Len Costantini explores Noosa via it’s River and waterways courtesy of The Noosa River Ferry Eco Cruise and the Noosa River and Canal Cruise Sunset Cruise.
It’s not surprising that the Noosa River is one of the most pristine in South East Queensland, given that most of it’s catchment is protected within the Great Sandy National Park.
Of the 19 Rivers rated for water health and quality, only 4 of them achieve a rating above B – including the Noosa River at an impressive A–.
The Noosa River is a jewel in the Sunshine Coast, meandering south 60kms from its freshwater catchment – through the mystical Noosa everglades, a network of lakes and estuarine wetlands, eventually spilling into the Pacific Ocean at Noosa.
The River offers visitors a variety of opportunities to discover Noosa from a different perspective.
Noosa River Eco Cruise
Noosa’s newest river cruise is the Noosa River Eco Cruise operated by Noosa River Ferries.
The cruise is an information-packed introduction to the River, its history, ecology, aboriginal heritage and the community spirit that has tried hard to protect it over the past decades.
Guest Dag Isaken from Norway says that the cruise is a great way to get a lot of information quickly.
“You can’t tell anything from looking at a tourist map. For example I am interested that the River was used to transport logs by floating them downstream. We also used this method in Norway,” says Dag.
It’s not easy to convey the full story in such a short time, but our animated tour guide Jono does a great job – introducing us to why the River is so important to the community and central to Noosa’s Biosphere Reserve status with UNESCO, showcasing harmony between people and nature.
There is a real sense of Noosa informality when Jono pulls out maps and old photographs and newspaper articles to help convey his stories of Noosa and the River. He is clearly a passionate amateur historian who loves sharing his local knowledge with guests.
The tour is complete with guidebooks and binoculars and includes a short interpretive bushwalk through the development buffer zone along Weyba Creek. As a more in-depth introduction to Noosa by River, it is a great choice for a morning’s learning and adventure.
Noosa River and Canal Cruises – Sunset Cruise
The Sunset Cruise is likewise a great option to see Noosa from the water, this time as the heat of the day has passed and the sun is setting.
The time of day lends itself to unwinding with a cold drink, and many champagne flutes are already charged by the time we embark. The company website advertises ‘glassware and ice buckets provided’ and BYO of a relaxing beverage is encouraged.
The cruise takes in a similar route to the day-time-cruises, along the river and Noosa Sound canals. We see a plethora of wildlife on this cruise also, including massive stingrays in the shallows of the River and a variety of birds nesting in trees in the buffer zones along the canals.
For many, the cruise fulfills an irresistible urge to have a peek at the houses of the rich and famous along Noosa’s Canals. Waterfront houses routinely sell for $4-$6million on land that was sold for $40,000 when the canals were developed in the 1970s.
With so few opportunities to watch a sunset over the water on the East Coast of Australia, the Noosa River really is a stunning place to be at this time of the evening. As the sun sets behind Mount Cooroora the river explodes into a myriad of colours and a thunderstorm rolls in from the west for dramatic effect.
Noosa by River options
Noosa River Ferries operate the Noosa River Eco Cruise, a Sunset Cruise and a Classic Cruise. The Eco Cruise departs Tuesdays and Thursdays from Noosa Marina, Tewantin, Noosaville and Noosa Heads. Adults $45, Child $20, family $120 and prices include an all-day ferry pass.
Noosa River and Canal Cruises operate a Sunset Cruise and a Day cruise. The Sunset cruise operates Wednesday to Saturday from Noosa Marina, Noosaville, and Noosa Heads. Adults $20, Seniors $18, Children $10 and family pass $50.