The Stanley River is formed by creeks running out of the D'Aguilar (Mt Mee) range to the south, and the Jimna, Conondale, and Belthorpe ranges to the north. In total, about 18 minor creeks form the river, although that includes some that flow directly in Somerset Dam, which sits on the Stanley River course. Stanley River tributaries include Ewen, Crohamhurst, London, Running, Blackrock, One Mile, Monkeybong, Delaney’s, Neurem, Stony, Marysmokes, Scrubby, Sandy, Kilcoy, Sheepstation, Oaky, Byron and Reedy Creeks.
The Stanley River is usually still and standing water, backed up from the Somerset dam 38 km to the D’Aguilar Highway bridge, just outside of Woodford. Upstream of the D' Aguilar Highway bridge the river is frequently blocked by fallen trees. Upstream from the Villeneuve bridge (14 km west from Woodford on Neurum Road), a couple of creeks join the Stanley from the north; Mary Smokes Creek at 6 kilometres upstream, and Stoney Creek at 12 kilometres.
It is possible to paddle the 18 km from the D’Aguilar Highway bridge at Woodford down to Villeneuve bridge (locals say Villa new) when the Somerset Dam is 100%, and still at 90%, but as the level drops it becomes more chancy. The water in the upper sections gets a bit dirty and scummy at lower levels. Downstream from the Villeneuve bridge, the river spills out wide, but two kilometres above the bridge, stays within its original banks. Neurum Creek, on the eastern side of the Stanley, is encountered 2 kilometres upstream from the Villeneuve Bridge, and is worth exploring.
It is possible, at higher water level in the Somerset Dam, to launch a small craft onto Mary Smokes Creek at the Kilcoy Woodford Road bridge, but that launch is awkward, and not recommended for anything other than a small Sit-On-Top kayak. Similarly, it is possible to launch next to the bridge at the Villeneuve Bridge on the Neurem Kilcoy road, but small craft only. Your best and easiest launch, apart from at the Lake Somerset Holiday Park downstream, on the dam, is the launch ramp on Westvale road, 3 kilometres from the Neurem Road (just before the Villeneuve bridge).