If there was an award going for the most sophisticated overnight canoeing trip in Australia… we’re pretty sure this would win. Pack your canoe and get paddlin’ – it’s time to visit the Noosa Everglades.


We acknowledge that this adventure takes place on the ancestral lands of the Kabi Kabi people, who have safeguarded these territories and waters for countless generations. We honour them as the rightful guardians of this land and acknowledge that their sovereignty was never ceded.

Wunya Ngulum! (Welcome)

Quick Overview

The Noosa Everglades is a stunning stretch of wetland located only 30 minutes north of Noosa Heads, close to the small and quaint town of Boreen Point. Known for its natural beauty, mirroring waters, and abundance of bird-life, the Noosa Everglades is a true paradise for anyone looking to relax, explore, and immerse themselves in the great outdoors.

About Paddling the Noosa Everglades: What To Expect

If you’re looking for an off-grid adventure that’s not commonly embarked upon, then consider an overnight camping trip in the Noosa Everglades. It’s always surprised me how unaware of this natural beauty the local Sunshine Coast residents are.

Located in Queensland, Australia, it’s one of only two everglades systems in the world (the other one is in Florida), making it a unique destination. This area is a haven for wildlife, boasting an incredible diversity of flora and fauna and home to over 40% of Australia’s bird species. Visitors can expect to encounter kangaroos, sea eagles and even the elusive platypus during their canoeing adventure.

There are many options when exploring the Noosa Everglades. Some of the most popular routes include Lake Cootharaba to Kinaba info centre, Harry’s Hut to the Upper Reaches of the Noosa River, and the many walking trails that twist and turn through the national reserve.

No matter which route you choose, planning is essential to ensure that you have the best experience possible.

Read more: Paddling The River of Mirrors in The Noosa Everglades

Planning Your Trip

When planning your trip, be sure to consider the time of year, the availability of campsites, where to hire your vessel, guided tour options, and camping gear. It’s also important to pack light but adequately, bringing only what you need for the trip, including clothing suitable for the weather, essential camping gear, and of course your choice of drink for a nightcap.

Pro tip: If you rent a canoe you can bring a ridiculous amount of food with you. Our night was spent eating lamb shoulder with a full spread of accompaniments, while sipping on premium wine.



It’s possible to explore the Noosa Everglades in a single day; however, with minimal light pollution in the area, the Everglades provides an excellent opportunity for stargazing. Camping overnight allows you to marvel at the brilliant constellations and feel connected to the vastness of the universe. Not to mention the peacefulness of a glowing sunset and misty sunrise.

Noosa Everglades Day Trip

If you’re running short on time but still want to visit the Noosa Everglades, then I suggest renting a vessel, or purchasing a tour ticket for one of the daily tours. Habitat Noosa make this process incredibly easy and the team is always ready to lend a hand.

They offer a number of options when it comes to equipment rental and tours. I suggest renting a kayak if you’re only doing a single-day Noosa Everglades trip. Kayaks are much faster, and the paddle distance isn’t short. Check out the price of rentals from Habitat Noosa.



If you’re even shorter on time, you can purchase a ticket for a day-trip tour. These run regularly and allow you to float, carefree, up the river on an eco vessel designed with wide open viewing windows to best experience the Everglades.

For those eager for an overnight adventure, contact Habitat Noosa and book a vessel for an early start. You want to be on the water no later than 10am to ensure you make it to camp before sunset.

Canoe and Kayak Rentals from Habitat Noosa

I suggest hiring a double canoe, you can easily fit all of your camping gear and even a cooler for at-the-ready midday refreshments. That will cost you $100 for the two-day journey. Habitat Noosa also provides waterproof drums to keep your items safe but don’t stress too much. We took on minimal water on our journey. We also each brought a waterproof dry bag to keep our phones and belongings safe.

If you’re making the trip alone, or prefer speed over load, then you can rent a kayak with a compartment for your gear and a cooler that neatly sits on top.


Getting to the Launch Point

If you already have a vessel and are able to transport it, then make your way to Elanda Point Road, drive up the dirt road for two minutes until you see the sign on the right-hand side. It’s a small public car park with a dirt ramp for easy launching.

While guided tours are available, embarking on a self-guided trip allows for a more personal and flexible adventure. You can set your own pace, stop at your preferred locations, and truly connect with the surroundings.



Paddling through the Noosa Everglades is an eco-friendly way to explore the area. Canoes have a minimal impact on the environment which will hopefully allow visitors to appreciate and preserve this natural ecosystem for future generations.

Booking a Campsite

You can book a campsite by visiting the Queensland National Parks website and searching the ‘Cooloola Recreation Area’. There are 17 individual campsites, all of which are only accessible by the water, with the exclusion of Harry’s Hut which is accessible by a dirt road (4WD only).

The Upper Noosa River Camping areas 1-3 are secluded campsites that sit on the banks of the river and allow only one party. If you don’t like sharing your campsite, book one of these for your Noosa Everglades adventure.

Fires are banned in the Cooloola Recreation Area, so make sure you pack enough warm gear and a stove.


Essential Gear for a Noosa Everglades Canoe Trip

  • Water: You’ll be on the water and in the sun all day, so be sure to pack an adequate water supply. Bring six litres per person at an absolute minimum (for two days), remember, you’ll need to wash and rinse your cooking gear too
  • Sun protection: Sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses are also essential
  • Cooking gear: Camping stove (no open fires allowed), pan or pot, cooking utensils, cups, your choice of coffee making equipment, and washing products
  • Camping gear: Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camping pillow, and a head torch or flashlight
  • Clothing: Lightweight, quick-drying clothes suitable for paddling, swimwear, a quick dry towel, a rain jacket, and warm layers for cooler nights
  • Food and drinks: Pack lightweight food items that are easy to prepare. Along with your adequate water supply, bring a six-pack of your favourite brew, or a cheeky bottle of wine to reward yourself after a day of paddling
  • Personal items: Insect repellent (to ward away the mosquitos you’ll encounter early on in your adventure), toiletries, a first aid kit, a multi-tool, a map (provided by Habitat Noosa), and a waterproof dry bag or container for storing valuables and electronics

Extras: Bring your camera, you’re going to want to capture this.

Distance / Duration / Elevation Gain

Roughly 10km from Lake Cootharaba to Upper Noosa River Camp 1 / Depends how fast you paddle, plan to take all day! / None!

A Detailed Itinerary for an Overnight Canoe Trip in the Noosa Everglades

If you’re renting your vessel from Habitat Noosa, you can either begin your journey from their grounds on Lake Cootharaba, or organise to launch from Harry’s Hut, another 30 minutes north. This will save you one to two hours of paddling – if you were hoping to explore the Cooloola Recreation Area by foot during your visit, then consider launching here to save time. But be warned, Harry’s Hut is only accessible by a 4WD only dirt road.

Our journey took us from Lake Cootharaba (where we rented two double canoes from the legends at Habitat Noosa), to Upper Noosa River Camp 1. We spent the night here, before returning the next morning.



If you have the time, I suggest exploring further up the river. From Camp 3 you’ll find a walking trail that leads you to Carlo Sandblow, an amazing place to watch the sun set. You’ll also find multiple trails along the river, so stretch your legs and explore the surroundings.

Just make sure to bring your head torch.

Day 1: Lake Cootharaba to Upper Noosa River Camp 1-3

Your journey begins from Lake Cootharaba, the gateway into the Noosa Everglades.

After renting your canoes or kayaks from Habitat Noosa, and loading up on snacks and supplies, you’ll begin your journey with a 20-40 minute paddle across the lake to the entrance of the Noosa Everglades. Don’t forget to keep the map supplied by Habitat Noosa at the ready.

The lake can muster strong winds making your paddle a challenge; however, once you reach the entrance to the Everglades, your paddle will become easier. The best time to undertake this journey is in the winter months when the air is dry, the sun is shining, and the wind is still.



Entering the Noosa Everglades, you’ll find the Kinaba Information Centre to the left. You can stop here for a rest, quick toilet break, and to learn about the Everglades and surrounding area. However, we decided to skip this stop, and take a break at Fig Tree Point camping area, another 15-30 minute paddle away.

There are sign-posts along the entirety of the river to guide you, if you ever find yourself getting lost, don’t worry, there’ll be a sign-post nearby to help.

From Fig Tree Point camping area you have another two hours of paddling before reaching Harry’s Hut, so make sure to stop for a toilet break.

The paddle to Harry’s Hut takes you along winding and narrow waterways. Keep your eyes and ears open for the abundance of wildlife that calls the Noosa Everglades home.



Once you arrive at Harry’s Hut it’s a great time to stretch your legs and wander around before making the final paddle to your campsite. Upper Noosa River camping area 1 is another 30-45 minute paddle from Harry’s Hut, then each campsite thereafter sits on the banks after another 15-30 minutes of paddling.

Once you arrive at your campsite, dock your vessel and make sure you tie it up. Unpack, and set-up camp. You can now either relax by the river, explore the area, or get stuck into your refreshments.


Day 2: Heading Home

Make sure to wake up early, you don’t want to miss the sunrise on the water. Heat up your coffee, and fuel yourself up with breakfast.

Today should be a relaxing paddle, marvel at the mirroring waters, enjoy the serenity, and float through the narrows. I hope the sun shines for you so you can enjoy a swim in the waters.

If you want to explore more of the area, you’ll want to begin heading north early to ensure you’re back to Habitat Noosa before dark.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace


Advice on How To Stay Safe and Avoid Getting Lost

On any overnight canoe trip, it’s essential to stay safe and avoid getting lost. Before leaving on your journey familiarise yourself with the route. Pack a map (Habitat Noosa will provide one if you’re renting) and compass to ensure you make it safely from point A to point B.

It’s always best to bring a GPS device and a PLB or satellite messenger on any adventure so that you can easily identify your location or call for help in case of an emergency.

What To Expect on the Water

On the water you can expect to encounter a variety of wildlife. The Noosa Everglades is home to a wide variety of aquatic birds such as ducks, eagles, ibis, and cormorants. You may also spot turtles bobbing saying hello, and flying fish breaking the surface.

Paddling the Noosa Everglades and camping overnight is a remarkable adventure that allows you to connect with nature and experience the beauty of Australia’s diverse ecosystems. Remember to pack the essential gear, rent canoes from Habitat Noosa, and book your camping spot in advance.

Explore the surrounding attractions, keep an eye out for the abundant bird and wildlife, and enjoy the serenity of this pristine environment. With proper planning and preparation, your trip to the Noosa Everglades is sure to be an unforgettable experience.


Noosa Everglades Frequently Asked Questions

What’s so good about the Noosa Everglades?

It’s one of only two everglade systems in the world, it’s the only one you can safely swim in and it’s full of camping and wildlife.

Where are the Noosa Everglades?

The Noosa Everglades are in South East Queensland, about half an hour north of Noosa Heads and slightly inland.

What’s the best time of year to visit the Noosa Everglades?

The Noosa Everglades are best in winter when there’s less wind and humidity, but still lots of sun.

Do you need your own kayak or canoe for the Noosa Everglades?

You can rent a vessel from Habitat Noosa if you don’t have your own.

Do you need to book camping in the Noosa Everglades?

Yes, you can book a campsite by visiting the Queensland National Parks website and searching the ‘Cooloola Recreation Area’. There are lots of campsites but many are restricted to a single booking.

Can I visit the Noosa Everglades for a day trip?

Definitely, but the best way to experience them is by camping out for the night.


Feature photo thanks to Alex Noles