Noosa National Park by Rose Niland – Connecting to the Earth

I am one of the million visitors per year walking the very well defined tracks of Australia’s most visited National Park at Noosa, which was officially opened by the then Governor of Queensland, Sir John Lavarack, in 1949. Through intense negotiations and unrelenting lobbying the final section of land was added to the Park in 1988.

Now the entire coastline between Noosa Heads and Sunshine Beach is protected as the Noosa National Park. The board walk along Noosa’s famous main beach begins my very favourite Noosa activity.

The crisp clear blue sky and calm rolling waves form the backdrop that generates well being. In some sections the boardwalk has been constructed around the tree trunks enhancing the natural ambiance.

The walking trail leads me to Little Cove, a sheltered tranquil beach.

The official entrance to the Park and the Coastal track, one of a number of walks, opens to the exciting prospect of sensory delights and physical satisfaction.

Information and photographic boards provide relevant historical, landform, flora and fauna facts for visitors.

The sounds of lapping water, birds chirping, squawking, whistling, pecking and lizards scratching is a joyful song for my ears.

I reach Boiling Point where the curve of headland is terraced with a rock plateau. The surface of the plateau is indented with markings washed by the winds and waters of time.

Walking on through a grove of paper barks I was soothed by the stillness and solidarity of the tall slender tree trunks.

This short walk of tranquility caressed my spirit.

Moving past trees that skirted the sand of Tea Tree Bay, I paused for reflection.

Like all of the beaches along the circuit it is dangerous to swim because of strong currents, dumping water, slippery rocks and submerged objects.

However, it is lovely for bathing in the sun and playing in the sand that has a thread of stones weaving between it and the vegetation.

A fallen pandamas palm on the sand still attached to the earth by a few roots provides a haven of imaginative places for children to create.

I was fortunate to discover a koala in a gum tree nibbling a feast of leaves and the large specimen was moving and twitching his ears.

Eucalypt leaves are a koala’s favourite food. The leaves contain a combination of poisons that defend the plants from insects.

However, koalas have a special chamber called the caecum that neutralizes these eucalypt toxins.

Because their diets are low in nutrients they don’t have very much energy.

There has been a marked decline in koala numbers as a result of habitat destruction and disease so I was delighted with my koala sighting.

One kilometer from the Park’s entrance is Dolphin Point which marks the end of wheel chair access.

Light bounced off the trees and coloured the water with a reflecting brightness and luminous shine. The sun like liquid gold radiated a dazzling haze.

Then I heard a rattling and raking in the undergrowth and suddenly a brush-turkey sauntered along the path.

Effervescent pleasure was bubbling and I found myself involuntarily smiling.

I felt contented to be alive and overwhelmed by the magic of scenery that has been moulded by the elements of earth, water, air and fire.

Wow what a day!

Continuing the cliff top walk along Granite Bay, I observed the rocks and boulders scattered on the curved foreshore.

Shades of grey pebbles stacked randomly along the base of the cliff dominated as the layers of waves frolicked on the sand and crashed on the rocks.

At the opposite end of Granite Bay is Winch Cove where steps lead down from bush land to the beach environment.

The trees above the track form a canopy with light filtering through, reminding me of Gerald Manley Hopkins poetry.

“And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;”

Further on, a wooden seat allows for viewing and contemplation.

The sheer joy of watching water cascading and circling in whirl pools below was like walking hand in hand with nature.

Wisps of white foam dipping in and out of sight, turquoise touching the sand and in the distance the blue of willow patterned china was picture perfect.

Hells Gate’s high bluff is spectacular providing viewing of the coastline north to Double Island Point and south over Alexander Bay.

The narrow bay has been formed from erosion along joints of the slightly metamorphosed sandstone.

It is home to an abundant bird life including Pied Cormorants, Ospreys and White-bellied eagles.

The waters within the dramatic chasm are shallow and the movement of waves rhythmical. The scenery is majestic and I feel humbled by its beauty.

The land was inhabited by the Gubbi Gubbi over 20,000 years ago.

The Gubbi Gubbi are deeply connected to the life, land and waters of this area.

They have a tradition of care and respect for this very distinctive place. They have used the resources of the land and sea wisely, always mindful of conservation and exhibiting reverence.

I am intrigued by the ever changing patterns in nature and curious about the effects of walking on the human spirit.

The colours, gentle fluttering of leaves, the breeze caressing the skin, sun warming the body, waves colliding with rocks, the taste of pure air all seep into the mind, body and spirit.

This is undeniably restorative.

The walk has challenged my senses and renewed my respect and link to the earth.

Judith Wright is one of my most loved Australian poets and also a committed environmentalist. She writes so eloquently in the second verse of Five Senses.

“While I’m in my five senses
they send me spinning
all sounds and silences. All shape and colour
as thread for the weaver,
whose web within me growing
follows beyond my knowing
some pattern sprung from nothing-
a rhythm that dances
and is not mine”.

Rose Niland, NSW Special Correspondent, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014

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