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in Queensland (the Great Sandy Biosphere

Reserve extends from Noosa to Bundaberg

and includes Fraser Island) – and together

they are part of the Man and the Biosphere

program. As its name suggests, the program

is not just about protecting the environment;

it was created so that information and

experiences could be shared internationally

to help communities work towards building

a balanced relationship between people and

nature. That means improving education as

well as conservation practices.

Vivienne Golding, a slalom kayak champion,

and her partner in kayak tour company Kanu

Kapers, Kym McGregor, were champions of

the biosphere principles long before it became

official in Noosa and now they are advocates for

the promotion of sustainable tourism. They have

been operating tours of the near-pristine Noosa

Everglades for almost 15 years, sharing their

passion for both kayaking and the wilderness

that surrounds them at Boreen Point.

Vivienne is my guide for the day and fills

me in on the history of the area. We pass Mill

Point, named for the timber mill town that

thrived there in the 1800s, then we glide slowly

through Fig Tree Lake and the field of water lilies

that blankets the surface. In spring it’s a mass

of purple flowers and it’s always a good spot for

bird watching as kites, cormorants and pelicans

swoop in.

The biosphere is home to more than 300

Venturing into Noosa’s Biosphere Reserve is a

wild experience, writes

Heather McWhinnie

I

t’s the middle of school holidays but

when we push out the kayak from Elanda

Point into Lake Cootheraba (

pictured

above

), barely 30 minutes drive from the buzz of

Noosa’s Hastings Street, there’s not a soul to be

seen. It’s early morning and there is a slight chill

in the air but the sky is clear and the water like

glass. The start of a perfect day.

This is one of the best ways to get up close to

the natural wonders of Noosa’s internationally-

recognised Biosphere Reserve, and it doesn’t

take long on our journey through the Noosa

Everglades to see why UNESCO declared

the area to be a model for conservation and

sustainable development.

There are more than 600 biosphere

reserves in 120 countries – just two of them

Noosa’s

eco

treasures

INTOTHE BIOSPHERE

species of birds – almost half of all the bird

varieties found in Australia –1300 plant species

and 60 different ecosystems and we are barely

touching the surface.

Beyond the lakes, at the part of the Upper

Noosa River known as the ‘River of Mirrors’

the brackish water reflects the trees on the shore

so clearly it’s almost impossible to see the line

between them. It’s so quiet we can hear every

bird call.

Further up river we reach Harry’s Hut, an

old logger’s hut that later became the weekend

fishing cabin of a local named Harry and now it’s

a protected cultural site and a popular camping

and picnic area. However, when we stop by for

lunch we have the place to ourselves – glorious.

Vivienne pulls out her espresso coffee maker

and a gourmet picnic of smoked salmon, crusty

bread, dips, antipasti and fresh fruit and we enjoy

a lunch in the sun before the return journey.

Back at Elanda Point we’ve covered about

30km and we’re just in time to enjoy happy hour

wih fellow kayakers at the Apollonian Hotel in

Boreen Point. The end of a perfect day.

Kanu Kapers offers half and one-day guided

or self-guided tours in easy to paddle and

stable sea kayaks.

Not far away, new and upgraded tracks in

the Wooroi Forest allow mountain bikers of all

levels to experience a small corner of Tewantin

National Park, which itself is just a smidgen of

the 150,000 hectares within the Noosa Biosphere

20

| BNE September/October 2016

ESCAPE

Bike trails in Wooroi Forest