51 great paddle trails
Finding a great place to go kayaking, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding in the Southeast Coast region of Queensland is easy with Global Paddler. 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. The Global Paddler guide for your chosen paddle trail will then be displayed.
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.
- Upper Noosa River
To experience the breathtaking loveliness of a stunningly natural scene reflected in the dark eyes of a gorgeous slow-dancing beauty is to have truly discovered Nirvana. This heaven on earth is manna for Mother Nature’s faithful and reason for doubters to believe.
- Lake Cooroibah
The Noosa River between Noosaville and Lake Cooroibah is custom-made for spontaneous paddlers with a healthy sense of adventure. Secluded islands, narrow creeks, and expansive lakes ignite your curiosity and draw you in.
- Lake MacDonald
More like a collection of rivers than a lake, MacDonald’s winding ways are a kaleidoscope of fascinating places, delightful scenery, and charismatic characters. The ever-changing views mean you can check your attention span at the door and let “Mac” entertain you.
- Lake Weyba
To the uninitiated, this is a lovely paddle on a shallow saltwater lake just south of the Noosa River. For those in the know, it is so much more. The creeks that flow into Lake Weyba are blessed with some of the most dazzling scenes you’ll ever see.
- North Maroochy River
When a feature of the landscape is the subject of an Indigenous Dreamtime story, you know it is very special. After hearing a Gubbi Gubbi elder tell the Maroochy River’s dramatic creation story, it is impossible not to feel an enhanced connection with this wonderful place.
- Islands of Bli Bli
An island is like a gift-wrapped birthday present. You can see it but you don’t know what’s inside. The imagination runs wild conjuring up all manner of possibilities. Give in to temptation and unwrap the Islands of Bli Bli.
- Petrie Creek
Some people find that counting the beads on a mala helps them to experience inner calm. Others find it more helpful to count paddle strokes on wandering waterways. If the latter works better for you, then pleasurably peaceful Petrie Creek is unquestionably your kind of place.
- Mooloolah River
Before laying claim to having paddled everywhere, you first have to explore the attractive river that snakes inland from Mooloolaba. After all, Mooloolaba isn’t just mentioned in the classic Aussie song “I’ve been everywhere”. It’s in the first verse.
- Lake Baroon
The restful ripples of this lovely little lake can be found in a lush pocket of subtropical rainforest on the volcanically formed Blackall Range near Maleny in Queensland’s fabulous Sunshine Coast hinterland.
- Ewen Maddock Dam
Ewen Maddock Dam is a fantastic place for a family gathering in the great outdoors. In addition to being a brilliant place to paddle, it has a lovely sandy swimming area, a collection of mountain bike trails, a children’s playground, and BBQ facilities. You’d be mad not to make a day of it.
- Pumicestone Passage North
The many highlights of the northern Pumicestone Passage make it a brilliant place for a paddle. You can picnic on Bribie Island, visit a remarkable site of historical significance, and indulge in delightful post-paddle pampering in Caloundra, the southern holiday centre of the Sunshine Coast.
- Bells Creek
Many people know and love the holiday hotspot of Caloundra but far fewer are aware that it is home to a gorgeous sheltered paddler’s delight. Next time you visit Caloundra, make sure to bring a kayak, canoe, or SUP so you can be the next to discover the secret wonders of Bells Creek.
- Coochin Creek
Enchanting Coochin Creek links up with the Pumicestone Passage between Donnybrook and Caloundra. Its name is well known because of a popular campsite on its eastern bank but its true magic is only revealed to those who grab a paddle and go exploring.
- Pumicestone Passage South
Pumicestone Passage separates Bribie Island from the mainland 65 kilometres north of Brisbane. Its southern end is famous for fishing, wildlife, and fantastic views of the Glasshouse Mountains. It is also one of Queensland’s best places to go paddle camping.
The Caboolture River Weir holds back a lovely pool of fresh water that has been collected from as far away as Campbells Pocket on the D’Aguilar Range, 27 kilometres upstream. It is a sanctuary for fish, birds, and people who want to experience Caboolture in a way that only a paddler can.
Beachmere is the quintessential storybook setting for seaside holidays of wistful memories and hopeful dreams. It’s a laid-back town where you can wear swimmers all day long, and delight in the smell of the ocean air and the feeling of salt on your skin.
- Lake Somerset
Lake Somerset is a shimmering treasure of the Valley of the Lakes. Wrapped with an undulating patchwork quilt of pretty pastures and wild woodland, it’s a tantalising taste of a tree change and it is only one hour’s drive from the bright lights of Brisbane.
- Lake Wivenhoe
Lake Wivenhoe is well-known for stunning expansive vistas but to get a true appreciation of the wonders of this place, you need to immerse yourself in its finer details. Inquisitive explorers encounter kipping koalas, regal raptors, gargantuan grass trees, and a host of other delights.
- Wivenhoe Pocket
There are times in life when you simply need to relax and go with the flow. The Brisbane River at Wivenhoe Pocket is perfect for doing just that. It is, therefore, no surprise that it is a favourite paddling destination for anyone who has been lucky enough to experience it.
- Lake Manchester
Lake Manchester is the Shangri-La of Brisbane; a hidden earthly paradise that offers peaceful refuge to all intrepid souls who are willing and able to complete the difficult task of reaching its fabled shores. Take the challenge and reap the rewards of this wonderful reservoir.
- Lake Kurwongbah
Lake Kurwongbah is loved by rowers, water skiers, wakeboarders, and paddlers alike. In order to keep everybody happy, dedicated zones have been allocated to each activity. Thankfully, the zone allocated to paddlers is right around the perimeter because that is the best place to be.
- Lake Samsonvale
From August 1976 until November 2018, Lake Samsonvale was in the “look but don’t touch” category for the paddling public. Not anymore. The dream of floating on its waters has become a reality and a large section of this enticing body of water is now a paddler’s playground.
- North Pine River
The North Pine is the first river up the coast from Brisbane. The hoop pines from which it gets its name are all but gone, but a series of waterfront reserves and parks mean it has a great natural feel that will leave you pining for more.
- Tinchi Tamba Wetlands
The exotic-sounding and rhythmically delightful name Tinchi Tamba is surprisingly a simple combination of the indigenous words for mangrove and ibis. It is surprising because the hidden gem known as Tinchi Tamba promises, and delivers, so much more.
- Four Mile Creek
Four Mile Creek is an interactive gallery, with a tribute to the world of mangroves on permanent display. This beautifully arranged presentation of sculptural works can be found near the junction of the Pine Rivers in Brisbane’s north.
- Nundah Creek
Nundah Creek flows deep into the heart of the Boondall Wetlands. One could go on about the array of international agreements that exist to protect this biologically diverse place but all you need to know is… it’s all natural and all good.
- Enoggera Reservoir
Nature is a nurturing family to which we all belong. As with most families, long visits can be overwhelming but small doses are essential to our happiness and well-being. Enoggera Reservoir is the perfect place for fun family get-togethers. Take some time to reconnect.
- Karalee Bend
Karalee Bend is a flamboyant flourish of Mother Nature’s creativity. A sweeping turn in a steeply walled valley textured with towering gums and pretty bottlebrushes. It’s an impressive work of ‘land art’ on display now at the tidal limit of the Brisbane River.
- Oxley Creek
In 2016, Brisbane City Council identified Oxley Creek as an important recreational asset for the city and subsequently kicked off a $100 million project to turn it into a world-class lifestyle and leisure destination. This is already a special spot to paddle and things are only going to get better.
- Norman Creek
Norman Creek is remarkably alive with swirls of mullet and garfish and pleasantly surprising for its variety of birdlife. Throw in a flying fox colony, an ibis roost, and an idyllic avenue of mangroves in the upper reaches, and this inner-city paddle is well worth the effort.
- Bulimbah Creek
“Go out and play” my mum used to say. It seemed a simple request and I was glad to oblige, but there was wisdom in her words. Playfulness is a key ingredient of a happy existence. Life should be lived in playgrounds, and there’s a fun-filled one at Bulimba Creek.
- Lota Creek
Lota Creek is one of those places where you can see little signs that it has been much loved by locals for many years, but for some inexplicable reason, especially for somewhere so close to Brisbane, it has not yet received the widespread attention it deserves. Get in now and avoid the rush.
- Tingalpa Creek
The best way to find good places to go paddling is to ask a paddler. The best way to find awesome places to go paddling is to ask a whole canoe club. Ask the Wynnum Redlands Canoe Club and they’ll tell you Tingalpa Creek.
- Coochiemudlo Island
- Macleay Island
- Logan Reserve
- Albert River
You know that great feeling you get after watching an absolute gem of a movie you knew nothing about beforehand? That’s exactly what it’s like after your first exploration of the delightfully surprising Albert River.
- Cobby Cobby & Tabby Tabby
- Woogoompah Island
- Coomera River
The affluent urban areas that surround the Coomera River estuary are a testament to its magnetic appeal. Thankfully, no matter how much the marauding real estate developers want to own the river, they cannot have it. The Coomera belongs to Mother Nature and therefore to all of us.
- Coomera Island
It only takes one lap of beautiful mangrove-fringed Coomera Island to understand why this special place deserves to be under the guardianship of both the Southern Moreton Bay Islands National Park and the Moreton Bay Marine Park.
- Coombabah Lake
There’s more than one place on the Gold Coast to get wet and wild. The theme park is great for an adrenaline rush, but if you prefer gliding and dreaming to sliding and screaming, head to Coombabah Lake.
- Nerang River
This is a great chance to express your opinion about what’s hot and what’s not in the world of architectural design and landscaping. Scores of backyards are on display beside the Nerang River, and you can critique them all as you glide by.
- Advancetown Lake North
This giant fish pond in the Gold Coast hinterland is one of the least known but most aesthetically pleasing attractions of an area that has long had a reputation as being one of Australia’s premier tourism destinations. Launch onto the waters of Advancetown Lake and let the holiday begin.
- Advancetown Lake West
Watch Advancetown Lake gradually narrow and transform into the shape of the Nerang River as you paddle through poignant stranded forests and past an ancient volcanic plug on your way into the scenic Springbrook National Park.
- Tallebudgera Creek
The Gold Coast is famous for its glamour and non-stop partying but everyone needs to take a break sometime. When you can’t take the monkey suits, push-up bras, and uncomfortable shoes anymore and you simply want to relax and be yourself, Tallebudgera Creek is the place for you.
- Currumbin Creek
Paddling is on the whole a solitary sport, so chance meetings with kindred spirits inspire warm greetings and lively banter. Currumbin Creek is peppered with paddlers, so meetings are common and there is a genuine sense of community.
- Wyaralong Dam
When Wyaralong Dam was born in 2011, it was the first new paddling venue in southeast Queensland in 20 years. The human experience of a place is usually coloured by the cumulative stories of those who have been there before, but there isn’t a lot of that here. Wyaralong Dam is still your chance to be a pioneer.
- Lake Moogerah
The quiet rural countryside of Queensland’s Scenic Rim belies the turbulent nature of its creation. Moogerah is a derivative of an Aboriginal word meaning place of thunder, and the perfect name for a landscape born in a volcano and shaped by raging storms.
- Lake Maroon
Lake Maroon was created in 1974 when Burnett Creek was dammed to store water for the purposes of drinking and irrigation. A happy bonus of its utilitarian origins was the birth of a brilliant water sports venue with outstanding views of the stunning McPherson Range.