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..





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Report & photos: Paul Watt, Relive videos & Garmin Data: Richard Sharpe

Sun 29 May 31 members and partners made their way to Boondooma Dam caravan park, many enjoying the delights on offer at the Goomeri Bakery. Greetings, happy hour and briefing were up in the communal area by the office.

Mon 30 On an overcast and dead calm morning, 24 paddlers assembled down by the boat ramp for 8am launch. We headed over towards the dam wall and by the spillway, through the drowned forest and into the Boyne River. The dam was built across the river in the mid 80s to provide cooling water for the Tarong Power Station via an 83km pipeline. The dam was 107% full at the time of our camp, following extended rain and floods since February.

There was a flock of bull finches darting around us between shrubs and 2 beautiful Rufus Herons watched us from a long dead tree. A few of us ventured over towards the “infinity edge” of the spillway, and on the way back Jim C and Brian B beached their boats and climbed up the escarpment for some birds’ eye view of spillway.


We followed the western shore of the lake after leaving the river, with morning tea in and around a deserted  fisherman’s camp .

A few kms later, near the Balancing Rock 6 paddlers opted to return to camp.

The rest continued on and up around the right bend and into the headwaters. There were 2 more breakaway groups, while I waited for SeaDog’s hardy crew who did the full trip up into the NW corner. Max 28.7 km, Min 12 km travelled.

The happy hour and briefing were held down at the camp kitchen, with a beautiful sunset over the lake and a rainbow showing the way to Don’s pot of gold hidden in his Subaru. A chilly night down to 6 degrees was warmed by a few fire pits around the camps. 



 Relive the Boondooma dam Day 1 Paddle

Tue 31 We woke to a sunny day with chilly strong SW wind which would be on the nose in more ways than one. Overnight Diana G’s tent had been blown down around midnight and she had spent a very uncomfortable night in her small 3 door car, on a bed of tuna cans and clothing.


Only 15 paddlers headed off around the first bend along the eastern shore and into the full blast of an increasing head wind. After about 40 minutes, about half of us turned back near Kevin’s Korner and followed the shoreline closely in the lee, and headed across towards the northern shore with a nice tail wind for the sailors. We then continued around to camp by 11:15, to bask in the northern aspect sunshine for the afternoon. 


SeaDog again led a mob of 7 into the upper reaches of the Stuart River for morning tea , and once back out in the lake had a terrific sail home downwind . Jim L did this whole day without a sail, well done! Jim C ad Brian B were last back at 1:30 after diverting to pick up his smoko esky that had spent the night at yesterday’s fishermen’s camp . Max 26.5 km, min 18km travelled.


Happy hour again and fond farewells bid for Jim L, Jeff and Marion who were leaving in the morning.

Relive the Boondooma Dam day 2 Paddle

Wed 1 Transit day to Yallakool campground on Lake Barambah and Bjelke Petersen Dam. A cool sunny day with most travelers breaking the journey to restock at IGA and enjoy morning teas and bakery treats in Murgon in the sun. A few sought out the local wineries for tomorrow.


Bob W and David H had a paddle and play, with a brisk sail home behind dam wall. 

It was agreed launch point for next 2 days would be down on the shore below the bottom feeder paddlers’ unpowered sites of Horseshoe Bend. Kayaks were duly unloaded in readiness for the morn.  

While doing this I received a call from a very shaken and stirred Malcolm and Jenni R reporting that they had lost their kayaks and racks just east of Goomeri and needed help to get their boats to the camp. Chris R and Bob W took off and they all returned safely for happy hour. The new rack seemed to have malfunctioned, and they were so lucky there was no vehicle either behind them or approaching either. Both kayaks were damaged…no paddling this camp ! It’s a busy stretch of road frequented by quarry trucks and family vehicles commuting etc.

Happy hour and briefing in camp kitchen, followed by another chilly night. Along with the Rodleys, Garth and Marg P, Lesley E, Rob and Liz W and Lauren R had also joined the camp now. Dean and Deb H arrived late, joining us bottom dwellers by the campfire for yarns and drinks.


Thu 2 20 Paddlers headed off around past day picnic area and up the creek to the north, then out and along the western shore. Birdlife again was prolific all day, with kingfishers, white egrets, whistling kites and even a rare night Heron spotted on the high shoreline. 2 black cockatoos let 6 of us get to within a few metres of them, while one broke of thin branches and feasted on the many grubs therein.


The theme of this camp had morphed into one of 2 tribes, those chasing kms and the others enjoying the ambience and wildlife of this waterway looking its best for many years. Again after smoko we broke if into groups and on the return journey the breeze dropped and mirror reflections abounded. Max 22kms, min 14 kms travelled. David, Dean + Deb + Bob W left.

31 paddlers enjoyed the club dinner at the nearby Dusty Hill Winery and Irish Tavern. To celebrate his 82nd birthday tomorrow, the forever young and surprised George R was presented with a Sticky Date dessert, including a sparkler, and we sang Happy Birthday. Pres Bruce and Don said a few words and, of course, George responded with plaudits for our Club.

The Batches had stayed home with Abbie the labbie, who calmly watched them enjoy a lamb roast dinner, but she was rewarded with lamb shanks from some diners’ doggie bags.   Firepits again on our return.

Relive BP Dam day 1 paddle on

  Fri 3 Glassy cool conditions and 20 paddlers headed of along the eastern shoreline and inlets, passing last night’s venue. There were some heavily wooded little creeks and birds galore, and by contrast to yesterday’s mainly woodlands reserves, vast open pastures and lakefront homes.   


Following smoko, which included another birthday cake for George, expertly sliced back at camp by Jenn B and carefully transported in my boat, we again broke into groups. This time a strong NW came up, meaning a head on slog home. Max 22 kms, min 12 kms.

Relive Bjelke Petersen Day 2 paddle

Sea Dog had tried to rack up 100kms on this trip, and fell only a few kms short, well done.

A few of us left that arvo, the Roses earlier, while others stayed on for another night or two.

It had been a great camp. 

We had had to postpone it back in February due to flooding, and the fact that this same camp was run by Jim B back in September 2011, with only 7 paddlers, and now we had up to 2, shows the growth and popularity the Club now enjoys . 

Coincidentally that had been Richard’s first club camp, and we used his recorded logs for this one, which made it easier to plan. Thanks to you SeaDog and all participants for their help 😊

     My work here is done                         Boondooma spillway in drier times

      Boondooma combined paddle routes

Both dams on road map


Bjelke Petersen combined paddle routes


Report & photos: Linsay Gadsby

With a picture perfect but chilly Thursday morning five adventurous paddlers set of for Mudjimba Island and return paddle, with a light westerly assisting us for the trip to the island.

After almost circumnavigating the island we returned to the the NW side where Dean led us into a small rocky sheltered location (not without a little hesitation from the lesser experienced paddlers than Dean), everyone landed successfully.

Following an enjoyable break and stroll to a higher location on the island where the views back to the mainland were magnificent we were ready to head home. On boarding our kayaks again one by one we left our rocky departure point taking care to time the breaking waves so as to safely make it to open waters. Due to the light breeze now coming from the SW and virtually disappearing the paddle back to the spit was an easy steady paddle. Perfect morning and enjoyable paddle. Thanks Dean.


Report & photos: Ken Jeffreys

Wednesday’s paddle from the Power Boat Club up to Lighthouse reach on Pumicestone Passage…  At low tide, there wasn’t a lot of water and there was a bit of a risk of running aground. We say a feral pig on the island… a reminder that perhaps Bribie is not pristine after all. Check out the Sea Eagle circling overhead.


Report : Richard Sharpe, Photos: Dean Haspell, Relive video: Richard Sharpe

This paddle had everything. Fine weather, cool breezes and enough wind to keep the sailors happy.  Tide had turned as we left Tewantin boat ramp, but with the wind aft it was an easy trip to the mouth of Lake Corroibah.  Sails up for the paddle down to Corroibah creek and up to the navigable end.  Bruce and Richard then went to the end of a side arm and back to the open water for a reach down to smoko.  Water level was well up as we headed down to the Corroibah township park.  Heading home the wind kicked in with the sailors having a ball. Coming back up the river, we again went via the mangrove passage to shelter from the Southerlies.

A great day out and well done to Paul for changing the venue from Dunethin Rock.

RELIVE VIDEO: Click here


Report : Rob Woolaston

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.


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!

Sunset on the Sandy Straights