29 great paddle trails
Finding a great place to go kayaking, canoeing, or stand up paddleboarding in the Southern Regions 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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. 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’.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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
- Chinchilla Weir
- 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.
- 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?
- Yarramalong Weir
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”, has 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, grass trees, and grebes of Lake Leslie. Distinctive white boulders, eye-catching flora, and busy birds are all stars of this remarkable reservoir.
- 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.
- 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.