Lake Cootharaba, Queensland, Australia

Lake Locations:

Australia - Queensland -

International visitors to Queensland’s famous Sunrise Coast usually don’t suspect an entirely different kind of watery delight awaits at Lake Cootharaba. Less than two miles from the beaches of the Pacific, Lake Cootharaba inhabits a completely different kind of environment, one that has been drawing regular visitors for over 100 years. Cootharaba is one of the tidal lakes along the Noosa River that drain the interior swamps. The Noosa River is navigable from the City of Noosa to the lake, creating an ideal destination for inland floating and boating. The nearly 9400-acre lake is a noted location for regattas and sailboat racing.

The only town of any size along Lake Cootharaba is the resort town of Boreen Point. Perched on a rise above the lake, Boreen Point is home to artists, craftsmen and tourist-related businesses. Eight miles upriver from the coastal city of Noosa, a trip to Lake Cootharaba is an easy weekend jaunt for locals. The average depth of the lake is only about four feet, and young children can frolic in relative safety for hundreds of yards from shore in only a foot or so of water. Kinaba Island on the north end has several prime swimming spots, as does the area around Elanda Point. Two public beaches are located near Boreen Point, and the municipal campground is unusually busy on weekends as a respite from the city. As Lake Cootharaba is only two hours from Brisbane, many Queensland Aussies consider it the local picnic destination.

Boats, pedal boats, canoes, kayaks, catamarans and jet skis can be rented at Boreen Point. Water-skiing is allowed but not in the marked navigation lanes or other protected areas. A water taxi makes short work of the three-mile trip across the lake. Houseboats can be rented at Noosa for an upriver trip to Lake Cootharaba. The Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club has headquartered here for many years and welcomes visiting sailors. Sailboat racing occurs regularly, and the Club hosts several major regattas each year.

One of the most popular boating activities is to venture upstream at the north end of Lake Cootharaba into the Noosa Everglades. Its dark waters stained by tannin, the Noosa River meanders between stands of trees and open savannas holding a wealth of birds. The water in Lake Cootharaba is brackish due to the effects of ocean tides: here, the water is considerably less salty, making it a haven and breeding ground for many kinds of fish. For ecologists, the Noosa Everglade water trails are a source of endless discovery, with a huge variety of plants inhabiting the swampy areas. River explorers can venture here on their own or sign up for one of the adventure eco-tours from the Elanda Point Education Centre & Adventure Park, not far from Boreen Point. Elanda Point also has a campground, rents boats and provides a number of educational programs focused on the unique ecology of the area. Other canoe rentals in the area also offer guided canoeing expeditions.

Canoe campers can reserve isolated campsites in the Noosa Everglades, a part of the 370,658-acre Noosa Biosphere Reserve. The Noosa is the only river in Australia with its entire upper watershed protected as a National Park. The southern portion of the Great Sandy National Park encompasses the north, east and south shores of Lake Cootharaba. Many trails cross the varied terrain, with a foot path leading east to the Pacific beach. Stretches of walking paths extend around much of the lake, with side spurs available to walk to Mount Seawah and enjoy the full-circle view of the South Pacific, Lake Cootharaba and everything in between. A trail leading from Campsite 3 on the upper Noosa River meanders four miles through the forest to the scenic Cooloola Sandpatch with its acres of spectacular shifting sands. There are tracks for ATVs, mountain biking trails and a wealth of wildlife in the park, including curious kangaroos.

Fishing isn’t a large draw to Lake Cootharaba; the water is somewhat salty and the shallow, sandy-bottomed lake has little habitat structure to accommodate most fish. Catfish can be caught and an occasional wayward sea dweller such as a ray. The creek inlets, however, produce some nice bream. The Noosa River upstream is usually where most knowledgeable anglers head; it was previously home to a number of fishing shanties. A launch site is located at Boreen Point, and most boat rental establishments are set up for launching. Because the lake is near the coast and larger Noosa River, several good golf courses are within an hour’s drive. So, if fishing isn’t on the agenda, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy.

Lucky holiday-goers can sometimes rent a bungalow at Boreen Point from a private owner. The town also has motels and a historic hotel with dining room that is perfect for lunch. Several cafes and numerous shops line the lakefront streets. A few resort hotels offer spa facilities. Immediately downstream, tourist lodgings are available, with bed and breakfasts, guest cottages, motels, guest stays and caravan parks giving way to major hotels and resorts along the Pacific beaches. At Noosa, visitors can arrange for deep sea fishing, scuba diving, and a variety of cruises and guided tours into the Outback. With all of this going on, why would you choose any other Queensland vacation? So, grab the kids’ sand pails and head to Lake Cootharaba.

Things to do at Lake Cootharaba

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish species found at Lake Cootharaba

  • Catfish

Lake Cootharaba Photo Gallery

Lake Cootharaba Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Saltwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 9,390 acres

Shoreline Length: 28 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 7 feet

Average Depth: 4 feet

Drainage Area: 367 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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