Some people find that counting the beads on a mala helps them to experience inner calm. Others find it more helpful to count paddle strokes on wandering waterways. If the latter works better for you, then pleasurably peaceful Petrie Creek is unquestionably your kind of place.
Eudlo Creek, Maroochy River, Petrie Creek
14 to 28 kilometres / 3.5 to 7 hours
Boat ramp or beach, Fishermans Road, Maroochydore
GPS: 26°38’37.5″S 153°03’18.5″E / -26.643745, 153.055134
Boat ramp, Muller Park, Muller Park Road, Bli Bli
Riverbank beside Dusty Rhodes Bridge, Petrie Creek Road, Diddilibah
Large car park
Open areas, tidal, some heavy traffic, shallow areas
Close your eyes and imagine that you are floating on a silky smooth ribbon of water surrounded by fields of green grass swaying gently in the warm breeze. This could easily be the start of a guided meditation, but the dream becomes a reality when you paddle on Petrie Creek. Counting paddle strokes will help to relieve your stress at the start of the day but serenity soon takes over.
The beach adjacent to the boat ramp in Lions Park on Fishermans Road in Maroochydore is the first of three places where you can start this trip. This is shown as the Start/Finish point on the map. This area can be quite busy so make sure to be respectful of the rights of other water users. To get into Petrie Creek from here, go to the right from the launch site, turn left into the marked channel when you reach the Maroochy River, and then take the first left.
Look to the north while you are on the river and you will see the steep slopes of Mount Coolum rising up out of what is otherwise a relatively flat landscape. Mount Coolum is a laccolith made from rhyolitic magma which was formed underground 26 million years ago and has since been exposed by the erosion of surrounding sedimentary rock.
The second access point is the boat ramp in Muller Park on Muller Park Road in Bli Bli (GPS: 26°37’27.9″S 153°02’46.6″E). This is on the eastern side of the Maroochy River. To get into Petrie Creek from here, go to the left from the ramp and then take the first right.
The third access point is the Petrie Creek shoreline at the southeast corner of Dusty Rhodes Bridge on Petrie Creek Road in Diddillibah (GPS: 26°38’06.4″S 153°02’03.8″E). There isn’t much room to park and there are no facilities but it does allow you to see more of Petrie Creek with less effort. However, it does allow for a return trip that is significantly shorter than one starting from either Lions Park or Muller Park.
Once inside Petrie Creek, the only time you have to make a navigation decision is when the entrance to Paynters Creek appears on the left. Keep to the right at this point to stay on Petrie Creek and continue on to Nambour.
Paddlers aren’t the only ones who enjoy the delights of Petrie Creek. Egrets, white-faced herons, black kites, and ospreys are also right at home here.
All of the waterways of this trip are tidal. Assuming that you launch from Lions Park or Muller Park, the best time to do so is 3 hours before high tide at Maroochy River – David Low Bridge as published on the WillyWeather website. If you get it right, the flow will always be on your side and you should be able to make it as far as the Nambour Rugby League Club grounds (see map) before you run out of water. The exposed riverbank is a lovely place to land for a mid-paddle break before heading back to where you started and completing what is a 28 kilometre round trip. If your need for inner calm isn’t that great, it is worth noting that a paddle from Dusty Rhodes Bridge to the historic cane train bridge (see map) and back is half that distance.
Bream, estuary cod, flathead, trevally, whiting
Waterfront Hotel, 2/46 David Low Way, Diddillibah, (07) 5458 2777
Riverside Caravan Park, 297 David Low Way, Bli Bli, (07) 5448 5207
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.Buddha