Friday 20 April: Paddling the Mary River

Author: Mrs A

Location: Kenilworth, Queensland

Friday morning dawned bright and sunny, so Mr A, Phil, Greg and I drove up into Kenilworth to find somewhere upstream to drop our kayaks and Packrafts in. After a little hunting around plus Googling someone else’s kayaking blog we found a park beside the show ground with water access and off we went.Greg had only paddled a Canadian canoe in the past, so the sit on top kayak was a new experience for him, but he did really well. We took our time, enjoying the scenery and birds, mostly letting the current guide us down the gravel races (we prefer to call them rapids!)Rainbow bee eaters, cormorants, black kites, red backed wrens…the list of birdlife was endless and made the paddle even more interesting.The Mary River and its surrounding valley was saved from being flooded for a reservoir by the discovery of an extremely rare fish. The Australian Lungfish is only naturally present in this river and one other in Australia. Lungfish fossils were found in New South Wales which date back 100 million years, virtually unchanged, making this creature a living fossil and really important ecologically.

The river is also the only known home of a turtle which breathes through its tail – one of the top 25 most endangered turtles in the world! A very special place indeed.We had a great hour or so paddling downstream 4.5km, finishing up at our camp for showers. Greg then dropped us back at our car and Mr A and I drove to the Kenilworth Hotel (pub). As we walked in we discovered the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Festival was on in town with the pub hosting some of the performances. It’s funny how you can spot a ukulele player – rainbow coloured tie died outfits and funny crocheted hats! Some performances were better than others, but we avoided the stage and found a table inside.

It wasn’t long before Andrew Pitcher, one of Mr A’s old work colleagues (his boss from SAP) arrived to meet us. The first thing he said to me was ‘You’re much shorter than I remember!’. Hah! Must be that last time we met I was in heels after work – that feels like a lifetime ago. We had a lovely catch up, learning all about his life as a developer around these parts.After a great feed, Mr A and I farewelled Andrew and headed back to camp to catch up with the next batch of Zoners who had arrived.

The fire was lit and out came the wine of course for an evening of getting to know one another and learning about the adventures people had enjoyed.

3 Replies to “Friday 20 April: Paddling the Mary River”

  1. We would love to use your blog as a link (to people’s stories on paddling the Mary) on our new Mary Valley Tourism website.

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