After many weeks of reminding Will to send through his annual leave dates for Christmas, I finally got them (two months out from the festive season). So I began planning our little getaway . We both had discussed how much we needed an escape from the hustle and bustle of our work and lifestyles, somewhere that we couldn't be reached via calls or messages, somewhere that we could explore and let our minds run free.
After a week or so of researching I found two locations that I thought ticked those boxes perfectly!
If you're after a good quiet camping ground that still has the comforts and amenities of your home then Bluff Creek is for you! If you're after more of an adventure and like to push a few boundaries then start packing for the Noosa Everglades!
Before I get into the nitty gritty of our trip, what we did, where we explored, and what I recommend to do, I just wanted to say Will and I spent 168 hours straight with each other (10 hours of which was spent trying to paddle in sync across a never ending lake, over 72 hours without showers and over 15 hours spent squished in a tiny tent) and we somehow managed not to rip each others heads off by the end of it! So hooray to us!
The camp sites are spread across acres and acres of beautiful greenery and surroundings. They are extremely spacious and suited for individuals, couples, or large groups. You can find a few sites nestled on the bank of the Mary River - a stunning clear creek with plenty of swimming areas and spots to launch your kayak. They do recommend booking prior to arriving however, they did allow us to extend our stay with only a days notice, which was great.
Will and I finished packing the car at roughly 3:30PM which was silly of us, but we "had" to get an early morning Boxing Day Shopping spree in beforehand. We arrived just before dark and managed to have a quick look around before deciding our camp spot. We were lucky enough to score a site right in front of a small dam that was walking distance to the amenities (Bluff Creek has some of the cleanest and best showers/toilets ever when it comes to campgrounds). Before unpacking our gear we were told that we had about 20mins to get everything set up as there was a 100% chance of a storm. Perfect timing, not. So off we went frantically putting together our tent and Boab Super Shade (you need one of these! they are amaaazing! I literally don't know how on earth we ever camped without one) thank god we've set up a hundred times before and know exactly who does what, so we had everything up just before the storm hit and were able to sit back, relax and watch the show. When we first put up the tent back when we lived in Darwin, I must admit there was a fair bit of shouting, especially when we would set up the tent in the dark - I don't recommend this however it is another great relationship tester!
The next morning we woke up super early and headed down to the Mary River. Will wanted to test out his Christmas gift from me, a new inflatable heavy duty kayak. From the adrenaline rush when seeing rapid-like sections with a few rocks emerging to the relaxing paddle and cool breeze, we were able to experience beautiful sections of the Mary River.
The sun rays which radiated through the tree tops, the turtles that randomly popped their heads up, the fish that jumped out of the water (that Will never managed to catch) were beyond magical.
Another must do when camping at Bluff Creek is the Eumundi Markets, only 20 or so minutes drive. All I can say is, the food! We ate a whole stoneoven pizza, a delicious mango, banana, goji berry and pineapple smoothie, an authentic German Kransky sausage with bread and I couldn't resist some donuts so I bought 12 (don't worry I'm not that much of an over eater they were only miniature). The crafts, jewels, and talents were a sight to behold. These markets are brill-i-ant.
One of our last nights here consisted of a beautiful sunset, chilled beats, bottles of red wine, a tipsy William, a star lit sky, and day bed placed next to our mesmerising fire (probably broke the camping policy as our fire was definitely not considered small to medium - it was enormous, thanks to Will). To say we had a romantic night would be an understatement, this night stole my heart.
Unfortunately our last morning at Bluff Creek required a 4AM wake up to pack our camp site and get on the road. We had to get to Boreen Point to meet up with Rob the founder of Lake Escapades before 6:30AM. Anyone who ever gets to deal with Rob is extremely lucky, he is super friendly, knowledgeable, and organised. We got our canoe and positioned all camping gear for the 3 days, it was chock a block, I could barely see Will over the top of our stuff. Which may have actually been a blessing as I could take mini paddling breaks and he wouldn't know.
We commenced our paddle just before 8AM and I realised quickly why they called the Noosa Everglades "The River of Mirrors" you literally have to allow your eyes to adjust. The river had perfect reflections of every object, it made it difficult to see where the water, trees, branches, and sky end or begin. Everything was symmetrical and looked almost abstract. As beautiful as the scenery was, I was so thankful that we arrived at our camp site at 12PM. If it had of taken us any longer I think we probably both would of cried!
I definitely recommend camping at Harry's Hut (River Access Campsites) over Figtree Point or Campsites 1, 2, 3, etc. purely because it makes the venture to Cooloola Sand Patch the next day that much easier (if that is something you want to do). We did a little bit of exploring through Harry's Hut before choosing our campsite. There are a few cute little private spots which worked a charm with our tent and Super Shade. After we set up our camp spot we decided to prepare some tea and do a little fishing off of the jetty with absolutely no luck of catching anything. Not even a single bite, a few branches which got our hearts pumping but... nope. Nevertheless it was very enjoyable and a lot of people passing by on their kayaks mentioned that they had caught some Bass. We finished up with the fishing session and got an early night as we planned to get up at 4AM to see the Cooloola Sand Patch.
The 4AM wake up, 2 hour paddle from our campsite to campsite 3 (where you have to go to get to the walking track) and 12km hike was well worth it. Sitting on the whitest sand on the Cooloola Sand Patch absorbing the magical scenery was unreal. The entire walk was through coastal bush with a steady gradient to the top. The 360 degree views were spectacular and you could see the ocean, mountains and hills below. It was very strange to see a sand mass 200m above sea level surrounded by bush. The area basically had no shade so you have to make sure to take lots of water especially if you walk it in the summer like we did! William practically drank all of our water supply, the little camel. We finished up here just before 1PM and paddled back for our last night.
Starting on the water at dawn, it was sensational to see the rivers surface covered in mist and fog. Everything was so still and quiet. The perfect reflections of the trees was captivating. We took our time canoeing back, taking as much of the serenity in as possible. As the sun rose and peaked through the branches and over the canopy of trees I was in a complete state of happiness. This is exactly what we wanted, to remove ourselves from our busy work lives and immerse ourselves into nature. In the 16 km paddle back to Boreen Point, we didn't hear any cars, any music, or any voices, just simply birds tweeting and the movement of water as our paddles gently pushed us forward. In that moment it was just Will and I, floating in one of the most beautiful destinations Australia has to offer. This is exactly what holidays are for.
If you have any questions about this trip please feel free to comment, message me using the form below or simply direct msg me via my instagram @irenaclare