WHAT happens on the boat stays on the boat.
This was the biggest lesson learnt when seven keen but nautical novices cast off on a Noosa River adventure a few weeks ago.
Our vessel of choice was a spacious 12-person barbecue boat with a top speed of what I would describe as sedate, which was perfect for a first-time skipper like me.
After a rundown on the safety aspects, plus how to go forward and backwards and the no-go zones on the river, we were off.
The river is a popular spot for fishers, stand-up paddleboarders and boaties, and I navigated my way through them all leaving the paddleboarders rocking on the wake created by the boat.
There is no need for a marine licence for most of the barbecue boats, and the vessel was surprisingly easy to operate.
Other rules apply, including a 0.05% blood alcohol limit for the skipper who is also responsible for the safety of the passengers on board.
Suddenly, the river I had often admired from the shore became our marine playground.
On a windy day, we put-putted our way to one of the protected canals where we admired the huge homes of Noosa before we pulled up for a feed and swim.
Having a few oldies on board who were not afraid of a drink or two (we call their get-togethers Seniors Schoolies) meant the four-hour limit with the boat was enough time to enjoy the river before the crowd got too rowdy.
We did encounter one high-river hijinks but, like I said earlier, what happens on the boat stays on the boat. Main thing was we found out the vessel was pretty hardy.
Several hire boat options dot the Noosa River shoreline at Noosaville and a stroll alongside the waterline is the best way to compare the quotes.
The river walk is about a five-minute drive from Noosa Heads - search for Gympie Terrace on the sat nav and have fun negotiating what feels like a hundred roundabouts to get there.
And while on a walk, why not stop in for a cheeky beer or feed at the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club?
The family friendly establishment serves up good-size meals including burgers and tacos and, if there on Sundays, a band might even strike up a song guaranteed to get the party started.
Jagging a seat outside is key to enjoying the view of the wide river and homes on the other side. But if the yacht club does not appeal, there are many other restaurants to choose from and most have river views.
If on a tight budget, the river is also a perfect spot to pull up a pew for the day.
Try fishing for Noosa River flathead, or get in early and nab a barbecue that is set up along the shoreline. There are parks for children, public amenities and plenty of space for picnics.
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