Big Fish Kayaks Trip Report - The Mary River – Kenilworth

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Big Fish Kayaks Trip Report - Mary River, Kenilworth 

At Big Fish Kayaks, buy the best value kayak packages and come on our journey as we explore our kayak adventures. This blog discovers kayak fishing in the Mary River.


Mary River - Kenilworth. Kenilworth is a suburb of South Eastern Sunshine Coast, South East Queensland

Our Base:

Kenilworth Homestead

2760 Eumundi-Kenilworth Road

Kenilworth, QLD, 4574

Distance from Brisbane:

Kenilworth is approximatly150km from Brisbane, roughly 1hr 45 minute drive.



The Mary River is one of the great river systems of south east Queensland and is unique in the fact that it is the only “larger” river in South-east Queensland without a major mainstream dam.

Due to this, many native fish still migrate within the freshwater reaches of the river system. Fish species including Australian bass, jungle perch, sea mullet, freshwater mullet, short and long finned eels and striped gudgeon all need to move between the freshwater reaches and the estuaries to breed.

The rivers source starts high in the Connondale Range and passes through the townships of Kenilworth, Gympie and Maryborough before meeting the ocean at the Great Sandy Strait.

There are quite a few tributaries that are also worth considering for a paddle that feed into the mighty Mary, including Yabba Creek, Kandanga Creek, Widgee Creek and Obi Obi Creek.

On our most recent trip to the region, we based ourselves at the Kenilworth Homestead, a privately run family-orientated camp ground.

This base allowed us to launch and explore up the Mary River towards the Kenilworth township.

Water levels were low, despite recent rain falls.

Trip Report:

The Mary River water’s depth can be variable and even with recent rain, along some portions of the trip the water’s depth was quite shallow, compared with other previous trips to the area.

So a little more walking was involved in negotiating our kayaks through a number of the shallow rapids that occurred on our journey.

We have kayaked along this portion of the Mary River a number of times and our kids have found the shallow rapids a challenge, mixed with a bit of excitement. All part of the fun!!!

While it was a little bit of a pain going up stream, the obvious advantages to this, is kayaking is easier on the trip back!

This stretch of river offers a number of ideal fishing structures including fallen trees, old bridge pylons, deep holes, rocky river banks edges and drop offs.

A range of fish were spotted including schools of perch patrolling the drop offs to the edge of rapids and good arches were showing on the sounder

On this trip the fishing was slow, despite us trying a range of lures between us and sight casting to the schools of fish.

Suggested other nearby fishing locations to investigate include Obi Obi Creek, Burumba Dam.

This region certainly offers something for everyone from the recreational kayaker to extreme kayak angler.

We look forward to visiting again soon and undertaking some serious fishing.

Products Used:

The BF-301 and BF-302 were put through their paces on this trip.

The BF-302’s low profile hull came into it’s own on the trip by offering the users great flexibility and easier navigation through shallow waters!

Each kayak package comes fully loaded ready for you next fishing adventure.

For more information check out our website at the following link

Target Fishing Species:

The mighty Mary River Cod is the main attractor of this river system and a prize to catch however many other species can be found including Australian bass, jungle perch, sea mullet, freshwater mullet, short and long finned eels and striped gudgeon.

It is a common sight for mullet jumping and schools of perch on the prowl.

Turtles are a frequently spotted including the rare Mary River turtle.

The varying conditions of the freshwater Mary River include both deep and shallow waters, fast and slow moving waters, suitable for many fish species.

Protected species:

The Mary River system is home to a number of protected species including the Mary River Cod and Lung Fish.

If you should catch one of these precious fish, please look after them and release as quickly and gently as possible.

For more information of fish sizes, limits and rules visit the Queensland State Government, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website at

Launching Facilities:

Our base for the trip was the Kenilworth Homestead, which is a fantastic family-orientated camp ground with direct river access, however there are numerous opportunities to launch a kayak, in the Kenilworth region.

Kayaking is a big feature at the Kenilworth Homestead, and outside peak hours you would be able to camp close to the water however most campers carry their kayak down to the water’s edge.

There is no formalized launching pad, however the pebbly shoreline is vast, making the river accessible, even in busy periods.


Consider your fitness as the fast flowing water can prove challenging. Locals advised that if you intend to paddle downstream (from the Kenilworth Homestead), getting back is next to impossible due to the rapids and fast flowing waters.

It was even suggested to park further downstream to drive back with the kayaks. Wearing sun protective gear is essential, as shade can be limited.

Wearing some aqua shoes is suggested to assist in walking on the slippery and rocky river bed as you drag your kayak past shallow waters.


The Mary River offers a range of kayaking challenges to entertain the family.

There is a wide selection of fishing species on offer.

Numerous opportunities for kayaking and fishing within the vicinity of Kenilworth.

There are plenty of river banks to rest and take a swim and/or fish.

Our kids enjoyed the challenges of the shallow rapids and the varying conditions including both deep water pools and shallow fast flowing waters.

Kenilworth Homestead is a fantastic family-orientated camping facility and in peak times, offer a range of planned supervised activities for kids.


So not to be disappointed, check the river height and conditions before your trip.

You will need to be prepared to carry or drag your kayak in the shallow waters, and paddling in the faster flowing sections waters requires a level of fitness to pass.

Even with recent rain, there always seems to have some areas of the Mary River with shallow waters.

The Mary River should not be paddled (or swum) during flood periods and heavy rain.

More information:

For more information of fish sizes, limits and rules visit the Queensland State Government, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website at

The Mary Valley Country is a good website promoting the many features of this beautiful region.

Kenilworth Homestead