42 great paddle trails
Finding a great place to go kayaking, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding in the Southern 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.
- Seventeen Seventy
Seventeen Seventy 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 Islands
No matter what floats your boat or when you visit, the things you will remember most about Baffle Creek are bound to include crystal clear water, magnificent mangroves, fantastic fishing, and enchanting encounters with sea turtles, dolphins, and waterbirds. This is an amazing place.
- Smiths Crossing
Smiths Crossing is the best place to get onto the Kolan River between Bucca Weir and the Kolan Barrage. It is a ghost crossing, not an actual crossing, but that only adds to the intrigue of this place where jacanas, dragons, and turtles play in the shadows of magnificent Queensland blue gums.
- Bucca Weir
Bucca Weir is well known as a venue for rowing races in which people move very quickly in a backward direction. However, there is a lot to be said for paddling slowly in a forward direction instead. It is a much better way to see all of the remarkable plants and animals that live here.
- 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.
- Wuruma Reservoir
The indigenous people of the Wide Bay & Burnett region have long known that the early bird gets the worm, but you need the patience of wuruma to get the fish. Wuruma is what they call the Brahminy kite, and it’s a great name for a place where nobody ever has to hurry.
- Cedars Crossing
There is a lot more to this seemingly quiet stretch of the Burnett River than you might think. It is home to a significant Gooreng Gooreng sacred site, the intriguing remains of a cane train bridge, the regionally important Don Beattie Pump Station, and lungfish and turtles galore.
- Mingo Crossing
Mingo Crossing has a permanent place in the hearts and minds of everyone who visits, thanks mainly to its peaceful setting, the wonderful access it offers to the backwaters of Lake Paradise, and the convenience of a highly-rated caravan and recreation park at the water’s edge.
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.
The upper Burnett River is not always easy to enter and explore, but the stretch of water upstream from Mundubbera is a wonderful exception. The town’s Jones Weir holds back a stunning pool that stretches 12 kilometres upstream to where the Boyne and Auburn Rivers flow in.
- Theodolite Creek
The first time you draw back the casuarina curtain to gaze upon the pure white sands and aqua blue waters of Theodolite Creek, you might feel like picking up a tall glass with a little umbrella on top more than you feel like picking up a paddle. Don’t worry. That feeling never lasts too long.
- Burrum Weir No. 1
The scenery is beautiful and the access is fairly straightforward, but Burrum Weir No. 1 at Howard is a well-kept secret you are unlikely to find without the aid of local knowledge. You could try to loosen a few lips by shouting a round at Howard’s Grand Hotel but it is simpler to get the good oil from us.
- Lake Lenthall
- Lake Boondooma
Six white boondoomas, snow white boondoomas. Lake Boondooma got its name because a large number of boondoomas live here. To be fair, they are more often grey rather than white but they are the only things that are likely to be grey about your paddle at vibrant Lake Boondooma.
- Lake Barambah
Lake Barambah is also known as Bjelke-Petersen Dam or BP for short. You might prefer to call it Barry, Bazza, or simply Baz. Nobody gets a nickname unless somebody loves them, and everybody loves Lake Barambah. This sparkling jewell of the South Burnett region is impossible to resist.
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 exists in its natural state only 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. This place is simply extraordinary. 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. Somebody with your singular skills with the spoken word is sure to summon up several supplementary spot-on summarisations that start with ‘S’.
The four bare necessities of life are water, shelter, food, and oxygen. On the arid plains of southwest 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.
Every waterway wishes their trees gave them as much loving attention as the river red gums at Bollon give Wallam Creek. Sheltered and shaded all day long, it is one lucky stream. The Bollonites are happy to share it with you too. Their little town radiates warm Queensland hospitality.
- 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 Balonne Minor River at Dirranbandi is a beautiful, tranquil paddling destination that should be on everybody’s bucket list. The town’s boat ramp offers easy access to the water, the weir ensures there is usually plenty of water for a paddle, and the riverine wildlife is remarkable.
- Dogwood Creek
Discoverers of Dogwood Creek determinedly defend this dazzling diamond and can be decidedly disposed to downplaying its desirability. Disregard the dastardly and deceitful denigrators. Delightful Dogwood is a definite drawcard of the Darling Downs.
- Warra Weir
It is hard to argue that people who need people are the luckiest people in the world but it is also hard to deny that there are times when the luckiest people are the ones where other people aren’t. If one of those times is now, don’t get weary, get “weiry”, at Warra.
- Archers Crossing
For many years, Archers Crossing was well-known as the safest place to traverse the Condamine River at Chinchilla. It was named after the Archer family of Chinchilla Station but scar trees in the adjacent forest reveal that the Barunggum people were canoeing here a long time before then.
- Chinchilla Weir
There are weirs and then there is Chinchilla Weir. Its collection of island loops and divergent channels ensures that there is always much more to this remarkable place than you could ever imagine from the shore. Only a melonhead would pass up an opportunity to go paddling here.
- Caliguel Lagoon
Hola! Bienvenidos a la laguna Caliguel. The Australian lagoon with the Spanish name is nine bull runs south of the town of Condamine. There aren’t any red carnations to put in your flamenco dancer’s hair but there are many other flowers to choose from and it is a great place to have a siesta.
- Bowenville Reserve
Bowenville Reserve should be renamed Wowenville Reserve. A shady picnic area, free waterfront campground, and lovely stretch of water for paddling, swimming, and fishing give this Oakey Creek oasis its wow factor and make it one of the Toowoomba Region’s top hidden gems.
- Lake Cooby
Paddling, fishing, birdwatching, bushwalking, family picnics, and nature therapy. There’s a lot to love about Lake Cooby. It’s not just a coincidence that this paddle starts from LOVEday Cove in the DARLING Downs. Everyone who comes here falls head over heels for this adorable little place.
- Yarramalong Weir
Yarramalong Weir reserves a pool of Condamine River water in a quiet corner of the Toowoomba Region of Queensland for irrigation, urban, and recreational purposes. Its peaceful free campground and convenient boat ramp make it a place where you will be happy to while away a few days.
- Talgai Weir
Talgai Weir is the least well-known of all the great paddling destinations in the Southern Downs region of Queensland. However, it is unlikely to stay that way for long because, when it comes to shelter, ambiance, seclusion, and wildlife encounters, it is arguably the best.
Warwick’s main claims to fame might be its roses and rodeos, but no trip to Warwick is complete without a visit to the Condamine River and no visit to the Condamine River is complete until you have floated your cares away on the Warwick paddle trail.
- Lake Leslie
The Rose and Rodeo City of Warwick clearly enjoys a bit of alliteration, but it has missed a golden opportunity in the granite, grass trees, and grebes of Lake Leslie. Distinctive white boulders, eye-catching vegetation, and busy birds are all striking stars of the Kakadu of the Southern Downs.
- Connolly Dam
Connolly Dam is for people who paddle slowly. The ones who can watch a bird until it forgets they are there. The ones who barely make a sound and often aren’t moving at all. At Connolly Dam, people are never in a hurry because they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
- Storm King Dam
You would feel cheated if you didn’t see any granite while you were in the Granite Belt and Storm King Dam doesn’t disappoint in that department. However, this beautiful place has so much more to offer. Bountiful birdlife, fantastic fishing, and amazing wineries are just the beginning.
- 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”, has nurtured the groves of the region, enabling it to proudly call itself the Olive Capital of Queensland.
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.
- 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 it deserves a much more glamorous name.