Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park Sunshine Coast

Discover paperbark trees, cabbage palms, scribbly gums and blue gum forests along the Melaleuca circuit. Photo credit: Rob Cameron © Queensland Government

Four-wheel drive past towering coastal sand cliffs and coloured sands in the paradise of Cooloola Recreation Area. Photo credit: © Tomek Z Genek

Melaleuca circuit

Delight in the wetlands of cabbage palms, paperbarks and eucalypt forests fringing the delta lakes of the upper Noosa River.

Journey type
400m circuit The same start and finish point, but the traveller doesn’t return along the same path
Time suggested
Allow 30min walking time.
Grade 3 walking track

Accessible by

  • Boat

Journey facilities

  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Walking

From Fig Tree Point day-use area, amble through wetlands into scribbly gum, bloodwood and blue gum forest that fringes the low-lying delta of the upper Noosa River. Unwind as you enjoy the rich birdsong in this cool retreat. At the junction with the Cooloola Wilderness Trail, turn left to continue through eucalypt forests and back into paperbark wetlands to the day-use area.

Take this short walk as a respite from paddling or motoring as you explore the Upper Noosa River waterway by canoe, kayak or boat; or if you want to explore while staying at the Fig Tree Point camping area.

Refer to the Cooloola and Inskip recreation areas discovery guide (PDF, 4.3MB) for a map and more details.

Getting there and getting around

Melaleuca circuit is in Cooloola Recreation Area, Great Sandy National Park, on the Sunshine Coast between Noosa Heads and Rainbow Beach (155–240km north of Brisbane).

By canoe

  • Drive 1.4km on the access road to the Elanda Point car park and canoe launch area.
  • Paddle 4.5km (1hr) to the Kinaba Visitor Information Centre, then paddle a further 20mins north to Fig Tree Point day-use area.
  • Stay close to the shore line while paddling northwards. Plan to cross Lake Cootharaba early in the morning when conditions are likely to be calm and easy to travel.

By boat

  • Launch your boat from the Boreen Point boat ramp on Urunga Parade and follow the lake navigation markers out into deeper water and then head on a north-east trajectory towards the visible Cooloola Sandpatch in the distant landscape. When you approach a red navigational marker in the middle of the lake (opposite Elanda Point), turn on a near northerly trajectory to the channel markers through very shallow shoals to the Kinaba Visitor Information Centre, then travel a further 15mins north (6 knots maximum speed limit) to the camping area.
  • The trip is 7km and boats will take 15mins travel time at 6 knots maximum speed limit.
  • From Kinaba, travel a further 15mins north (6 knots maximum speed limit) to Fig Tree Point day-use area.

Via the Wilderness trail

Getting to Boreen Point and Elanda Point

  • From Brisbane drive 135km north on the Bruce Highway or the Sunshine Motorway to Tewantin; or from Gympie drive 58km south and east on the Bruce Highway to Tewantin.
  • From Tewantin drive 19km west and north via McKinnon Drive and Louis Bazzo Drive to Boreen Point. Turn left onto Lake Flat Road and drive 2km to the Elanda Point access road.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Melaleuca circuit is open 24 hours a day.

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Cooloola Recreation Area safely and Walk with care.