Scenic spots to go kayaking in Queensland

From streams surrounded by mountains and rainforests to oceans skirting white sand islands, there’s no shortage of beautiful kayaking routes in the Sunshine State.

Whether you kayak to relax, to get fit, or to drop in a line, you’ll discover many fantastic destinations in Queensland. Here are some of the most picturesque and peaceful spots to go kayaking.

Mary River

The Mary River starts in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, passing through many beautiful country locations such as Kenilworth, Gympie and Maryborough before flowing into the sea near Fraser Island. The best kayaking is found downstream of Kenilworth, where the river meanders through green hills and thick forest. The water level can drop considerably if there hasn’t been much rain, so make sure to check recent rainfall around Gympie (the major catchment area) before heading there.

Southern Moreton Bay Islands

Launch your kayak from the boat ramp at Jacobs Well to explore the many beautiful islands located off the northern beaches of the Gold Coast. If you head due east from Jacobs Well, you’ll enjoy a peaceful paddle between Kangaroo Island and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands National Park. You could continue further east to reach South Stradbroke Island. Be aware the second half of this journey can be quite choppy, and you should attempt it just after high tide to avoid dragging your kayak over sandbanks.

Goldsborough Valley

A little over an hours’ drive south of Cairns, the Goldsborough Valley in Wooroonooran National Park is a picturesque area of lush lowland rainforest. Start your kayak adventure at the day-use area, launching into the broad, calm Mulgrave River. For a little extra adventure, start the journey further upstream near Pete’s Bridge.

Wild Cattle Island

Located south of Gladstone off the Central Queensland coast, Wild Cattle Island is an undeveloped, unspoiled area that’s well worth exploring. Start your journey in the township of Tannum Sands and follow the coastline south. You can head to the ocean side of the island and paddle along the white sand beaches lined with she-oaks. Alternatively, follow the mainland to explore dense mangroves teeming with birdlife.