Noosa Everglades, Hut to Camp Site 3
Great Sandy National Park (Cooloola)
A lovely paddle along one of only two Everglade systems in the world, to arguably the best camp site on the Upper Noosa River.
This moderately trafficked paddle starts from Harry’s Hut day-use area, at the end of Harry’s Hut Road in Como (north of Noosa), in the Cooloola Section of the Great Sandy National Park.
Launch from the day-use jetty, heading upstream (left) on the Upper Noosa River.
The river is lined with a variety of vegetation, including paperbark trees (whose leaves release the tannins that give the river its tea-coloured appearance), scribbly gums and other natives and heath grass.
Dead trees line the banks and make for beautiful reflections on the glassy calm waters.
As you continue upstream, you’ll pass Camp Sites 1 and 2 (both on the right-hand side of the river). The first campsite has a small jetty, while access to the second camp site is via a bank lined with stabilising logs.
Between Camp Sites 1 and 2, look east (over the right bank) for distant glimpses of the Cooloola Sand Patch.
Upon arriving at Camp Site 3, there are two jetties for disembarking (also on the right-hand side of the river). No motorised vessels are allowed past this point (electric motors accepted), adding to the tranquillity.
The jetty is an exceptional location to watch both sunrise, and in particular sunset, with the reflections on the glassy calm waters an absolute delight.
Camp Site 3 is also the starting point for the 12 kilometre return walk to the Cooloola Sand Patch.
You can also reach Camp Site 3 via the Cooloola Great Walk, a multi-day hike into remote sections of Great Sandy National Park for experienced hikers only.
It is highly recommended to camp at the site, however a day trip is also possible. In either case, it is worth paddling a short distance further upstream to Camp Site 4 (also on the right bank), which has a small sandy beach that is a perfect location for a swim.
Difficulty: The river is wide and protected from the wind, making it a pleasant paddle.
Direction: This is an out-and-back paddle that returns the way it came. There are no forks or tributaries and therefore no possible ways to take a wrong turn.
The paddle starts at Harry’s Hut day-use area, at the end of Harry’s Hut Road in Como (north of Noosa), in the Cooloola Section of the Great Sandy National Park, 2.25 hours drive north of Brisbane.
Parking is ample, however the location can become busy on weekends and public holidays. Arriving early increases the chance of getting a park close to the launch spot.
best time to go
The paddle can be completed year-round. There is limited shade during the middle parts of the day, so morning or afternoon is recommended.
As with any kayak, it is recommended to go in low-wind conditions.
The river is tidal, but given its substantial upstream location, the impact is very minimal.
Remember, whenever venturing into the outdoors, practice the Leave No Trace principles and be considerate of others. This means: dispose of your waste properly, don't remove things or move things from their natural position and respect all wildlife. Also be sure to plan ahead and adequately prepare for any adventure.
I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which all activities listed on this website are found, as well as Elders past, present and emerging. I strive to not promote sites where requests have been made for people not to explore due to the cultural significance of the site to Indigenous peoples, or note how to respectfully visit a site. If I have a promoted a site with cultural significance, please send me a message and let me know.