Days Out: Poona Lake

poonaby Margaret Missen, RB Over 60’s

Gatherings at local venues are always very popular with the Over 60’s crowd, and this month a picnic at Bymien Picnic grounds was well attended, as expected. The gravel road into Bymien was well graded, the picnic grounds has recently been revamped (thanks to QPWS!) and even the bush turkeys were there to greet us.

Several of our group enjoyed the opportunity to sit and chat after lunch, while some explored the Dandathu Circuit, a short walk of about 500m which, while not very strenuous, gives the walker the chance to enjoy the experience of a bush walk while others trekked to the lake.

We were all pleased to have the opportunity to check it all out and we were not disappointed. The day was beautiful, and the lake very inviting.  

If you are looking for somewhere to take your children, or indeed a visitor, in that part of the day when it’s too hot on the beach, Lake Poona is one of the top contenders here in Rainbow. A perched lake in the Cooloola Sandmass, it is nestled in the bush a moderately easy 2.2 k walk from Bymien Picnic ground.

After the 2.2 k walk the thought of a dip in this beautiful 12 hectares of fresh clean water set among quiet bushland becomes very enticing. The absence of changing sheds is compensated for by the thick bush all around.

The little sandy beach area varies depending on the depth of the lake which depends on recent rainfall. At the moment there is plenty of room for a couple of families to spread out, perhaps not as much as there was during the recent drought period, but is still adequate. The little sandy peninsular jutting out beyond the clump of old teatrees is presently just about exposed.

Don’t be deterred by the light brown tea colour of the water. This is the result of tannin leaching in from the melaleuca trees surrounding the lake, but does not in any way affect the water quality which is clean and always quite cool and very refreshing. The white sand usually extends quite a way out underfoot beneath the clear water before you become aware of the vegetation that forms the base and seals this perched lake.

You will have the water pretty much to yourself, because the only wild inhabitants of Lake Poona are very small numbers of small minnow and sometimes a few small fresh water tortoises. The lake is quite deep in the centre, and apparently at a depth of a couple of metres becomes almost pitch black. Reeds and sedges line the banks and If you are lucky you will be entertained by a family of small ducks, or perhaps some dab chicks.

To get to Bymien, drive 6.8k out of town on Rainbow Beach Road, to the Freshwater turnoff which is on the left hand side of the road on the way out. From the turnoff travel 3km along a gravel road which is accessible for 2wd vehicles . The Bymien carpark is on the right hand side of the road. Usually you are welcomed to Bymien by a couple of very large lace monitors, but at the moment they are probably hibernating.

After Bymien, the track to Freshwater is suitable for 4wd vehicles only. There are no facilities at the lake, so take advantage of those provided at Bymien before you set off. And don’t forget to carry your own water. There is no drinkable water at Bymien or Poona.

The first six hundred metres of the walk ambles through rainforest. Strangler figs abound along the track, at varying stages of devouring their host trees. A couple of stands of piccabeen palms have found a break in the canopy and are thriving and there are huge kauri pines aplenty. Also very intriguing is the variety of fungi on the fallen logs.

In most seasons you’ll hear the whip bird, and if you are lucky will see one of the pair of these ground dwellers that makes the whip call together. You might catch a glimpse of a blue wren, and are almost sure to hear a wampoo pigeon, one of several species that live in the area..

The second approximately 500 metres of the track climbs steadily to the top of the sand dune, still banked by rain forest. At the top the track takes a right turn, and then wanders down for the final kilometre through lighter scribbly gum forest and finally takes a surprise turn to the lakes shore.

If you wish to explore further, or are feeling energetic after your swim, the track branches east along the lake for a couple of kilometres where it continues south to continue along the Cooloola Great Walk, or east up over the dunes and then down six or seven kilometres to Freshwater Lake and campground. Check with the local Parks office for more information on that walk.


Rainbow Beach Over 60’s Upcoming Events

June 3
Morning coffee at the Surf Club 10.30

June 18
Mad Hatters Tea Party. Lunch, 11.30am at Colleen’s home. $10 per head. Ring Colleen 0400960726, Sandra and Keith 54863747, Lyn 042199358,5 a week In advance. Looking forward to the hat parade!

July 17
Barefoot bowls and Lunch at the Sports Club, Val and Noel 54863863, Nola and Neil 54868204

August 5
AGM and lunch at Surf Club

August 28
Morning Melodies – Maryborough Brolga

Visitors and new members are always welcome. Just ring any of the above phone numbers.


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