The aim of today’s adventure was to visit Teewah, exploring the natural beauty of “Noosa North Shore” and to see how far we could get up the beach before the tide stopped us
We started at Tewantin and caught the Ferry across the Noosa River.
Today’s low tide was at Noon – perfect for riding along the beach. Hundreds of 4WD enthusiasts also realized this. Cars take up much more room on a ferry than bikes, so while they patiently waited to use the ferry, we rode to the front of the long queue and jumped on. It was like flying business class – except we only paid a fraction of the fare of the “economy class” passengers 🙂
Because of the difficulty of getting there, Noosa North Shore is a peaceful place. It’s only a couple of kilometres (as the crow flies) from the bustle of Hastings Street, but it feels like a million miles away: unspoilt by developers, nestled on the edge of the National Park and overlooking the mouth of the Noosa River.
We went down a couple of “No Through Roads” along the strangely named “Frying Pan Track” towards the sea.
Once we reached the sand we let some air out of our tyres, and prepared for the ride along the beach.
Darb let a bit too much air out of his tyres, so had to spend a few minutes pumping them back up again 🙂
We had timed our arrival perfectly. The tide would be falling for the next three hours, leaving a nice hard corridor of damp sand on which we could ride. This gave us five to six hours of good riding time on the beach – much more than we needed.
With the busy-ness of Noosa Heads at our backs, we set off up the beach like a bunch of excited kids.
Ahead of us lay the vast Cooloolah Coast stretching in a long slow arc towards Rainbow Beach covered by billowing storm clouds.
We welcomed the clouds and impending rain. Riding along the beach is much more comnforable in cloudy weather, and we didn’t expect the squalls to last very long.
The traditional owners of this area are the Gubbi Gubbi and Badtchala Aboriginal People.
Their ancient legends tell of a titanic battle between Taggan – the Rainbow Man from the Cloud Country and Burwilla – an ugly evil bully of whom everyone was afraid.
Taggan and the beautiful maiden Murrawah were in love. They met secretly because Murrawah’s tribe were suspicious of strangers.
“When the clouds went walkabout behind the mountains” Taggan would come down from the Cloud Country to meet with Murrawah.
One day, the evil Burwilla saw the lovers together, and raged with jealousy. He attacked Taggan with his weapons, breaking off parts of Taggan’s body in brightly coloured chunks which stained the sand.
Those stains can still be seen today in the sand dunes near Teewah where Taggan lies with his beloved Murrawah.
Some of the cars we had passed over an hour earlier eventually caught up with us as we rode up the beach.
Even more cars approached head-on from the North.
This beach is classified as a “main road” under the Queensland Traffic act, so all the rules of the road apply. The speed limit is 80km/h so it’s important to keep your wits about you as you ride up the beach.
To make riding easier, we kept close to the waters edge. This meant the on-coming traffic was on our left (the wrong side of the road). To avoid confusing the on-coming traffic we continually hand-signalled – pointing towards the water to make sure they didn’t try and pass us on our right. To their credit almost all the drivers understood our intentions, and gave us a friendly wave as they passed.
When we couldn’t find the track to Cootharaba, we asked a friendly passer-by who explained where to go. Rockleigh kindly scratched a map in the sand, and told us about some shady single-tracks which would keep us out of the sun. Thanks Rockleigh!
Although it was rough in parts, the shadows over the track providing a welcome relief from the hot sun and muggy humidity which hung in the air after the rain.
We followed a few trails westwards through the dunes towards Cootharaba – the largest lake in the Noosa River system..
Teewah Landing is a small pontoon on the eastern shore of Cootharaba. Shallow draft boats on their way up the Noosa River, or over from Boreen Point, can moor here allowing visitors to take a leisurely 2km walk to the beach, or a longer 3km hike up the hill to the lookout.
We decided to visit the lookout…
The lookout on Mount Seawah is just over 90 metres above sea level, but the track to the top is very steep in places.
The view from the top of Mount Seawah is spectacular.
“Seawah” means “South-wards” in the Badtchala language which seems obvious considering the 180 degree panaorama that we enjoyed of the land to the south.
We hoisted our bikes above our heads for a vanity photo, as you do 🙂
The fast ride back down the hill was fun – although I worried a bit when my tyres started drifting sideways in the sand as I sped around corners.
While we were gone, the beach had descended into “Peak Hour”. Dozens of 4WD’s lined the beach in either direction speeding past at 80km/h.
As we watched Darb wait to cross the “road” we joked that this would be a good place for a zebra crossing.
Befopre heading back down the beach, we decided to ride northwards a while longer under the Teewah Dunes. The sand in the dunes here is stained a variety of amazing colors. Geologists tell us the stain is from decaying vegetable matter. I prefer the Badtchala explaination about Taggan and Murrawah 🙂
Eventually we reached the northern extremity of our ride and reluctantly turned our bikes around to begin the return leg our our adventure.
The Badtchala have a saying: “Wanya nyin yangu, wanai dijnang djaa” which means “Where ever you go, leave only footprints”. I hope that includes mountain bike tyre prints too 🙂
Although you don’t get the chance to coast downhill on a beach. You do get to ride downwind – which is just as much fun.
With the wind at our backs the bikes rocketed back down the beach.
Eventually we reached our turn-off and bade good-bye to the hard low-tide beach as we trudged over the dunes in the soft hot sand.
We watched with envy as Wayne floated over the top of the sand on his Fat Bike. Gotta get me one of those things 🙂
We then followed the paved road and some quiet bush tracks to the resort.
I made sure to cover all the major food groups as I hungrily devoured a late lunch.
Once again we enjoyed “business class” priority as we rolled past almost a kilometre of 4wd’s waiting for the ferry. I bit my tongue hard and resisted the temptation to yell out anything that could be construed as gloating.
Then as if we were VIP’s the ferry driver waved us aboard seconds before the ferry left. Gee it’s good to ride a bike sometimes!
UPDATE: Here’s Darb’s video of our ride:
Max elevation: 87 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 1020 m
Total descent: -1008 m
Average speed: 16.85 km/h
Total time: 05:20:31
We rode a total of 60km in five and a half hours including breaks. We climbed about 580 metres and I burned about 2,700 kcal.
I’ll rate this ride 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter but:
1. You need to take a lot of water. There’s no drinking water on the beach. I took 5 litres for the ride.
2. The hills up to Mt Seawah are steep. In some places you’ll need to push your bike.
3. It’s hard work pushing a bike through sand-dunes.
4. Beware of the beach traffic.
Thanks Becca, Tom, Darb and Wayne for another memorable adventure on the bikes.