Beelbi Creek discharges its tanin stained water across the sands of Hervey Bay, Queensland

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

The tidal currents, storm waves and river discharges play with the sand creating a wonderful ripple board, across which the tanin-stained waters, discharging from Beelbi Creek paint a bold abstract painting.

Back in recent geological time, this was the mouth of the Burrum River, but since it was abandoned by the river, it merely drains the Melaleuca wetlands behind the sandy coastal barrier. Today, Beelbi Creek, discharges its clean fresh water stained by the tanin from the roots systems of the forests in the wallum wetlands, out into Hervey Bay.

Large amounts of silica sand have been and are carried north along the New South Wales and southern Queensland by the longshore drift. This movement of sand in the surf zone is generated by waves approaching the coast from the south-east, thus moving sand to the north as the waves break. The resulting stream of sand eventually arrives on the ocean beaches of Fraser Island. As it flows past the northern end of Fraser Island (Sandy Cape and Breaksea Spit) much of the sand then spills off the edge of the continental shelf. However, some of the sand is worked around into Hervey bay by storm waves and refracting waves, slowly being worked across the floor of the bay until it reaches the western shore, pictured here.

Here the sand and water, waves and tides, play artistic games.

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Comments (19)

Rol/Photo/Alsace on March 23, 2012

Très belle vue Ian

J'aime beaucoup


Amitiés, roland

Alexia73 on March 23, 2012

Impactante Ian, un placer disfrutar de tu increíble trabajo. LIKE and FAV Saludos desde Argentina. Ale.

Ian Stehbens on March 23, 2012

I am delighted, Ale with your response. You obviously appreciate this artistic creation of the river and the sea. It is stunning. Thank you very much for your praise.

Warmest regards from Brisbane,


Ian Stehbens on March 23, 2012

Merci beaucoup, Roland & Sandrine.

I am honoured by your awards. I just love photographing the coast from the air.

Warmest regards from Brisbane,


Maja Weidemueller on March 23, 2012

The ever changing face of mother earth ~ just amazing dear Ian ~ thank you for posting such beauty!

~~~ Maja ~~~

Ian Stehbens on March 23, 2012

Good evening, Maja. It is a very beautiful morning here, after some torrential rain this last week. What a wet summer we have had! But on a morning like this one, I wish I was flying again for the air is crystal clear. I can see details on the mountains 110kms away!

The beaches will be popular today, and the surf is excellent, but I would most enjoy being in a light plane photographing the changing surface of the earth.

Warmest regards..and I live in hope that one day I'll be off to see you arrive into Brisbane... maybe after September 2012.

~~~ Ian ~~~

Ian Stehbens on March 25, 2012

When flying low, the world below is amazingly beautiful. It is a real pleasure to be able to share some of the beauty with you, Mariano. Thanks for your appreciation

Warm regards,


bdeh on March 25, 2012

Beautiful picture, colours and patterns Ian. Greetings Berend

Ian Stehbens on March 27, 2012

Flying above the coast is pretty special, Berend. Thanks. Glad you have enjoyed this pic.


行者无路 on March 29, 2012

Very nice shot !!! Like

Thanks you for sharing !!!

Best greetings from China !行者无路

Ian Stehbens on March 29, 2012

Thank you very much 行者无路. It is a privilege to be able to share some of my favourite places with you. Especially as I have so much enjoyed my travels and visits to China.

Ian (in Sydney)

GasGasL€X on March 30, 2012

Fascinating aerial shot Ian..

©junebug on April 14, 2012

This is really a stunning shot, Ian! Thanks for the detailed explanations which are very interesting! The patterns created by water, waves and sand are simply amazing! Must be a wonderful experience to fly over this area! Best regards, Anne

Ian Stehbens on April 16, 2012

Thanks GasGas. It is easy to take interesting images when flying low above the coast, especially on sandy coasts.


Ian Stehbens on April 16, 2012

Greetings Anne. The experience is worth repeating again and again. For me it is a special treat to be spending time with my son, the pilot, and using the camera at the same time. And as a geographer, I love seeing what I see. This is a very significant area from geomorphologic and ecological perspectives.

Warmest regards,


ƤōƝƓ on April 17, 2012

You have added so many impressive landscape photos in the past few months, Ian. Been very busy lately.

YS + L

Ian Stehbens on April 18, 2012

Thanks for your appreciation and affirmation, as always, Ah-Pong. Busy-ness I also understand. I have had a few special opportunities lately, especially for some aerial photography which gives an entirely different view on the world.

Warm regards from Brisbane.


Toto Franchi on May 12, 2012

Natural art!!! Wonderful nature, surprises us daily with their fantastic whims!!! Of all your serie of aerial photographs this is the one I liked, has a special charm, like... and as always accompanied by an excellent information!!! Really a pleasure to walk your gallery Ian, I will return with a little more time!!!

Friendly greetings from the autumn Patagonia Argentina, Toto

Ian Stehbens on May 25, 2012

Dear Toto,

I sincerely appreciate your friendship, your love of the environment in which you live (and float) and your encouraging assessments of my gallery images. Thanks indeed.

The coasts of southern Queensland are very special because of the flow of sand, whilst further north it is the remarkable coral reefs that give the special appeal to those coastal landscapes.

A dry sunny winter may be ahead now that we have left behind a very wet summer!

Warmest regards,


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on March 22, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens