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Kauri to Rainbow Beach

Kauri to Rainbow Beach
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Gt Sandy National Park




0 - 231m ASL


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I AWOKE as rain fell on my final morning in the park at Kauri Walkers Camp. With little else to do I packed up during a break in the rain and headed out of the camp back onto the main track.

Steady rain fell as I descended the big drop into the swampy forest depression near Freshwater Lake, reaching the junction I had passed several days ago after leaving Freshwater Camp. From here I continued along the main Great Walk track heading upstream through a valley with no stream running along it.

The forest quickly changed to rainforest as more rain fell. Fortunately no wind was blowing so it wasn't cold. The rain gradually eased off as I reached a point where the valley narrowed and a flowing stream appeared along the bottom of a four metre deep ravine running along the bottom of the valley. Further downstream the entire stream runs underground through the porous sand.

The track gently climbed alongside the stream until the valley widened to a large flat with reeds growing in the clearing. This continued widening until I could see the dark water of Lake Poona, a window lake about 160 metres above sea level. The track continued through the forest around the lake until reaching a junction. Here I turned left following a short distance to the lake.

Last time I was here four years ago the water level was a lot lower leaving a good beach of golden sand around the lake. This beach was completely submerged with the paperbark trees and reeds growing out of the water. I did manage to get a few shots through gaps between the trees, but didn't stay here long.

From the lake I followed the track up the hill quickly re-entering rainforest as I approached the tops at about 230 metres above sea level. The track continued through several kilometres of rainforest before it gradually thinned into scrubby eucalypt forest. Following another dirt road crossing, I eventually reached the junction of Telegraph Road walking track. The great walk followed this track to the left, about a hundred metres inland from the coloured sand cliffs of Rainbow Beach. I still had a couple of hours to go before reaching the village.

The track rose up and down over a hundred metres elevation over three kilometres before rising once more reaching the top of Carlo Sandblow. Here I cut across the descending sand to the lookout over Rainbow Beach. Although it hadn't rained since before arriving at Lake Poona, I could see thick sheets of rain crossing the coast towards Double Island Point to the right, and over Fraser Island to the left. The water about eighty metres below me was a bit cloudy due to the large waves churning up on the beach.

More people were appoaching the lookout, so I headed back along the sandblow towards the other entrance. It was a bit slow ascending the hard sand but I did reach the wooden platform lookout where I briefly stopped looking over towards Double Island Point where I had just come from in one direction, and looking out over parts of Cooloola Cove in the other direction.

From here I followed the track towards the northern entrance of the great walk, passing the car park before following a road through a residential area approaching the town centre. The descent was moderate as I passed houses winding down the hill towards the flat area where the main town sits.

The town was busy despite the overcast conditions and threatening rain. I followed the main road to its end where the propeller of the Cherry Venture, a shipwhich was wrecked along the northern part of Teewah Beach near what is now the Leica Track was wrecked in 1973 and the deteriorating wreckage removed in 2007.

From the propeller, I headed to the nearby lookout over the beach, then continued along a path to the left to descend the famous Rainbow Beach coloured stairs and across to the beach where I headed to the water's edge to complete all the sections of the 604 kilometre route I have been hiking along over most weekends this year.

Now with this section of the South East Queensland Trail complete, I now realised I needed to do some different travels from now on - perhaps a combination of pickups along the the coastal section of the trail, along with adding a few intrastate and interstate trips now travel is starting to get back to normal, even through the flights were still a bit unreliable at the moment.

From the water's edge, I sat on the beach watching the sun set almost behind me, and the full moon rise over the top of the Double Island Point hill across the other side of the bay.

With rain threatening, I returned to the village for dinner before starting the long evening trip home.


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