The Maroochy Wetlands

While in Australia recently, I took my boys on a trip up the Maroochy River into the Maroochy wetlands. We had all enjoyed our canoe trip into the Noosa Everglades the previous year ( but this time we had a solar-powered canoe. The solar panel charges a battery that runs an electric outboard motor. It produces a reasonable speed and is very quiet. And we certainly appreciated the ease of gliding upriver without effort.

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Canoeing in the Noosa Everglades

While visiting Noosa in July, I took my two boys on a kayak trip into the Noosa Everglades.  Located in the Great Sandy National Park, the upper reaches of the Noosa River are a network of waterways, rivers, lakes and marshes and are best explored by kayak or canoe. The Everglades are situated in the Noosa Biosphere, which is one of Australia’s most diverse ecosystems and includes more than 40 per cent of the country’s bird species.

We drove about 20 km from Noosa to Booreen Point on Lake Cootharaba and crossed the lake in a larger boat to the mouth of the Upper Noosa River, where we changed to canoes, and continued into the Everglades by canoe. Lake Cootharaba is one of three large lakes connected to the Noosa River, the others are Lake Cooroibah and Lake Weyba.

Lake Cootharaba

The banks of the river are a mix of swampy grassland and subtropical forest, with patches of rainforest. There are lots of banksia trees and tea-trees. The tea-trees stain the water a deep brown colour from the tannin in their leaves. The Tea Tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, is an Australian native plant, and its leaves are also used to produce tea-tree oil, prized for its it’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal prowess.

Upper Noosa River

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Radioactive rapids


The Parc Eaux-Vives of Isle de la Serre is a whitewater playground for practicing kayak skills in rapids. It is on the Rhone River, between Geneva and Lyon. Its about an hour drive from Geneva, assuming they have not decided to renovate the tunnels for the motorway in the Juras (in which case it can be a very tedious 2.5 hour trip)! Continue reading

Alpine white water

During the first year after I moved to Geneva, I did a rafting trip down the Dranse river which is in the French Alps about 30 km from Geneva. It starts in the Portes du Soleil ski area and runs down to the Lake at Thonon Les Bains. The Dranse has class 3 rapids which become class 4 when the water volume is high.  Before we set off in the raft, the guide checked our ability to survive a capsize by getting each of us to swim through the first rapid. We were hooked and as we headed back towards Thonon afterwards, we saw a kayaking shop and went in and bought inflatable kayaks. The following photos are from a trip on the middle Dranse in 2001.   Continue reading