Suncoast Seniors Recreational Kayaking Club Inc.

SSRKC is a Seniors Kayaking Club based on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

We are a group of over 50’s who share a common interest in kayaking. We operate around the diverse waterways of the Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia. Our aim is to stay physically fit, enjoy the company of other like minded kayakers and create a safe paddling environment..


Report : Rob Woolastom

After being cooped up all of last week with incessant rain, club members were relieved on Monday to be out on the water again at last. 

Led by Chris R with Jim B as tail-end Charlie, 17 paddlers set out from Caloundra Power Boat Club right on high tide for a leisurely 60 minute journey to Lighthouse Reach.  As is his wont, Jim B thought it was all a bit too easy so decided to take on a circumnavigation of Egg Island on the way back.  For that part, he was joined by Bob W, Paul W and myself; while Jim C took over tail-end Charlie duties for the return journey of the main group. 

I was warned that the back channel around the island was a little narrow in places, which turned out to be some under-statement!  The mangroves were so thick that our paddles were pretty much useless, and progress could only be made by pulling ourselves from branch to branch, stopping frequently to unsnag our clothing. (Memo to self – next time I decide to follow Jim B on an extra-curricular expedition, stow a machete!).  Bob W proved master of the conditions and by the time we all got through the passage, he was well out of sight on his way downstream.  Helped by the tide, the rest of us arrived back about 10 minutes after the main group to partake in the culinary delights of the Biggest Morning Tea.

Thanks to Barrie J for arranging a thoroughly enjoyable morning.


Report & Photos: Ken Jeffreys

Charlie doesn’t paddle any more, but he’s still very much a member of our club. He turned up at Muller Park to say g’day to old mates and waved them off on their 20km Thursday paddle. Bob Whiting was made leader for the day – a great birthday present and he demonstrated he knows his way around the creeks. Coordinated by Jim C with George providing tail end charlie services, 14 boats set off on the 21km paddle.



Report: Jeff Head, Photos: Paul Watt

Eleven paddlers enjoyed an approximate 15km paddle return trip upstream of Coochin Creek boat ramp. Periods of sunshine and drizzle with a light breeze provided the backdrop for a relaxed, but extremely beautiful Wednesday paddle.
High tide and fresh water inflows from recent rains allowed group to paddle further upstream than on previous trips.
Leslie kept group educated about bird life while Marion and Kath practiced edging skills. Bruce impressed all with his sprint paddle skills on return leg.


Report & Photos: Paul Watt

We 3 Amigos, Bob David H and I set out at 8am without a plan because we could. We headed over to the leeward eastern bank and enjoyed glassy conditions. In no time we were already at the bird hide so headed left around to Six Mile Ck bridge, noticing debris a meter or more above us in branches, probably as a result of heavy rains back in February. Then we headed around to the other creek and were able to get nearly to Cooroy Rd, before exploring a bit in the side creek on way back to lake. We were joined by various types of  herons, some Jacanas, magpie geese, an osprey and water monitors jumping noisily into the water as we approached. There was squally rain, sun , cloud, calm and wind chop … all an enjoyable outing .


April 2022

Report: Margaret Heap

Co-ordinator: Ken Jeffreys.  Images: Paul Watt, Dean Haspell, Ken Jeffreys & others

22 paddlers and 3 ground support personnel, set out from Southern Queensland, planning to arrive in Bourke by 30th March 2022. The plan was for last minute preparations and to take 2 kayak trailers to Louth on Thursday 31st March before the commencement of the 216.43 km paddle down the Darling River on 1st April 2022.

Some keen paddlers arrived a couple of days early which was fortunate for them as those who travelled on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th, were inconvenienced by road closures and flooding caused by heavy rain. Paul, our chief-on-ground support, was hoping to be the first to Bourke, travelling via St George.  However, the flooding resulted in him having a 300km detour – not a happy man.

President Bruce almost had a long delay as he forgot to ‘fuel up’.  A quick u-turn and he arrived back in Walgett on an empty fuel tank!

Arriving at Kidman Campgrounds, 8 km outside of Bourke, the first group activity was a trip on the paddle boat “Jandra’. They were fortunate to be able to do this, with the river rising from recent heavy rains in Queensland, it was the ‘Jandra’s’ last trip for a while.

The pre-paddle briefing on Thursday evening covered aspects of and safety tips, when paddling in rising, faster flowing rivers. As a result, a few paddlers had a restless sleep that night, worried about the river.

On Friday 1st April, 23 nervous paddlers entered the water at Kidman’s Camp. We quickly learned how to form ‘a holding pattern’ facing upstream and paddling against the current, while waiting for all kayakers to be on the water. The ground crew, Paul, Margaret P and Terry waved us off and then quickly went to the “Port of Bourke” to see us paddle by and take a great photo to mark the beginning of the paddle.








The first planned obstacle on the trip was to be the Bourke Weir, 8 kms south of Kidman’s Camp, where we believed, before the paddle, that portage would be required. The good news was that because of the rising river, the water was 2 meters over the weir and only a small amount of water turbulence was noticed.

There commenced our daily routine. On the water by 9.00 am, morning tea after about 1½ hours if a suitable spot could be found and then onto our next camp site.

Day 1 – Campsite, Jandra Station on ‘Emu Point’, so named because of the flock of emu seen there as we      arrived; 25.28 kms, 3:38 hrs, average speed 6.9kph.

Day 2 – Campsite, Anabranch just up from a weir.31.28 kms, 4:38 hrs, average speed 6.7kph.

Day 3 – Campsite, Toorale Station, 33.56 Km, 4:42 hrs, average speed 7.1 kph.

Day 4 – Campsite, Yanda campground, 8.63 kms, 1:21 hrs, 6.4 kph.

Day 5 – Campsite, Darling River Campground (Yapara), 33.56 kms, 4:42 hrs, 7.1 kph.

Day 6 – Much anticipated arrival at Rose Isle Station. 16.67 Km, 2:11hrs, 7.6 kmh

Day 7 – Lay Day at Rose Isle Station.

Day 8 – Campsite, Clover Creek. 21.89 Kms, 3:05 hrs, 7.1 kph.

Day 9 – Campsite El Dorado Station, 31.07 km, 4:10 hrs, 7.4 kph.

Day 10 – Campsite Louth. 9.49 kms, 1:12 hrs,

Day 11 – Back to Bourke by bus and kayaks were transported on the 2 trailers.

While the daily routine remained constant each day bought with it many memorable moments, experiences and awareness of individual personalities.

Camping accommodation was varied, from the hanging hammocks, to Chris and Umi’s ‘Taj Mahal”. Some slept with more comfort than other, with Dennis and Bruce having leaking airbeds!.  Paul was able to buy Dennis another in Bourke.

Relaxation each afternoon was Happy Hour and fantastic campfires after dinner, thanks to Jim Clancy.










It was noted that this was the first away camp where each of the executive was present; President Bruce Nicholson, Vice-President Ken Jeffreys, Secretary Lynn Albury, Treasurer Jim Blyth.  Worthy of note was the average age of the group at 71 years, with the youngest being 59 and the oldest, George Reeman at 81. Of the 22 paddlers, 8 were female (aged from 60 to 75) and 14 males.

Darling River Princesses


Darling River Princes

A special mention must be made of our ground support, Paul Watt, Margaret P and Terry. Paul spent many hours planning for the trip, contacting property owners for camping permission, Kidman’s Campground, organizing a bus to transport the paddlers back to Bourke from Louth. He now knows the road very well having travelled it several times providing assistance and support. It was pleasing to hear that they were able to complete some local sightseeing while waiting for the paddlers.  On the recommendation of the owners of Jandra Station, they travelled out to Gundabooka National Park to view impressive ‘Cave Art’. They were able to join the paddlers at Yanda Campsite, Rose Isle and Louth.








Many local folk in Bourke and Louth made us welcome and contributed to our experience. A special mention and thank-you must go out to Tracy Simmonds and family at Kidman’s Camp; Phillip and Di Ridge of Jandra Station for giving us permission to camp on their property; Samantha and Garry Mooring of Rose Isle who were fantastic hosts; Helen Parker of El Dorado Station who was most welcoming and visited our campsite with her grandson and Stu Johnson who provided us with a comprehensive commentary on the ‘Back-of-Bourke’, while on his bus at the end of our trip. The bus was competently driven by 77-year-old Ross.

Helen Parker and Grandson Wally

At the end of 6 days of paddling the group arrived at Rose Isle Station for 2 nights and a rest day. Here some paddlers took advantage of more comfortable beds in cabins, dongas and shearer’s quarters. Some also continued to camp. We were provided with a welcome break from dehydrated meals.  Samantha and Garry cooked up a BBQ on the first evening, followed by a lavish morning tea and a 3-course roast meal the next day. On the first morning there, we awoke to an amazing storm.  With only 8mm of rain the soil soon turned to slippery mud.


























A wander from the original homestead towards the unused sheering shed and shearer’s quarters, provided an insight to life on the sheep and cattle property. The shearing shed still had wool, wool bales and a wool  press.










On departure from Rose Isle Station, Vice-President Ken continued his exceptional support to fellow paddlers.











The greatest spectacular of the kayak trip was that of Mother Nature, from the river.

Very old trees lined the river banks.  These provided varied and amazing ‘sculptures’ to spike your imagination. The trunks with their shapes, faces and characters and the tangled root systems that seemed to be floating on air and just holding the tree upright.




















Each morning and evening provided spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Billabongs, Coolabah Trees and reflections to inspire artists and poets.

 Bird life in abundance eg Pelicans, Kites, Budgerigars, Emu, Fantails, Kookaburras, Major Mitchell Cockatoo and Willy Wagtail, to name a few.









Animals sighted included goats, sheep, a couple of snakes, kangaroos and pigs.

The Milky Way and Southern Cross very clear in the night sky, prompted some campers to ‘sleep under the stars’.

As well as appreciating the wonders of nature one could not be immersed in the experience without thinking about the history and challengers of the early settlers, the wool industry and of course the paddle steamers.

All good things must come to an end and with our arrival at the bridge in Louth, all were touched by a mixture of emotions, saddened to be finishing, jubilant to have completed the challenge and joyous for a long shower.

Crossing the finish line


Returning to Bourke



Ken played an integral role in the success of this adventure.  His planning, organization and leadership was exceptional, always carried out in a calm and cheerful manner. He, however, did not bring a spare key to his vehicle and on the last day at Louth his key broke! His spare key was delivered by a family friend.  This involved a 2,000 km round trip from Caloundra.






Travelling on the river was truly an amazing way to experience the natural beauty of this area. To be able to appreciate the inspirations of our poets and artists, past and present. So inspired was Henriette Cronje that she put pen-to-paper and is happy to share it here.

Ode to the Darling River

I lost my heart on the Darling Run
With aching muscles and a very sore bum

I lost my watch on the Darling Run
Sitting on my kayak in the baking sun

I lost my dignity on the Darling Run
Slip-‘sliding in the mud and swimming for fun

I lost my worries on the Darling Run
With all-consuming nature and skies nev‘r done

I learnt some lessons on the Darling Run
About reading the river and protection ’gainst the sun

I gained some mates on the Darling Run
At the end of the day when the paddling is done,
We sit around the fire, talk crap, drink wine or maybe some rum
But when all is said and all is done
on the marvellous Darling Run
Oh man, oh man did we have fun!


Report & Photos: Linsay Gadsby

Glorious morning for a paddle with 12 starters making their way to Bullcock Beach and return with a break at the northern side of the new passage entry (Paul was a little late for smoko due to assisting a kayak fisherman who for some unknown reason went for an unintentional swim) followed by a paddle up the canal through Pelican Waters for most before returning to our starting point. 


Report & Photos: Ken Jeffreys

The Monday Crew… up the Mooloolah River from the Outrigger Park.. ably lead by Robyn.


Report & photos: Ken Jeffreys

Check out the action shots from today’s Skills training session at Mooloolaba. Don’t be put off by Rob’s heroics – get down to the next session and feel the release of controlled adrenalin. Thanks again  Rob Plenderleith and Dean Haspell for passing on their skills.


Co-Ordinator & Report: Paul Watt.  Photos: Paul Watt, Linsay Gadsby.
Relive Videos: Richard (Sea Dog) Sharpe

As this is usually a popular paddling and camping destination some paddlers and partners were there as early as Monday for Wednesday and Thursday club paddles. Several others drove up on Wednesday for a day trip.
30 people attended happy hour( or 2 ).

Day1 Kingaham Creek  about 17.5 km.

A calm day with blue sky and a few clouds.
35 paddlers left at 8am in 2 groups ..the advance party of 21 and less advanced party of 14.
The former went as far as possible till stopped by fallen trees and enjoyed morning tea on a very rare landing due to high water and long grass after recent heavy rains.
We mere mortals in the other group stopped about 2kms short of them .
Both groups merged on return journey.


A very good a la carte Pub meal and drink was enjoyed by 24 at Imbil’s Raway Hotel. The final order as a group was placed at 6pm and by 6:35 all were tucking into their dinner .

Day 2 Yabba and Borumba Creeks about 22kms.

A carbon copy day greeted 21 paddlers for Ladies’ Day with Marg H as trip leader and Marion H as debutante tail end Charlene.
Today we stayed as one group till latter part of return trip where 12 veered off to the right for Borumba Creek.
A few went as far as navigable till fallen trees again stopped them.
There was robust discussion instigated by Ken J  at morning tea , about the upcoming Darling R outback adventure paddle camp.
A few took the time to follow the eastern shoreline back and enjoy a swim at the ramp.


All in all a very enjoyable camp once again.


Sunset on the Sandy Straights