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The Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s hottest destinations for white sand beaches, charming villages, and world-class wineries.

But if you’re wanting a break from the beaches and city life, then a trip to the pristine Noosa Everglades is the best way to do it.

aerial view of river and everglades
Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

These tranquil waterways sit alongside an ancient, thriving rainforest and tall grass, and are famed for their reflective, crystal-clear waters. It’s one of Australia’s most diverse ecosystems and most pristine wetlands.

Meandering down the rivers and waterways is one of the best ways to escape from the stresses of daily life.

But how do you visit the Noosa Everglades and what makes it so special? This complete guide will tell you all you need to know about this unique attraction on the Sunshine Coast.

What are the Noosa everglades?

people kayaking

The Noosa everglades are a series of waterways and tropical wetland and swampy land that connect the Northern Noosa River system to the ocean near the Sunshine Coast.

The everglades are nestled among two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, the Noosa and the Cooloola region of the Great Sandy National Park. 

It combines an area of 60km and is also known as the River of Mirrors due to the amazing reflections in the water. 

The official parameters of the everglades have not been defined, but it is said to begin in the Upper Noosa River catchment area, and include the Upper Noosa River, Lake Cootharaba, Lake Cooroibah, Donella Lake, Lake Weyba, and Laguna Bay.

river with reflections in the Noosa everglades
Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

The Everglades are known for their bountiful plants and magnificent flora, as well as thriving wildlife. The land’s traditional owners, the Kabi Kabi Aboriginal people, were one of the few tribes to migrate less often from the everglades since the land was fruitful and had plenty of resources.

It is also said that 40% of Australia’s birds species are found in the Noosa Everglades and it’s the only everglades system in Australia (and one of two in the world) where you can safely swim because it’s crocodile free! 

Keep your eyes open for rare wildlife, including rare bird species such as the glossy black cockatoo, pelicans, cormorants, osprey, eagles, and more.

How to get to the Noosa Everglades

map showing distance between noosa heads and noosa everglades

The Noosa Everglades combines a huge region just outside Noosa, but the best area to explore the everglades is from Boreen Point, a small village in the Noosa Hinterlands that sits on the shores of Lake Cootharaba.

Boreen Point is located a 30-minute drive from Noosa Heads, or 90 minutes from Brisbane. It’s the ideal day trip from the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane because of its close location.

From Boreen Point, you can rent kayaks and canoes, go kite surfing, explore on your own boat, or catch a boat cruise and self-guided tours.

Ways to Explore the Noosa Everglades

Visiting the Noosa everglades is one of the top things to do in Noosa and should not be skipped off any sunshine coast itinerary.

Here are a few different ways to explore the Noosa everglades…

Kayak Noosa Everglades

people kayaking

Kayaking the Noosa everglades is one of the best ways to explore the narrow waterways, since it puts you close to the crystal-clear waters and has minimal impact on the unique environment; take only photographs, leave only ripples.

Plus, it keeps you fit!

We decided to kayak a 16 km round trip from Lake Cootharaba, which took us out into the middle of nowhere in a pristine natural environment with only the sounds of the birds flying and the water lapping against our boat and the lily pads.

When your biceps get tired, you can stop for a moment and enjoy the silence, occasionally broken by the sounds of birds singing.

people kayaking

It’s one of my favourite experiences in Australia. We barely saw another soul when we were out on the water.

You can do a self-guided kayak tours from Boreen Point to Noosa everglades, which takes around 5 hours of paddling there and back, including taking breaks for rest and photos. 

If you want to take your adventure up a notch, you can pack up the kayak with your bush camping gear and head out to the wilderness on a three-day adventure. 

people kayaking

Or you can combine a short kayaking trip with a boat tour, if you don’t fancy paddling for too long.

Noosa Everglades Boat Tours

Canoeing through the Everglades with the EcoSafari boat in the background
Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

If you prefer a more relaxing way to explore the Noosa everglades, then consider taking an eco-safari guided boat tour through the everglade waterways.

These purpose built eco boats have been designed to have minimal impact on the environment, without compromising on the comfort of the passengers. With wide open viewing windows, every passenger gets a good view of the reflective waters and surrounding plant life.

aerial view of the everglades
Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

The vessels are quiet and gentle as they pass through the tranquil river.

Sit back and sip sparkling wine or beer while your expert guide provides an expert commentary on the history of the land and its uses on an afternoon cruise.

After the boat ride, you can enjoy a swim in the water or visit the Habitat Ecocamp to see the grey kangaroos.

Noosa Everglades Camping

Eco-tourism accommodation in the Noosa Everglades
Habitat Noosa | Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Another popular way to experience the everglades is to camp. The best place to camp is on the shores of Lake Cootharaba. 

There are two popular camping spots on the lake, the first is Habitat Noosa, which offers a number of powered and unpowered campsites, so you can rock up with an RV or pitch a tent for a rural experience.

The campsite has 65 acres of bushland and 500 meters of beach, so you can experience the best of the Noosa everglades and Noosa beaches, all in one.

Habitat is an eco-camp, which means no noise after 10pm, and campfires are kept in designated areas. It also has a kitchen which visitors can use.

Another popular campsite on the shores of Lake Cootharaba is Boreen Point Campground. It’s similar to Habitat Noosa in that it offers powered and unpowered campsites and has designated campfire zones.

If you’d prefer to stay in nearby Noosa, scroll through the accommodation options below. Noosa is one of Australia’s favorite beachside resort towns, so will have all the amenities and attractions you’ll need!

Noosa Everglades FAQs

view of trees on banks of river
Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Here’s what people usually ask us about the Noosa everglades…

Are there crocodiles in the Noosa everglades?

No, there are no crocodiles in the Noosa Everglades. It’s one of only two everglades in the world where there are no crocs or alligators (the other is in the Florida everglades system)

Can you swim in Noosa everglades?

Yes, it’s one of the few everglades in the world where you can safely swim without fear of crocodiles. 

Are there sharks in Noosa Everglades?

Bull sharks have been sighted in the Noosa area, but generally, they stay near the lower reaches where the river meets the ocean.

Are there snakes in Noosa?

Yes, you may find red belly black snakes in the Noosa area, which is a venomous snake. If you see a snake, stay calm and walk away slowly. Snakes don’t usually attack unless provoked so leave it alone and you should be fine.

Before You Go

people kayaking through the everglades
Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

The Noosa everglades were a highlight of our trip to the Noosa Hinterland. Being able to switch off and enjoy being in nature is one of the main reasons to visit the Everglades.

Before you go, make sure you bring plenty of water and sun cream. Please also remember to take your garbage with you or throw it in the bins provided at the campsites. 

The Noosa Everglades are well known for their environmental efforts and for keeping the waterways pristine, so please help to contribute to this and clean up after yourselves.

And most of all, have the best time exploring the Noosa everglades!

More Sunshine Coast & Fraser Coast Travel Ideas

A Complete Guide to Visiting the Noosa Everglades
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