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About Mooloolah River

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Getting there and getting around

Cyclists, visitors in wheelchairs and parents with strollers can enjoy the park by using the cement council pathway that runs along a park boundary. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Cyclists, visitors in wheelchairs and parents with strollers can enjoy the park by using the cement council pathway that runs along a park boundary. Photo: Ross Naumann.

The park is within ten minutes drive of Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast.

The majority of the park lies either side of the Sunshine Motorway with the Mooloolah River forming its south-eastern boundary. This Mooloolah River section is accessible from Claymore Road, Sippy Downs.

The Jowarra section of Mooloolah River National Park is accessible from the Steve Irwin Way.

Wheelchair accessibility

Internal walking tracks and fire management trails in Mooloolah River National Park are sand/earth tracks and unsuitable for wheelchair access.

A wide, relatively flat cement Council path follows the edge of the park closest to the Sunshine Motor Way. From this path you can see tall open forest, woodlands and heathland, including wildflowers in late winter and spring. The pathway links Sippy Downs and Sunshine Coast University with Kawana and Mooloolaba areas.

Park features

Mooloolah River flows along the south-east boundary of the park. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Mooloolah River flows along the south-east boundary of the park. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Mooloolah River is one of the Sunshine Coast’s most significant protected coastal lowland habitats. Rapid development along the coast has left very few of these habitats intact. Those that remain have extremely high conservation value and are essential for the survival of local plants and animals.

The park’s coastal rainforest, melaleuca forests, wallum banksia woodlands, scribbly gum open forests, sedgelands and closed heaths are all threatened regional ecosystems.

The Jowarra section of Mooloolah River National Park is one of the few remaining coastal rainforest areas. It is an important home for wildlife including the wompoo pigeon, eastern yellow robin, and the vulnerable Richmond birdwing butterfly.

Explore Mooloolah River National Park and enjoy its beauty and tranquillity—take a bushwalk, canoe up the Mooloolah River or cycle along the edge of the park on the Council’s bikeway.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not permitted in Mooloolah River National Park. Nearby Beerwah State Forest has a camping area at Coochin Creek.

Other accommodation

There is a wide range of holiday accommodation on the Sunshine Coast, including Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s camping and caravan parks—see the tourism information links below for further information.

Things to do

Track sections that pass through wet heathland are often waterlogged in the wetter months, particularly from January to June. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Track sections that pass through wet heathland are often waterlogged in the wetter months, particularly from January to June. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Scribbly gum woodland on the Aemula trail. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Scribbly gum woodland on the Aemula trail. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Banksias flower in the cool, drier months of March to November. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Banksias flower in the cool, drier months of March to November. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Rainbow bee-eaters are often seen in Mooloolah River section. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Rainbow bee-eaters are often seen in Mooloolah River section. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Hairy bush pea Pultenea villosa is one of many wildflowers that colour the heath plain when wildflowers peak late winter and throughout spring. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Hairy bush pea Pultenea villosa is one of many wildflowers that colour the heath plain when wildflowers peak late winter and throughout spring. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Walking

Short walking tracks are provided in the Jowarra section. In the Mooloolah River section visitors can explore the park on fire management trails.

Drier winter months are best for walking. Walking tracks that pass through wet heathland are prone to water inundation from January to June—especially during the summer months.

Waterlogged areas are particularly sensitive to the impact of walkers. The soil becomes deeply compacted and trampled plants do not recover quickly. Consider turning back when the track is covered by water to protect these sensitive areas.

Bicycles, trail bikes and other vehicles are not permitted on the fire management trails, walking tracks or elsewhere in the national park.

Key to track standards

Use the track standards listed below and with each walking track description to choose walks that suit your groups experience and fitness levels.

Class 2 track Australian Standards

  • Easy level track, suitable for all fitness levels.

Class 3 track Australian Standards

  • Gently sloping, well-defined track with slight inclines or few steps.
  • Caution needed in wet areas.
  • Reasonable level of fitness and ankle-supporting footwear required.

Walks in Jowarra section

Mooloolah River circuit (Class 2)

Distance: 500 m return

Time: allow 20 mins

Details: This short, self-guiding rainforest walk winds along a crystal clear creek. The fruiting fig trees here attract many birds and this is a good spot for birdwatching.

Melaleuca walk (Class 2)

Distance: 1.3 km return

Time: allow 40 mins

Details: Rainforest with piccabeen palm groves, eucalypt forest and melaleuca swamp awaits those taking this longer walk. The river here is home to platypus, which may be seen by quiet and observant visitors at dawn and dusk.

Walks in Mooloolah River section

Walks in this section are along fire management trails. Walking conditions on these tracks are similar to walking track standard Class 3.

Walk distances provided are one-way. The fire management trails are connected to each other, so a walk combining several trails can be planned.

Remember to allow time for your return walk—it takes about an hour to walk 3 km and take in the scenery.

Boronia trail

Distance: 2.4 km one way

Details: This trail takes you through tall scribbly gum Eucalyptus racemosa forest onto a small heath plain, across a creek crossing and onto the largest heath plain in the park.

Aemula trail

Distance: 1.3 km one way

Details: Wallum banksia Banksia aemula woodlands, open forests and heath grow beside this walk.

Littoralis trail

Distance: 1.1 km one way

Details: Along higher ground, this trail features open forests and woodlands with scribbly gums and casuarina Allocasuarina littoralis.

Paperbark trail

Distance: 850 m one way

Details: Features casuarina forest with an understorey of golden candlesticks Banksia spinulosa var. collina, and swamp paperbark Melaleuca quinquenervia forest, where bungwall fern Blechnum indicum grows.

Bicycling

Sunshine Coast Regional Council bikeway

A wide, cement bikeway runs beside a section of the park featuring tall open forest with scribbly gums, banksia woodlands, and low heath. The bikeway links Sippy Downs and Sunshine Coast University with Kawana and Mooloolaba areas.

Bicycles, trail bikes and other vehicles are not permitted on the fire management trails or elsewhere in the national park.

Viewing wildlife

Mooloolah River is a great place to view coastal plants and animals, especially in the cooler parts of the day—early morning and late afternoon—when wildlife is most active.

Quiet observers may see eastern grey kangaroos, lace monitors, echidnas, snakes, lizards, dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, spiders and other small creatures.

Colourful honeyeaters, insect-eating rainbow bee-eaters, seed eating yellow-tailed black cockatoos, ospreys and many other birds live in the wallum heath areas of the park.

The Jowarra section protects one of the Sunshine Coast’s few remaining areas of coastal rainforest. Extensive clearing of the coastal flats has left isolated pockets of rainforest and these provide important refuge for wildlife. Among them are the wompoo pigeon, yellow-breasted robin, Richmond birdwing butterfly and many frog and snake species. In the quiet calm of the early morning and late afternoon, the more observant visitor may see platypus in the river.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers can be observed here throughout the year, particularly in the heath areas—the season peaks from winter to spring. The intensity and length of flowering depends on seasonal factors, rainfall and temperature.

Fire plays a role and many heath plants have special adaptations for surviving fire, including woody seed pods.

Common wildflowers include purple and pink shades of boronias, twinning peas, prickly heath, wax flower, iris and vanilla lilies; cream to yellow and gold wallum peas, wattles, geebung, guinea flowers, banksias, grass trees and melaleucas; blue hues of lilies and fan flowers; white prickly heath, wedding bush, pimelea and tea-tree; red and green flashes of bottle brushes; deep green banksias and many more.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

  • Bring adequate drinking water, a first-aid kit, insect repellent and a mobile phone.
  • For walking, wear suitable shoes, sunscreen, a hat and long-sleeved shirt.
  • Bring a camera and binoculars for viewing wildlife.

Opening hours

For your safety, visit Mooloolah River National Park in daylight hours only.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted within Mooloolah River National Park.

Climate and weather

The Sunshine Coast enjoys a mild, subtropical climate. The average daily temperature range is 21 to 29 °C in summer and 10 to 21 °C in winter. In summer temperatures can exceed 30 degrees Celsius. For more information see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

The nearest fuel and supplies are available at Chancellor Park Market Place and Mountain Creek Shopping Centre, both within five minutes drive of the park. For more information see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Never begin a walk in the park if you can see smoke. This image shows the heath plain after a wildfire in September 2009. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Never begin a walk in the park if you can see smoke. This image shows the heath plain after a wildfire in September 2009. Photo: Ross Naumann.

For your safety

  • Obey all safety and warning signs. Tracks may be closed due to flooding or fire management operations.
  • Never begin a walk if you can see smoke in the park.
  • Avoid heat exhaustion in summer—walk at cooler times of the day.
  • Always carry enough drinking water.
  • Wear sturdy walking shoes, a hat and sunscreen.
  • Be observant for snakes all year round.
  • Pack a mobile phone and first-aid kit.
  • Tell friends or family where you are going and when you expect to return. If you change your plans inform them.
  • Complete your walk in daylight.
  • Avoid theft—lock your vehicle and leave no valuables, including garage remotes.
  • Use insect repellent to deter mosquitoes.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

Eastern grey kangaroos rely on the park for food and shelter. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Eastern grey kangaroos rely on the park for food and shelter. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Growing native plants such as Boronia will help protect local biodiversity and attract native bees into your garden. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Growing native plants such as Boronia will help protect local biodiversity and attract native bees into your garden. Photo: Ross Naumann.

Mooloolah River National Park’s plant communities are all threatened regional ecosystems. With its sandy soils the park is very sensitive to human impacts. Damage to ground surfaces can take many years to recover.

Waterlogged areas are particularly sensitive to the impact of walkers. The soil becomes deeply compacted and trampled plants do not recover quickly. Care for the environment by turning back when the track is covered by water rather than walking around the edge and widening the track and damaging plants.

Always stay on track and visit only on foot. Bicycles, motor bikes and vehicles are not permitted in the park as they cause too much damage in this sensitive, sandy environment.

Many of the parks plants are adapted to fire and some germinate only after fire but there is a fine balance between appropriate frequency of fire to maintain species diversity and too frequent or too hot fires that reduce diversity. Fires are not permitted in the park and visitors, particularly smokers, need to be very careful to ensure they don’t accidentally start a fire.

Are you a local resident?

Growing local native plants in your garden will help retain this area’s biodiversity and reduce the risk of exotic plants becoming weeds in the park. Obtain a plant species list and visit a native plant nursery to find out what species are available.

All the plants and wildlife here, including many rare and threatened species need this park for survival. Never take dogs into the national park. If you own cats, lock them up at night. When buying a pet, choose one that will not impact on local wildlife.

You are privileged to live so close to such a valuable conservation area. When you visit the park take good care of it by being a minimal impact visitor.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) manages this park under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Tourism information links

Visit Sunshine Coast
www.visitsunshinecoast.com
ph 1300 847 481 (within Australia)
email

Visit Sunshine Coast manages accredited Visitor Information Centres across the Sunshine Coast that provide a range of local and regional tourist brochures and information, as well as a tour, attraction and accommodation booking service.

  • 198 Main Road, Montville
  • Settler's Rotary Park, Bruce Parade, corner of Reed Street, Glass House Mountains
  • 7 Caloundra Road, Caloundra
  • 77 Bulcock Street, Caloundra
  • Cnr Melrose Parade and Sixth Avenue, Cotton Tree (Maroochydore)
  • Cnr First Ave and Brisbane Rd, Mooloolaba
  • Tickle Park, David Low Way, Coolum Beach
  • Arrivals Terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport, Friendship Drive, Mudjimba

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
28 October 2016