a few minutes paddling up the river, all traces of civilization disappeared.  In every direction we looked, there was nothing but water and thick forest.

At its junction with the Maroochy River we followed Coolum Creek north.  We intended to follow it as far as we could, hopefully ending up in the middle of some cane farms in Yandina.

Unfortunately, our way was blocked by the remnants of an old cane railway bridge.

A few decades ago, narrow-gauge trains would haul sugar cane from the farms around Coolum and Yandina to the mill at Nambour.

Since most of the land in this area is a vast swamp, the railway had to cross numerous creeks.

Unfortunately for us, the bridge was too low to paddle under.

And it was too high to safely scramble up and over from a floating kayak.  (Have you ever tried to stand up in a kayak while floating in deep water?)

So we listened to our common-sense, and decided to make this our turn-around point.

Rather than just head back downstream, we took a few detours up some side-creeks to see where they led.

Although the map shows a simple creek – most of the land around here is mangrove swamp.  The forests either side of the creek stand in deep water.

We explored bravely, brushing aside crowds of hungry mosquitoes.

We stopped for a quick snack near a small boat ramp at the end of West Coolum Road.

I’d ridden here on my bike a few years ago during one of our family holidays at Coolum Beach.

This is a popular launch spot for jet skis.  We watched a few of them arrive while we rested.

Natalie “borrowed” Adam’s kayak.  She thought Adam might like to try her slower boat and enjoy a more relaxing pace while she sped off.

The tides behaved as expected.  As we paddled back down the river, the current turned and softly carried us downstream.

Imagine if you could get this sort of assistance while riding a bike?

The clouds parted and the hot sun beat down.  We kept close to the shore in the hope of sheltering in the shade as we paddled.

Total distance: 20.17 km
Max elevation: 9 m
Min elevation: -48 m
Total climbing: 1219 m
Total descent: -1212 m
Average speed: 6.43 km/h
Total Time: 03:56:55
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We paddled about nineteen kilometres in just under four hours.

This was a leisurely adventure – the tide was favourable for almost all of the trip.  The only minor discomforts were the mosquitoes and  the hot sun.

I’ll rate it 4.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks Natalie, Ruth, Calum, Adam and Ron for a fun day out.

PS. Last week I said I wouldn’t be writing regular weekly blog posts for a while.  during that time, if I get a chance, I’ll  add a quick “postcard” of where we’ve been.  It’s handy to have a record of what we did and where we went.

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