15 great paddle trails
Finding a great place to go kayaking, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding in the Central Regions of Queensland is easy when you are a Global Paddler member. All you need to do is pick a number on our trip locator map and click or tap on the trail name with the same number in the list below. Global Paddler memberships are available from our online store.
Each Global Paddler guide includes a map, colour photographs, logistical details, a route description, local points of interest, quirky facts, and recommended places to eat, drink, and stay the night so that every day you spend on the water is fantastic.
- Lake Proserpine
It is easy to see that Lake Proserpine is a brilliant opportunity for some open water paddling. Less obvious, but maybe more enticing, is the natural history museum on the western side of the lake that contains thousands of woody skeletons.
Claim a waterfront site in the spacious Eungella Dam campground and leave the pressure of everyday life behind. The pace is nice and easy out here. It won’t take long for you to relax into your new role as the poster child for the Slow Movement.
Mirani is on the Pioneer River in the heart of sugar country west of Mackay. This portion of the Pioneer is popular with platypus. If you proceed perspicaciously and keep your peepers peeled, you’ll probably paddle past a few today.
- Teemburra Dam
Ask any sweet tooth what they love about sugary snacks and desserts and the look of love in their eyes will tell you more than any words can. This champion of the water supply scheme that irrigates the sugar capital of Australia is their unsung hero.
Muttaburra isn’t a designated stop on Australia’s Dinosaur Trail but it should be. This is where the fossilised remains of a Muttaburrasaurus were first discovered. Dress up as your favourite Flintstones character and go for a paddle through prehistory.
- Lake Dunn
Lake Dunn is a wonderful paddling opportunity hidden away in desert country 68 kilometres northeast of Aramac. This amazing oasis is fringed by river red gum and coolibah trees and frequented by countless native birds and animals.
The largest town in central Queensland might have more saddle stories than paddle stories, and be better known for launching planes than boats, but its position on a “long reach” of the Thomson River makes it a great place to go outback paddling.
Isisford sits peacefully by the Barcoo River in Queensland’s Central West. This remote town started life on the wild frontier and nothing much has changed. The feeling of isolation that Banjo Paterson described vividly in ‘A Bush Christening’ is still here today.
- Lake Theresa
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. Goldilocks loved to paddle. One day she came upon a beautiful lake near Clermont in the Central Highlands of Queensland that was not too big and not too small. It was just right.
- Lake Maraboon
Maraboon is said to be the fourth most expansive lake in Queensland, but two of the bigger ones are ephemeral and the other is a known haunt of estuarine crocodiles, so this is in fact the largest body of reliably paddle-able croc-free water in the state.
- Lake Nuga Nuga
If you squint like Clint through the haze of the hot Australian sun, the angled frames of tree trunks standing in Nuga Nuga evoke Wild West images of cacti on a plain. It’s the perfect venue for a battle between the Rolleston Cowboys and the Injune Indians.
- Lake Awoonga
If Lake Awoonga were an opera it would be Aida. If it were a movie it would be Ben Hur. The big, bold, dramatic opening scene casts a spell that keeps you wide-eyed, open-mouthed, and captivated to the very end.
- Callide Reservoir
As well as being a proud symbol of the industries that sustain the Banana Shire, the power station that watches over this trip is the reason the water storage was created. The wildlife is thankful and you will be too.
- Lake Cania
Sparkling Lake Cania reclines elegantly in a lovely callistemon fringed dress of native grass and eucalypt woodland accessorised with a gorgeous shawl of dry rainforest and topped with a crown of stunning 70 metre high sandstone cliffs.
Theodore’s tropical garden-themed town plan blends beautifully with its Dawson River environment. To see the waterway that undoubtedly influenced the town’s design, simply follow the flow of movement and style down the main street.