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REVIEW: Gagaju Canoe Tour, Noosa

The last few days of my East Coast Tour have been spent just outside Noosa in Gagaju Canoe camp, where a 3 day, 2 night canoe tour of the Noosa Everglades was on the cards.
So this post contains a review of my time here, the pros and cons and a mini diary of what I got up too.

I’ll start off we saying that like a lot of things in life you cant judge Gagaju by it’s cover. On being picked up from Noosa in the afternoon we drove to the camp, which is about half an hour away but as we approached our destination the abundance of clutter filled, patch work structure like hippy camps began to worry us slightly.
We knew Gagaju was an Eco retreat but still, theres only so much Eco that I’m actually willing to pay for!
Luckily once we’d arrived the tour of the camp put our worries at ease. It was spacious and came pretty kitted out too; tv room, kitchen, pool table, 247 camp fire and even a dorm room for our first night. It was basic, but comfortably so – we’d come here to get back to nature and the remote semi alfresco base camp was just what we wanted – complete with drop pit toilets!

Night one consisted of muchos goon related antics, games of pool and basically having a good night relaxing and taking in our new surroundings. Bunking down in the dorms was certainly an interesting experience, mesh walls meant the sounds of the rainforest filled the air.
But it was up bright and breezy at 8:30 in the morning for our itinerary and safety briefing. It was short, sweet and to the point, allowing us an hour to kit up, grab some brekkie and pack some lunch. By 9:30 we were paired up and hitting the water.
Within 5 minutes we were all in awe of the beautiful surroundings and the tranquility of the whole experience but this tranquility was soon broken somewhat when Jim jumped overboard chasing a paddle that had gone walkabout! Needless to say we were in fits of giggles watching a drenched Welshman flounder around in the water and nearly capsize Jonesy trying to climb back on board!
Next up we cracked out the goon bag…we’re on holiday…11am is a perfectly reasonable drink o’clock!
As the river ended it opened up into a lake, where our pit stop was on a beach on the waters edge, and consisted of a portion of chips and yet more goon after a failed attempt to locate the lakeside pub!
On the return journey we were informed of an offshoot river which turns into ‘blackwater’. This occurs when fresh water is tainted by the natural stain of the surrounding tree and plant matter, producing a natural mirror. But this river was even more unusual as the surrounding trees are eucalyptus and the water contains a high concentrate of tea tree oil – meaning swimming in it benefits hair and a skin – a natural spa!
So after a sweaty trudge dotted with river eagles and amusing banter we docked up again and proceeded to pass a few hours jumping off the jetty and enjoying the hot and cold affect the oil pockets in the water creates.
Arriving back at camp by 4pm our 16km day left us feeling shattered and satisfied – and ever so slightly drunk!

The second evening was spent much like the first, although we moved into our new accommodation on the campsite, again basic but comfortable.

An early (ish) morning was the start of our final day on the water. Today’s route was rather different – a couple km’s on the water followed by a 2km hike to the beach and repeated on the return journey.
But it proved a bit more arduous than the first day – with the wind and tide against us it was more tiresome, and unfortunately the weather put a slight downer on the beach.
Even so there were a lot of amusing antics, kangaroo sightings and banter – but the surroundings were slightly lacking on the original day.

Once we finally made it back The evening dissolved into a mix of power naps, BBQ’s and movies before hitting the sack.

Overview;

Gagaju is an excellent way to explore the Noosa rivers and overall an enjoyable experience. The camp itself provides everything you need for a clean and comfortable stay – as long as your expectations aren’t five star flashpacking style!
I’m not sure how well the trip would go down if you were travelling along though, being tagged onto a large group is never the easiest thing to do. But if your already in a group and keen to chill on the river I’d highly recommend it.
There are only a few niggles with it overall. The briefing is short and leaves some confusing as both routes are explained on day one, and although the self guiding leaves you with plenty of room to explore and play around I’m not sure how much value for money it represents.
I’d expect slightly more than simply heres a canoe, now go left on the first day, right on the second. That was the final niggle – the second day route was rather arduous and maybe some other optional activity should be offered.

Even so I had a lot of fun, whether that was down to the group I was with or not is irrelevant. If you come here ready to have fun and take in some natural beauty at the same time it’s well worth the detour from the common tourist track.