Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park Master Plan
  • Last updated:
  • 26 Nov 2021

The Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park master plan proposes to guide the future use and management of this coastal area, balancing the needs of users and the environment, for all the community to enjoy.

Development of the master plan

The master plan seeks to consider the future of the project area up to 2041, with a focus on the next 10 years. It will include an analysis of the site, uses, opportunities and constraints, the community’s values and vision, and associated actions, priorities, and costs for implementation consideration.

The Plan will be developed over five project stages.

Stage 1 - Investigation and analysis

Includes analysis and collation of existing data associated with the site, undertaking new background studies as required.  A study gauging how the area is being used including finding out the number of prams, scooters, dogs, walkers, skateboarders, surfers and more, is underway. Find out more by visiting councils News Centre.

Stage 2 - Values and vision - Community and stakeholder engagement Phase 1

Stage 2 includes community and stakeholder engagement to understand the key values and future vision for the area. Everyone will have an opportunity to have their say through an on-line survey, pop up stalls, meetings and round table events. As part of this process, council is inviting Expression of Interest submissions between 12-26 October 2021, to be part of a Community Reference Group.

To find out more visit EOI page and complete the form.

Stage 3 - Development of the master plan

Based on community and stakeholder feedback, the design principles, concept master plan, and furniture and materials palette will be developed. The draft master plan will identify areas for protection, future uses, circulation, car and bike parking, and new infrastructure.

Stage 4 - Have we got it right - Community and stakeholder engagement Phase 2

Council will seek feedback through community and stakeholder engagement including an online survey, pop up stalls, meetings and round table events, to test and confirm that community aspirations have been captured and incorporated into the draft master plan.

Stage 5 - master plan

Community and Stakeholder feedback will be incorporated into a final master plan and alongside the values, vision and design principles, will guide development of the associated actions, priorities, and costs for implementation. The master plan will be presented to council for consideration.


The project locality plan[3575KB] indicates the project area.

Point Cartwright Reserve and La Balsa Park are much loved, having highly valued recreational, ecological, and cultural heritage characteristics. High cliffs in the coastal headland reserve provide spectacular views of Mooloolaba, the Mooloolah River mouth, Mount Coolum to the north and Kawana Beach to the south.

The Point Cartwright headland was a sacred place to First Nations peoples. It is understood that rock engravings existed of local flora down on the soft sandstone below the headland. The point has been a beacon to shipping since 1978 when the new 32 metre pentagonal lighthouse replaced use of the Caloundra Lighthouse.

La Balsa Park on the Mooloolah River is one of the most important protected lowland areas of the Sunshine Coast. A wide range of recreation facilities cater for the popularity of the park including three playgrounds, a fitness station, amenities, shelters, barbeque and picnic facilities, a wedding rotunda and boat ramp.

The park obtained its name from the famous 1970’s La Balsa expedition in which a raft made of balsa logs carrying four men and a cat travelled from Guayaquil, Ecuador to the Sunshine Coast.  The La Balsa expedition was to show that it was possible for contact to have occurred between pre-Columbian South American cultures and those of the Pacific region.

The reserve and park are regarded as some of the most beautiful environments on the Sunshine Coast. They offer people an opportunity to get away from the town centres and connect with nature and the ocean.


For more information, please contact council’s project officer at or on (07) 5475 7272.

Environment and Liveability Strategy

This is one of many projects council is delivering in-line with the Environment and Liveability Strategy, which provides long-term direction to guide growth and shape the future of our healthy, smart and creative region.