I always sleep well in my tent. There’s something about the fresh air and sounds of nature that does it for me. When I wake I am refreshed and ready to explore. I lower my kayak into the river at 6am. It’s so still that every blade of grass along the banks is reflecting clearly on the water. I feel like the only person on the river and see no one as I drift and paddle upstream. Campsites 4 and 5 are deserted and tranquil. The only sound is the gentle lap of water from the small ripples my kayak creates.
For an hour I drift and paddle a gentle path across the onyx black water. The sun comes up . First it reflects orange light sharply on the water before quickly rising to reveal a blue sky.
I return to camp an hour later and find Mum is awake. I cook a breakfast of semolina pudding (semolina, powdered milk, sultanas, water and honey). It is infinitely more tasty than porridge and just as easy to pack.
You can walk to the Cooloola Sand Patch from camp 3 so I suggest this instead of paddling further upstream for the day. Mum readily agrees. It’s a 12km (8 miles) return hike along a section of the Cooloola Great Walk.
Despite the heat it’s a pretty walk. Mushrooms / toadstools force their way through the sand to stand camouflaged along the track.
Other fungi grow more brightly on the trees.
A goanna crosses our path. These modern day dinosaurs at large and move loudly when they move. They must have few predators. This one is only small.
The banksia are in flower. They must have a long season for many spent flowers adorn the trees beside their bright yellow siblings. At night the fruit bats will again flap their wings loudly as they move from one of these nectar filled treasures to the next. At times we glimpse the sand patch in the distance. It extends to the north and south of us as we make our way along the final ridge top approach. We also see the ocean off in the distance but will not reach it today.
The sand patch is immense. Signs warn walkers not to meander here too much due to the heat and potential to damage the delicate ecosystem. It’d also be fairly easy to become disoriented here with the world of yellow and blue around you.
We cross the sand patch to the lookout recommended for day walkers. From here we can see south to Elanda Point where we started our adventure yesterday. There’s a lot of flat lands down there below the edge of the patch. Wallaby tracks cross our path, as do the markings of insects and reptiles. It looks like a lizard had climbed directly up one of the steep slopes. It’s quite interesting to think about this place as a home to life.
We eat a snack at the lookout and rest a bit in the shade taking in the views. Then it’s time to walk back the way we came all the way back to camp, some 6km (4 miles) away.
It’s a stinking hot day so we spend some time sitting on the jetty dangling our legs in the river. Mum jumps in for a swim but I’m happy to just chill on the jetty.
An afternoon nap in the shade at camp follows before we return to the jetty to watch day turn to night. Dinner and an early night round out what has been a fabulous day.