Coastal Pathway: Point Cartwright – Kawana

Followers of my instagram page know that I like me a good sunrise, but there’s something about seeing a sunrise from a lighthouse that feels like you’re really making an effort to see the sunrise, if you know what I mean.

It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for months – catch the sunrise from Point Cartwright. I’ve also been meaning to do the first leg of the Point Cartwright to Caloundra coastal pathway – just as far as Kawana, anyways. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try the breakfast at One on Balsa, so why not combine all three? Now that’s what I call multi-tasking.

Start and Finish…

We parked up near the lighthouse – mainly because the pathway starts at the Lighthouse, but also because it was still dark when we arrived. You could, however, park at Balsa Park and walk beside the river and then up to the Lighthouse – see this post for more information.

We waited for sunrise and then started walking.

Distance…

It’s just 3kms from the Lighthouse to Kawana Surf Club. From here you can keep walking – the path goes all the way to Caloundra. We turned around and retraced our steps for a total of 6kms.

The path…

The path is wide and paved the whole way – aside from some boardwalk near the lighthouse.

It’s fully accessible for prams and wheelchairs. The only obstacles are the early morning runners. Other than that, it’s a little up and down in a few places, but nothing steep. Besides, with this view, the steps just fade away.

Dog friendly?

On a leash, absolutely. There are also plenty of exits down to the beach, so check the signage at each if you intend letting el poocho off to run.

 

Toilets?

Yep, there are some at the Lighthouse, at Buddina Beach, and at Kawana near the Surf Club. There’s also a really well-equipped outdoor gym at the Surf Club.

Coffee and food?

I’m glad that you asked. We rewarded ourselves with breakfast at One on Balsa at Balsa Park. The outlook is fabulous – across the river to the yachts and the fisheries at Mooloolaba. This morning there was a group of intrepid over 60’s doing tai chi. You could almost touch the serenity.

But back to One on Balsa….

They have an extensive juice and smoothie menu, but we settled on a fresh orange juice and a restorative coffee.

As for breakfast, I chose the breakfast bruschetta – essentially an avo smash with bacon and fabulous tomatoes – and Miss 19 went for an acai bowl.

I have a theory that acai bowls were invented not for their super food status, but for instagram. These things are seriously pretty and it seems that half the cafes on the coast use them to hero their social media accounts. Anyways, Miss 19, who is a self-confessed expert on acai bowls, declared this a really good one. Apparently the difference was in the depth of banana, and the use of great rather than ordinary granola. Served in a bowl deeper than it looks in the pic, she said it was full of yummy surprises.

I’ll be back for some of the lunchtime salads – maybe when I do the next leg of the path…

Point Cartwright Headland

Most mornings – and at least a couple of afternoons a week – I walk around to the end of the rock wall at Mooloolaba. It’s a great walk – with one teeny weeny issue: you don’t really see the sunrise from here. Pt Cartwright is the place for that. I’ve heard it said that it’s the best place for the sunrise on the coast…I’ll test that theory some day.

It’s also the place for some incredible views. From up here you can see in all directions. Straight down the coast to Caloundra…

in the other direction, up the coast across to Mooloolaba and as far as Mt Coolum. That little lump on the horizon in the pic below is Mt Coolum.

Apparently this headland point is also a good spot to watch the whales as they migrate north (and south) each year. They’re due to come through over the next month as they head north to the Barrier Reef.

Of course there’s a lighthouse – which I didn’t take a picture of because it’s one of those modern lighthouses that really is nothing to look at.

The story of it is interesting though – if you’re into lighthouse history, that is. From the late 1800s, the Caloundra Lighthouse was the beacon that guided sailors safely down the coast. By the time they got to Caloundra, they knew that the port of Brisbane wasn’t that far away. The problem was that as Caloundra grew from a fishing town into a tourist town and high rises started to be built, the light from the Caloundra Lighthouse was competing with a lot of other lights for prominence. In 1978 a new lighthouse was built at Point Cartwright. An automated light, it’s never been manned.

Another thing to check out up here is the mural on the water reservoir.

It features the type of sea life that migrates through here – or that can be seen in the skies above and the waters below. From the rock wall at Mooloolaba it looks like a blue blob, but up close, it’s fabulous.

Getting there

We parked at La Balsa Park, Buddina, and walked around to the Headland, climbing the short track to the lighthouse. This path follows the Mooloolah River and looks across to fisheries at Mooloolaba and then the rock wall. In the shallows we watched an eagle (or was it a kite? I’ve never been great at the technicalities) washing himself, his partner flying back and forward to check on him.

From here you round the point to the Headland Beach. Again the views are fabulous, but it also feels as though you have the whole place to yourself – especially on a Friday afternoon in June.

From the beach you head through the pandanus, past the picnic area, to a fork in the path. One way is paved, the other is little bush track. Both lead you (after a short climb – about 100m or so) to the Lighthouse.

If you don’t feel like walking, there’s a carpark at the end of Pacific Boulevard.

Dog friendly?

Yes. Check out the signs for when (and where) you can have your pooch off the leash…and don’t forget to take a plastic bag with you to pick up after them.

Difficulty and accessibility?

Easy. This little walk is flat and paved the whole way – with exception of the last 100m or so to the Lighthouse – it’s paved, but not flat.

There are plenty of places to sit and check out the view – both along the path and up at the Lighthouse.