Finding tranquility in Noosa
If you’ve ever visited Noosa you’re likely to have fallen head over heels for its lush forests, wending waterways and abundant wildlife.
All three are parts of a whole that is the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, a wonderful celebration of community and environment. Since 2007, the Noosa Shire has held UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status. It recognises the ongoing efforts of the Noosa community to manage the region’s land, waters and wildlife sustainably, in balance with its urban population and visitors from around the world.
While there are 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries worldwide, Noosa is one of only two in Queensland. The other is the neighbouring Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve on Fraser Island and adjacent mainland coastline, and they are the only two adjoining biosphere reserves in the world.
Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation Chair, Rex Halverson, says the Noosa community has a long and proud history of nurturing the region’s natural environment and cultural heritage. “The community works together to create harmony between people and nature and a commitment to low-rise development and protecting large tracts of land. These are just some of the reasons for the biosphere declaration.”
There are myriad ways to immerse yourself in the region’s natural environment, including exploring the upper reaches of the Noosa River as it extends into the Noosa Everglades.
A 60km stretch of pristine waters, magnificent flora and fauna, and narrow waterways, and known locally as the River of Mirrors because of its wonderful watery reflections, the Noosa Everglades is one of only two everglade systems in the world (along with Florida), and is largely untouched. Grab your binoculars and camera and settle in for a spot of birdwatching or simply drinking in the sights – wildlife flitting, landscapes morphing with the movement of the sun. Far lesser-known than Hastings Street (Noosa’s high street), it’s easy to get to, can take as little as half a day to explore (though you’ll probably want to stay longer) and is only about 40 minutes from Noosa Heads.
Of course you can also explore the everglades from the water: join a kayak tour from Boreen Point (about 25 minutes drive from Noosa Heads) or a boat tour from Elanda Point. Alternatively, if you have your own watercraft, head into the upper reaches of the Noosa River and into the system.
COOLOOLA GREAT WALK
If pulling on your hiking boots is a holiday must, then head for the Cooloola Great Walk, a multi-day trek between Noosa and Rainbow Beach that will have you admiring subtropical rainforests, pristine beaches, secluded swimming spots and stunning coastal and hinterland views.
NOOSA TRAIL NETWORK
Walk, hike, horse-ride or mountain bike the eight scenic hinterland trails that constitute the Noosa Trail Network. A mere 30 minutes from Noosa’s iconic beaches, the network snakes through farmlands, forests and spectacular mountain lookouts and takes in the country towns of Cooroy, Pomona, Cooran and Kin Kin.
TEWANTIN NATIONAL PARK
Keep your eyes peeled for echidnas and koalas in Tewantin National Park, which encompasses Mt Tinbeerwah and the Wooroi Trails. The park is home to protected areas of rainforest, open eucalypt forest and remnants of wallum heath that provide refuge for a wealth of native wildlife.
NOOSA NATIONAL PARK
A wander from the hustle and bustle of Hastings Street, Noosa National Park is the place spot koalas (there’s often one high in the trees not far from the park entrance), wallabies, brush turkeys and goannas. Cast your eyes seaward as you walk the park’s coastal tracks and you might be lucky enough to spot a turtle stick its head up for a breath or dolphins frolicking in the break. And don’t forget to look for whales from June to October as they migrate up and down the coast.
WONDERS OF WILDLIFE
The Noosa Biosphere Reserve provides sanctuary for 3023 species of wildlife – more than 700 are native and range from ‘roos and glossy black-cockatoos to possums, echidnas and flying-foxes. Take a turn around any one of the nature trails in Noosa and Tewantin national parks for close encounters. And then there’s the riot of colourful reef fish, cetaceans (dolphins) and turtles – grab your goggles, snorkel and fins and dive in.
BIRDS BIRDS BIRDS
Home to more than 44 per cent of all of Australia’s bird species, including the impressive white-bellied sea-eagle, Brahminy kites, great egret and the much-loved pelican, Noosa is a bird lover’s haven. Strike out on your own through the region’s national parks and along the Noosa River, or follow the Noosa Bird Trail and discover some for yourself!
Visit Noosa for more.