Noosa Everglades, Hut to Fig Tree Point
Great Sandy National Park (Cooloola)
An incredible paddle through one of only two Everglade systems in the world, ever-changing vegetation and The Narrows, to Fig Tree Point and Lake Cootharaba.
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 downstream (right) on the Upper Noosa River.
The river is lined with ever-changing vegetation, including paperbark trees (whose leaves release the tannins that give the river its tea-coloured appearance), scribbly gums and other natives, heath grass and rainforest.
Dead trees line the banks and make for beautiful reflections on the glassy calm waters.
As you continue downstream, the banks of the river gradually pull close, until you reach arguably the most beautiful section of the Everglades called The Narrows, with the river beginning to snake in sweeping hairpin turns.
Just prior to Fig Tree Point, there is an option for a short side paddle into Lake Como. While smaller than other nearby lakes, it is still a considerable paddle across it or circumnavigating it, so paddling to where it begins to widen is recommended.
At Fig Tree Point, there is a small beach for disembarking. There are a number of short walks located here, including to the nearby jetty (150m) and the Melaleuca Circuit (400m).
There is also the option to add a 1.5 kilometre paddle to the Kinaba Visitor Information Centre, a lakeside jetty and information centre, with an extensive 12.2 km walk.
Difficulty: For the most part, the river is wide and protected from the wind, making it a pleasant paddle. Even the narrowest sections do not feel as if the banks are crowding you. The side paddle to Lake Como is much more exposed to winds.
Direction: This is an out-and-back paddle that returns the way it came.
The paddle can also be completed one-way, with a two-vehicle shuffle between Elanda Point and Harry’s Hut, but requires significantly more paddling, including across Lake Cootharaba – which is a notoriously tough paddle in even light winds.
Besides the short side paddle to Lake Como and the small islands near Fig Tree Point, there is limited ability for taking a wrong turn once on the river. The river is well-signed at these points.
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.