THURSDAY 23 APRIL TEWANTIN
Saw my first daylight cane toad this morning, on my walk to buy the paper at the roadhouse. There were sprinklers on in the garden and it had come out onto the roadway to the water. Horrible ugly looking thing, about as big as my fist. It just sat there, looking gross. Later in the day it was still there, but had been squashed flat by a car!
We planned to drive the Cooloola Way today, through the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park. According to the information this is noted for its swamp scrubland, banksia bushland, and scribbly gums. The Way links Noosa and Rainbow Beach, and is 4WD for about 35kms of its length. I had wanted to do it earlier, but weather and other activities prevented it. This week’s extension here is a great opportunity to do more sightseeing.
Unfortunately, it was grey when we set out and rain soon set in. This made the clay road surface extremely slippery and provided certainly the worst driving conditions of the trip, to date. Even in low range 4WD, we often were not going where John intended. So the drive was not enjoyable and we did not stop to explore anywhere along its length. We were glad we did not meet any of the Fraser Island bus tours that sometimes use that route.
We were happy to get back onto the sealed road again – the Rainbow Beach Road. Turned off that, about 4kms before Rainbow Beach, onto Freshwater Road and then went into the Bymien Picnic Area. This was a lovely area, in rainforest type bush, quite dim – and with lots of mozzies. We had a very damp picnic. I spotted a large reptile curled up asleep in the leaf litter at the edge of the parking area. John came over and looked at it too. From its totally unconcerned reaction, I assume it was a python.
Despite the drizzly rain, we were determined to walk the 2.1kms to Lake Poona, through the forest. Actually the trees broke the rain, so it was more an effect of wet mist, rather than rain. The lake was really pretty. There were stands of big paperbarks on the light coloured sands that surrounded it – a perched lake. People swim in it, I believe, but the water was tannin coloured and I would not be tempted.
A perched lake is one that is actually higher than the water table. Over time, a hollow on the surface collects organic matter like leaf debris, which hardens enough that it holds rainfall, and thus a lake is formed. Poona began as a hollow between sand dunes.
We spent a little time there, looking, then did the walk back. It was potentially a lovely walk through the bush, but was made less enjoyable by the rain, which became really heavy on the way back. We did have a small umbrella with us, one we always have in Truck, but it did not offer much protection. John left the umbrella on the Truck roof, after getting in. It fell off as we left – we realized after about a hundred metres and went back. It had fallen open, handle up, and was already nearly full of water!
We drove on into Rainbow Beach township for a look see. The road was really undulating and would rock the van up and down if we were to bring it here. The township is small and contains mostly modest holiday houses. There were a few shops, mostly geared to beach tours and Fraser Island trips. From here, one can drive out to Inskip Point, from where a vehicle ferry crosses a narrow channel to the southern end of Fraser Island.
The beaches here might be really nice, but it was too wet for us to get out and look.
We drove the track to Double Island Point, at the northern end of Teewah Beach, but lateness and the rain, plus the tide conditions, meant that we did not seriously consider trying to go back via the beach. Decided that the Cooloola Way would be even worse by now, so the only option was to return via Gympie. The last 80kms, or so, was driven in steady rain and descending night – not nice for driving at all.
It was such a pity about the weather – it would have been an excellent day in better conditions.
Late tea was fish cooked in foil, with salad.