My Cooloola Great Walk experience!

Early last week I arrived home after completing the Cooloola Great Walk with two really good friends. The great walk is 102 kilometers over 5 days. We walked from Tewantin (just out of Noosa, Queensland) to Rainbow beach. You can walk vice versa but I LOVED finishing in Rainbow as it is probably one of my favourite places in the world. The walk was lengthy, tough, mentally and physically exhausting, blister ridden, beautiful, challenging, scenic and blissful all in one. It was a JOURNEY thats for sure. I am so so glad we did this, it’s really important to get out of our comfort zone sometimes. Below is my Cooloola Great Walk experience as well as a few reccomendations, enjoy!

DAY 1

We started at roughly 9am on our first day and staight away went to the DOC hut to get ourselves a lil map so we wouldn’t get lost(we didn’t!). We took the barge over the Noosa river for $1 and started walking from there. This was just over 2k from the start of the walk(we wanted to get extra steps in, JK). Majority of the first day was all along the beach which was so exciting and gorgeous for the first couple of hours but this ended up being maybe 10k walking of the flat sand and our feet definitely started to feel it. After the first 8k I would totally recommend to get off the coast and head towards the sand dunes to follow the track from there as the post with the orange arrow is quite hard to find here. On this note I also wouldn’t take advice from anyone on the beach. North shore is a really busy and populated area with loads of cars and people. The amount of comments/questions we were getting from 50+ year old males(wankers) were unsolicited and we really didn’t need a debrief from people that hadn’t actually had any experience in what we were doing LOL. We couldn’t wait to head inland and get away from civilization πŸ™‚ this was a 7.5 hour walk day and we walked 22k. We made it to our first camp Brahminy at 4pm and IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL! We were the only ones there which made it even more special. Our view from the camp was the ocean to the right and lake Cootharaba was on the left. It was so so pretty.

Brahminy camp night 1

Every camp was very basic. They have a few platforms which is more of a common area, to be able to cook food, leave your bags on etc. as well as a water tank, and a toilet. There are absolutely no showers or trash cans.

We slept well the first night. It was probably one of the coldest nights we had and we slept with our food in our tent which we soon realised we wouldn’t do again as there were rats that found interest, LOL. Speaking of sleeping arrangements. My friend and myself shared a tent and I’m glad we did. She carried the tent the whole time, buff bish. And needed the body heat. The coldest it got was probably 9 degrees, cold for us though. I had a sleeping bag as well as a liner(cheers mum) and the liner really helped with warmth and comfort. I also slept on a compression mattress(cheers dad) and its bag turned into a pillow. Very simple but effective set up. Next time I’d probably invest in a better quality/smaller sleeping bag IF I knew I’d be doing more of these kinds of adventures and I’d take a better pillow as we had quite long sleeps. There definitely isn’t a whole lot to do once you’ve eaten dinner and the sun goes down. We were in bed by 6 and up at 5.30 most mornings.

DAY 2

The second day was most likely my least favourite as there was unexpected incline and it just felt like a long day getting used to the weight on our backs(mine was about 13kg) and so much walking. It did have stunning views of the coast line which was amazing but again was a 7.5 hour walk day including a lunch break. Campsite number 2 was Litoria and was on the Noosa river but felt kinda swampy so was probably my least favourite campsite of the trip. The only time we shared a campsite was this night with two lovely local ladies. We only saw 3 people over the WHOLE 5 DAYS and they were all female, up the chicks.

Whenever the walking felt hard I found myself snacking. Snacking or talking would take the pain away from us thinking about our feet LOL. Snacks that we took and I would recommend are: snakes, trail mix of nuts, banana chips, mnms, dried fruit, we made heaps of bliss balls which were the best thing ever. They were heavy but did not get sick of them, they gave us such great energy. You also really want to have all of your food in big clip seal bags due to the fact there are no trash cans so what you take in you have to take out. We did a really good job with our rubbish and kept things really minimal.

Walking the sandpatch on day 2
So many different terrains

DAY 3

This was probably one of the most enjoyable days on our hike as it was only a 15k day and we made really great time. We arrived at camp just after lunch and once again had the place to ourselves. The trek this day was soooo breezy and cinematic. The trees swayed the whole morning, it was beautiful. Considering we had the time when we got to camp we decided to walk to a nearby lake that was 5k return. I am glad we did this simply because we HAD the time but don’t know if those extra steps to go and visit Lake Cooloomera which was basically a pond with no access was worth the energy LOL. It makes a good story now. A friend said this was ‘decompressing after our walk’. Walking, walking and more WALKING. I feel like most hikers on this track do head here- hoping for somewhere to swim! We slept more or less downhill at Litoria camp so we didn’t get alot of wind this night- had a really great sleep.

Hiking to Litoria camp

DAY 4

This morning we woke and watched the sunrise with mocha’s as well as had a stretch, best start to the day! Day 4 was another 20k day that I was lowkey dreading but we had a great pace on us and it went fairly quickly. It was another 7 hour walk day but threw in a few podcasts and dnms and the hours flew. We saw heaps of cool mushrooms this day. Day 4 had a bit of a Cairns rainforest vibe to it. Super lush, green and tropical. We arrived at the fourth camp feeling relieved and happy to rest our feet but Kauri walkers camp wasn’t the best on the track and we didn’t overly struggle with mosquitos on the track but they were bad at Kauri. We made a team decision to walk a few extra K to some water that we’d heard about. Best. Decision. Ever. This was our biggest day yet at 26k’s but it was so rewarding getting to go to sleep and wake up where we did. Camping under the stars this night was the best end to this adventure.

Home for the night

DAY 5

We were all STOKED to wake this day. We’d almost completed 100k! We knew we had a short morning which was so motivating. We started quite early and got to the sandblow overlooking Double Island and Rainbow Beach by 11am. It was so strange seeing other humans again. Getting to the sandblow felt like such an achievement! Once you get to the carpark which is where the hike ends you still have to walk into town which isn’t far but feels like a kick in the guts when you are SO READY to take your shoes off. We went straight to a cafe and treated ourselves to coffee. I cant even explain how good it felt to shower that day, drink something other than tank water(a freezing cold beer) and sleep in an actual bed with an actual pillow! I was so proud of myself and my friends and there is no one else I would have preffered to have had this experience with. As cliche as it sounds- it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. Some mornings EVERYTHING hurt, but we just kept going. And I think this is where having supportive mates on a hike like this really helps out. Couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without them. Mindset and the people we surround ourselves with are two of the most imporant things, ever. Also kudos to our bodies for their resilience, day in day out. If you are after an overnight hike and really want to challenge yourself while viewing some of the best coastline our country has to offer- do the Cooloola Great Walk πŸ™‚

Recomendations:

  • I personally loved starting from Tewantin rather than the other way around. Especially starting with a bigger day the first day. Im sure north to south is just as stunning! I had been told to start from the north due to the sun but the sun really wasn’t a problem
  • Speaking of sun- we were very sun smart. Zinc every morning on our faces and upper bodies as well as sunglasses and we all wore hats
  • I took three sets of clothes and this felt like plenty. One longer sleeve shirt was great for bigger walking days to protect my arms from the sun
  • Three pairs of good hiking socks was enough. They dry super quickly and we hung clothes out as camp most nights
  • Dehydrated meals are tasty. I’m sure we could have eaten mud and thought it tasted amazing post massive walk days but they were really good. We took the brand Outdoor Gourmet with 2 servings per packet and had these for dinner everynight
  • Oats are a winner for breakfast. Filling and can change them up each day with PB, protein powder, nuts, dried fruit, hey even a bliss ball!
  • Downsize your bag as much as possibly. The three of us packed so well considering we hadn’t done anything like this before. None of us took anything we didn’t use. Don’t double up on anything! It’s a waste of space.
  • In terms of hygiene- baby wipes were an absolute delight to have with us. Hand sanitiser. Deoderant and a toothrush were the extent of my cleanliness. Don’t do this hike if you’re afraid of getting dirty and smelling. I repeat: there are no showers.
  • We had a ripper first aid kit(shoutout Ranger Rose). You can’t take too many bandaids/blister pads. You’ll need them. If anyone had any blister avoidance tips I would love to hear them
  • Invest in good socks, they are worth the money. I got half merino and half bamboo! So comfortable and breathable
  • Take something to add to your water. BCAA’s, or something simular to give you energy and change up the standard tank water taste
  • You’ll need water purification tablets. This is an easy process and rather be safe than sorry
  • Have SOMETHING downloaded on your phone. A show, music playlist, podcast. This really helped me.
  • A 2L bladder of water was personally enough for myself for a day
  • Water and food are the heaviest additions to your pack and these two things are totally necessary so reduce weight if you can with gear/clothing
  • A poncho is really handy to take(shoutout TC) if it rains or to wrap your pack in overnight. Every night was super dewy
  • May was such a great month to do this hike. I don’t think I would enjoy it as much in summer. The mornings were so snug and comfortable. We really didn’t sweat a whole lot
  • What you take in you must take out. DO NOT LEAVE ANY LITTER BEHIND. This is one of the most pristine areas I have ever come across. It needs to stay this way. Be smart before you leave and pack in as little rubbish to your pack as possible before hitting the track
  • Take a head torch, these are helpful
  • Something like tea or hot chocolate is really lovely to pack also for cool mornings
  • We took a jetboil to boil our water for our meals and it was wicked. If you can afford one would recommend. So compact
  • Take a pair of shoes to wear at the camp. You don’t want your feet in boots anymore than they have to be. I took lightweight thongs and i’m so glad I did because I even used these on the track when my feet needed a break
  • Next time I’d take an essential oil spray or something simular to freshen up clothes, bedding etc
  • I would invest in a good quality and compact caming pillow for 4 nights on this track
  • A friend took a flask of rum and this wasn’t necessary but put a bit of pep in our step when we were feeling flat
  • Take bathers to swim in Lake Poona, it has white sand all around and is so beautiful!
  • Obviously let a few people know that you are doing this hike prior to leaving
  • Don’t listen to dickheads on the beach that haven’t participated in this walk
  • Take a rain jacket- just incase
  • I took a 40L backpack and this was a great size for me
  • Hiking boots with ankle support are a good idea as tghere is some incline/decline
  • A piece of string to use as a clothesline is super helpful
  • Giant clipseal bags will be used
  • Keep an open mind and appreciate the simplicity
  • JUST ENJOY IT!
Epitome of the CGW
So lucky to have had this experience πŸ™‚

30 Day minimalism challenge

I saw this challenge on google and thought ‘this is so up my alley’. There is basically one challenge per day that barely takes 5 minutes. A really productive start to the day and is a push to get those little jobs done that we never get around to.

  1. Purge your wardrobe

I love this one, and a perfect start! Even if its three clothing items- take them to your local thrift shop. Not only your wardrobe will be clearer but also your mind!

2. Clean your handbag

I liked this one too as I never get around to it. I even washed my bag. Felt really organised going to work the next day!

3. Toss out old socks

I LOVED this one too, why do we keep socks for such a long time? I threw a few pairs out and treated myself with 3x new, much better quality pairs! Wooohoo

4. Get rid of digital devices

I don’t understand the root of this question but what I took from this was… a day without social media. I’m already pretty disciplined as I wouldn’t say im constantly on my phone anyway and rarely sleep with my phone in my room. But this felt good.

5. Empty your wallet

This could also have a few possible meanings. I cleaned mine out and got rid of old cards. But it could also mean donate. I am going to donate $5 to Livin’ now πŸ™‚

6. Write your best friends qualities

I wrote down my partners best qualities and it probably made me happier than it made him but its really cool to see what you love most about someone on paper

7. Write your best qualities

It’s funny that we struggle to compliment ourselves. A few things I appreciate about myself: I am a great friend, I am an optimist, I love that I care for our environment, I have good self discipline and I love my teeth and my smile(thx mum and dad :))

8. Write for 20 minutes

This was super lovely in the morning, whether its mumbo jumbo/ the spelling is incorrect it doesn’t matter because NO ONE is going to read it. I’d love to start a dream journal, maybe I’ll keep one beside my bed and attempt to write when I have wild dreams!

9. Donate old books

I love book swapping and donating old books. I wouldn’t often re-read a book so why not pass our favourite reads on πŸ™‚

10. Ditch makeup for the day

Woohoo I love this. I wouldn’t often wear makeup when im not working but I would have stuggled with this years ago. I am now so much more comfortable in my own skin and that feels really powerful.

11. Meditate on your day

This day I went to a sound healing! It was auch an incredible experience. I have been working on my meditation parctice and it sure has paid off- being able to lay in a dark room for an hour! Highly recommend sound healings. The instruments sound amazing, I felt super rejuvinated and slept very well.

12. Spend time with loved ones

I’d like to think I do this daily/ when I have the chance but I made extra effort to call a few family members on this day. Life is all about the people we surround ourselves with and I feel SO lucky with my chosen ones <3

13. Write a gratitude log

Once again, I’d say I practice this daily but for today I wrote what I was grateful for and WHY. I chose matcha: lucky to have an alternitave that I enjoy other than coffee. My bed: it is so comfortable and makes me feel at home, and my family: lucky to be related to such loving, friendly and genuine people!

14. Evaluate your last 5 purchases

This was a cool activity. Doing this weekly would reduce a few spendings I think. Mine were: groceries, wine, a power bill, 2x festival tickets and a DiDi….. can you tell which were wants and which were needs, lol……

15. Stay offline for the day

Turned my phone off! Felt damn good. Should even start doing this 1 day per week

16. Don’t spend money for 24 hours

This felt great! Didn’t struggle at all. Would love to have a few days like this every week

17. Don’t complain all day

I attempted this over two days and tried to be really concious of my wording. I think this is a great thing to remind ourselves every morning!

18. Go without your phone

Turned my phone off for the day/ have been leaving it at home more. We’ve just gone into a three day lockdown so i’m going to have another phone free day during this time πŸ™‚

19. Venture outdoors

Went on a hike with a friend! Never regret getting outside

20. Create a relaxing space

This day I put lavender my diffuser, cleaned my room and had a chill yoga sesh. So relaxing after work.

21. Re-evalute your to do list

Priorotised what is most important, and always get these things done first thing

22. De-clutter your storage

Can’t say I have alot to store, but cleaned out my wardrobe- again will be tackling a few cupboads over these next few days

23. Empty your junk drawer

Did this, why do we all have atleast one of these? How many pens does a person need?

24. Turn off notifications

I don’t have any anyway, woo.

25. Batch cook your meals

I had a Sunday bake day. I made a dhal, zuchinni and lemon loaf, granola and bliss balls. Feels good to have healthy snacks in the fridge.

26. Get all your errands done today

Got a few things done I’d been putting off- went to bed feeling super satisfied this day

27. Eliminate a toxic relationship

I honestly can’t say I have any toxic friends/relationships- and this makes me happy πŸ™‚

28. Clear out your makeup collection

I did this with all of my bathroom cabinet, and it felt very refreshing!

29. Say no to something

I’ve been saying no to everything I don’t want to do this year πŸ™‚ and it feels amazing

30. Re-purge your wardrobe

Done and done, with pleasure