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 Kurwongbah, Sideling Creek
18 kilometres / 4.5 hours
Mick Hanfling Park, Torrens Road, Kurwongbah
GPS: 27°15’07.3″S 152°57’36.3″E / -27.252021, 152.960069
Large parking area
Open areas, reservoir, some heavy traffic, shallow areas
The entry point to Lake Kurwongbah’s paddling zone is a well-signposted grassy area inside Mick Hanfling Park which is open 7 days a week from 6am to 6pm. Water skiers and wakeboarders launch from the same park to access the slalom course directly in front of it. As a result, there are sometimes a lot of people around and car parking spaces can be scarce. Don’t let those things put you off. Serenity is waiting just around the corner.
Lake Kurwongbah was created when Sideling Creek was dammed in 1958. Some people still refer to the lake as Sideling Creek Dam. The names are interchangeable. As with any dam, the water level can vary considerably. However, there is usually more than enough here for a great paddle. The current Dam Level can be checked on the Seqwater website.
Start by paddling north-west from the launch site to the headland around 250 metres away. When you get there, hook around the point and then circumnavigate the lake in an anti-clockwise direction, sticking close to the edge.
The trip described here is 18 kilometres in length. If that is too far for you, the distance can be reduced by not venturing into some of the inlets. For a better idea of the zone that has been allocated to paddlers, download the Recreation Guide from the Seqwater website.
The fringes of the lake are decorated with native water snowflake water lilies and exotic blue water lilies. The scene is stunningly beautiful when both are in flower.
Amazing comb-crested jacanas, also known as lily trotters, are regularly seen among the lilies. They have a white face and belly, a black chest and crown, brown wings, and an eye-catching red comb on top of their head. They also have extremely long toes that make it possible for them to walk on the lily pads. The males look after the babies and if there is any sign of danger, they pick the chicks up with their wings and carry them to a safe place. Other birds that could catch your eye include Australasian darters, little black cormorants, little pied cormorants, Pacific black ducks, sacred kingfishers, pelicans, black swans, Australian pelicans, black-winged stilts, and Eurasian coots.
A large Lakeside Park sign overlooks the north-eastern corner of Lake Kurwongbah. This belongs to a motor racing circuit that has hosted many prestigious races including Australian touring car rounds and the Australian Superbike Championship. On race days the roar of the engines is hard to miss.
Sideling Creek enters the lake from the north. Its entrance is hidden among the lily pads and locating it isn’t easy but it is a highlight of this paddle so it is worth finding. The path is narrow and winding and there is the promise of a new surprise around every bend. Quiet paddlers are likely to be treated to sightings of turtles and eastern water dragons. You will also discover the remains of an old wooden bridge. The area beyond the bridge is a restricted zone so this is where you have to turn around and head back to the main body of the lake.
The various inlets that run off the western arm at the southern end of Lake Kurwongbah are lovely and sheltered. The glassy water offers picture-perfect reflections of water lilies and wading birds. This area is the primary destination of paddlers who do not feel inclined to take on a full lap of the lake and it deserves to be explored by everyone.
Bass, golden perch, Mary River cod, saratoga, snub-nosed gar
Petrie Hotel, Cnr River Street & Dayboro Road, Petrie, (07) 3285 2201
Scarborough Holiday Village, 2 Reef Point Esplanade, Scarborough, (07) 3203 8864
Nothing is yours. It is to use. It is to share. If you will not share it, you cannot use it.Ursula K. Le Guin