Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Aussie Everglades

Queensland Australia, the Sunshine coast, an area my brother David says he really likes!

golden tannin-rich water make the track a river

Eddie and Jess wanted to show me the Noosa Everglades while I visited them in the Brisbane area. We headed north in Eddie's Land Rover, with kayaks strapped to the roof.

Beware of "drop-bears"

For me it promised a magical opportunity to compare the Noosa Everglades with those in Florida. (There are some Florida Everglades trips described in my book: Sea Kayaking Guide to Southern Florida) Driving north along the Sunshine coast we reached the start of a road leading into the bush, and a sign warning off-road vehicles to take care in case of flooding. 

Rainy season

Soon after we left the dirt road for a narrower track. Now it felt right to be in a Land Rover.

It had rained and had been windy in Queensland, so the road was laced with puddles and fallen branches. To either side of us was bush: paper gums and vines, lush green after the rain with the pale bark of tree trunks charred at the edges. Birds called loudly and occasionally there was the dark shape of a goanna (monitor lizard) or a movement that might be a wallaby.  

Goanna (monitor lizard)


Then we turned a corner to see a fallen tree blocking our way. Eddie keeps his Land Rover equipped for such eventualities. Out came the bush-saw to cut through first one trunk, then the other trunk, then the many creepers that bound everything tightly together. 

a fallen tree blocks our way

 Jess dug out the bug repellent while we swatted mosquitoes.

Eddie at work

Eddie made short work of the trunks... then went back to his tool kit.

Jess cuts away vines

With his broad nylon tow-strap shackled to the front of the Land Rover, Eddie reversed, dragging the fallen tree with him until he had lined it along the side of the track. 

Eddie drags the tree aside

Now there was room to skirt past it.

Road all clear again!

Next came the water. Golden brown with tannin, the puddles joined and deepened into a continuous sheet of water. Deepening, it seemed prudent to check ahead to monitor the depth. Jess waded off into the distance, and it soon became apparent the water would be too deep. Water rushed across the track from flooded bush on one side to flooded bush on the other.

water getting deeper, still miles to go

With only a few more miles to reach Harry's Hut and our proposed launch spot onto the Noosa river, perhaps we should unload the kayaks and paddle from here? 

Land-rover or kayaks from here?

But what if the water dropped while we were afloat for the day? We would be left with an arduous carry back. Then again, what if the water continued to rise and trapped us there?

Eddie considers our options

We chose caution, reversed down the track until we could turn around, then made our back way out. 

Jes, our depth gauge

With 30 knot winds on the lake below the Noosa River and flooding along the track to the river we postponed our plan. Queensland is beautiful with plenty to see: instead of the kayaking the "Everglades" we explored sub-tropical rainforest at the Mary Cairncross Park and marveled at huge stinging trees and giant vines. Thank you Jess and Eddie for a great day! We took a rain check on the Everglades.