23 great paddle trails
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1770 has two permanent places on Queensland’s honour roll with the most northerly surf beach and the most southerly access to the Great Barrier Reef. It’s also a regular nominee for best sunset over the water and best mangrove paddling experience.
- Baffle Creek
- Smiths Crossing
- Bucca Weir
- Lake Monduran
Lake Monduran has loads of room for a spirited paddle, which is appropriate since this is Wild Scotchman country, it’s right next to Bundaberg Rum territory, and even the dam wall is named after a member of a famous whisky distilling dynasty.
- Cedars Crossing
- Theodolite Creek
- Burrum No. 1 Weir
The ‘Orange Capital of Queensland’ is the oldest town in the state and was once in contention to be the capital of everything, not just oranges. It’s also the place where the mysterious ompax spatuloides fish was discovered.
Mary, Mary, legendary, how does your water flow? Through tranquil stills, and bubbling spills, and pretty trees all in a row. Kandanga lies on an attractive section of the Mary River which is blessed with both lovely long scenic pools and smile-inducing gentle rapids.
- Traveston Crossing
Traveston Crossing only exists in its natural state because a community-based environmental campaign convinced the government not to allow a dam to be built here. The goodness that was achieved by pure people power makes this an incredibly heart-warming place to paddle.
- Lake Borumba
If anyone ever asks “What’s so great about paddling?”, take them to Lake Borumba. Densely forested hills rise up on all sides, wildlife put on regular show stopping performances, and every scene deserves a photograph.
Mitchell has done a tremendous job of turning itself into a top paddling destination on the edge of the outback. The weir makes it easy to find water, two free campgrounds make it easy to stay, and the thermal spa makes it easy to relax.
The sign in Surat says it is scenic, safe, and serene. Paddle up the Balonne River from Surat and you’ll find it to be all those things in spades. You might also come up with a few of your own glowing descriptions starting with ‘S’.
- Dogwood Creek
Discoverers of Dogwood determinedly defend this dazzling diamond and can be decidedly disposed to downplaying its desirability. Disregard the detractors. Delightful Dogwood is a definite drawcard of the Darling Downs.
- Cooby Creek Reservoir
Is it simply a coincidence that this paddle starts from LOVEday Cove in the DARLING Downs or is it just that everyone who goes to Cooby Creek Reservoir falls head over heels for this adorable little place?
The four bare necessities of life are water, shelter, food, and oxygen. On the arid plains of south west Queensland the first two cannot always be guaranteed, but little Eulo continues to survive thanks to the sanctuary of a shady waterhole on the Paroo River.
Cunnamulla lies on the eastern side of the Warrego River. Warrego is Aboriginal for “river of sand” and refers to the lack of water in it much of the time, but Cunnamulla means “long stretch of water” and that’s exactly what there is behind Allan Tannock Weir.
- St George
This town is named after the hero of the “St George and the Dragon” story. There are dragons here, but they aren’t the reason for the name. Major Thomas Mitchell came up with that when he crossed the Balonne River here on St George’s Day in 1846.
The Macintyre River at Goondiwindi has played a significant role in Queensland history, having been on the border with New South Wales since Queen Victoria gave the thumbs up for Queensland to become a self-governing colony way back in 1859.
- Lake Coolmunda
Coolmunda is a taste of the Mediterranean in the heart of the Darling Downs. A climate similar to southern Europe, and the waters of this inland “sea”, have nurtured the groves of the region, enabling it to proudly call itself the Olive Capital of Queensland.
- Lake Leslie
The Rose and Rodeo City of Warwick clearly enjoys alliteration, but it has missed a golden opportunity in the granite, grasstrees, and grebes of Lake Leslie. Distinctive white boulders, eye-catching flora, and busy birds are all stars of this remarkable reservoir.
- Glenlyon Dam
Glenlyon is a stunning sheet of blue silk trailed through rolling hills of shining silver-leaved stringybark and fluffy cypress pine. It is true that it was created by a dam, but it’s more Marilyn Monroe than Norma Jean, and deserves a much more glamorous name.