Mary River - General Notes

The Mary River is the major river system in southern Queensland, rising in the Conondale Ranges of the Sunshine coast hinterlands,  and passing through Kenilworth, Gympie, Tiaro and Maryborough before flowing into the Great Sandy Strait between Fraser Island and the mainland. The surrounding countryside changes from steep mountains at the source to rolling hillsand flat plains as the river matures. The river usually has a narrow margin of riparian vegetation. This is cattle grazing country, with cropping on the river flats.

Sizable tributaries include Obi Obi Creek (Baroon Pocket Dam),  Yabba Creek (Borumba Dam), Kandanga Creek,  Amamoor Creek, Six Mile Creek, Wide Bay Creek, and Tinana Creek. Its catchment area is 9595 square kilometers. In times of heavy rain Obi Obi Creek above Baroon Pocket Dam has white water kayaking rated at grade 4, due in part to Gardener's Falls. Baroon Pocket Dam has a small area, with limited paddling opportunities. It has a ramp next to the drive-in road, left of the dam wall.

Paddling on the Mary is dependent on rain. If you do not live close enough to check on water levels, it is recommended that a watch is kept on rain reports for Gympie. There will need to be heavy, prolonged rain to raise the river level, and then perhaps a limited window of opportunity. The reward for this will be a paddle in pretty country, often against a backdrop of rocky mountains, or steep hills, always on water that looks pure, sweet and clean. While not wilderness, the land along the river has a feeling of isolation to it, and its scenic beauty can lend an enchantment to a canoe voyage. The river as it is now may soon be dammed beyond all recognition.

The Mary River guidebook covers sections downstream of Kenilworth. The length of those sections is determined by access, by roads and bridges crossing the water. Further sections will most probably be added when it is possible to paddle them, that is, as river heights permit.

the river