On the morning of leaving Rainbow Beach we made time to visit Poona lake, a quick drive away from where we were staying. This lake, like Brown Lake on Stradbroke Island, was a tannin stained lake, stained from the tea tree leaves growing around it. After a less successful trip at the last tea tree lake due to bad weather, we decided we had to give this phenomena another go! It was definitely worth it. Tea tree oil is acclaimed to have numerous benefits for your skin, including acne and skin infections such as fungi. Big companies like the Body shop sell this oil as product to thousands of customers every year, and so we obviously couldn’t miss the chance to go to the source and bathe in this reviving water for free!
It was a 30 minute walk among sub-tropical forest to reach this place, and we headed through dense jungle of palmtrees, figtrees and ferns. The fig trees scented the forest in places with slightly overrippened fruit that had fallen from the tree. I opened several of them to discover a myriad of ants and other invertebrates crawling inside of them. I was hoping to spot the larvae of the fig wasp, an interesting symbiotic relationship between the wasp and the fig fruit (read more on this link if you are interested!). Around were lots of climbers and epiphytes too, plants that live entirely above the ground, parasitising the larger trees. The forest gave such a deep sence of peace just walking through it, although it was far from peaceful! Invertebrates, like the cicadas, were making such intense noise that my ears were ringing at times from the loudness of it all. Heading down to the lake the landscape changed from wet rainforest to dryer eucalyptus and tee tree vegetation.
When we reached the lake we were greated by the sight of clear, orange waters, like we literally were staring at a huge cup of black tea. The lake sat open in the forest like an orange oasis. Usually when I hear the words “brown” and “lake” together I think of murky, muddy waters like back home in my lake (Kalandsvannet) but here in Australia it obviously has a completely different meaning, it was a special kind of beautiful. My favourite lake of all of Australia. We enjoyed swimming around in the lake which we almost pretty much had to ourselves and I forced my camera shy friends (haha, have you noticed?) on a group selfie! I can also report back and say that the water definitely felt like it was reviving my skin! I have had minimum acne this trip, and so who knows, maybe the tea tree water contributed to this (although the blazing sun and outdoor lifestyle in general during the trip was likely important factors to that too!).
After swimming in the lake for a while the weather decided to change, so we headed back through the beautiful forest to our car and drove back into the town of Rainbow Beach. There we had another ice cream (I know I knoww..) from the same shop as the day before, because it was so good and we needed to return back and try more flavours. This time round I opted for a fruity themed ice cream with forest berry and mangocream. We ate our ice creams in a nearby park whilst looking out on the sea and spotted colourful tropical birds. We then said goodbye to Rainbow Beach and headed towards Maryborough. The caravan site at Maryborough, a historical town with lots of pretty old houses, was much more well received than the last place, which had felt a bit run down and dirtier. This place had lovely showers, nice organised sites and a pool with excellent bbq facilitates. We were excited that we had finally hit crocodile territory when the receptionists warned us not to go down to the lake because of the crocs. We went there anyway (I promise we were careful) to see if we could spot any, but the river was almost dried up and they were nowhere to be seen on that day. The rest of the day we spent by the pool and had a barbecue, as the facilities looked so good (and Max could use his new barbecue set that he got from me for Christmas)!