Mooloolah River National Park Sunshine Coast

Extensive heath plain features in Mooloolah River National Park, Mooloolah River section. Photo © Ross Naumann.

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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

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