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Paddleboarding in paradise.

Can’t get enough of the water in the Wet Tropics? Why not try stand up paddle boarding…  

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We’ve seen cassowaries swimming in the water. And platypus. The wild horses come down to the water’s edge too. It has a magical feeling about it.

From surfers who are missing the waves to first-time paddlers and on-water yoga classes – the SUP culture is spreading in our region and it’s not hard to see why. Great spots to paddle. Great fitness. Great to do with friends. Stand up paddle board guides Allie Chadburn and Brett Wright share their passion for paddling – and being out in places of natural wonder. 

Top spots to go paddle boarding 

Goldsborough Valley 

“My personal favourite. The water is crystal clear and the scenery changes from sub-tropical rainforest to drier forest. We’ve seen cassowaries swimming in the water. And platypus. The wild horses come down to the water’s edge too. It has a magical feeling about it.” – Allie 


Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, and Mission Beach  

Beautiful beaches to paddle along. At Four Mile Beach, Bretto paddled with a pod of dolphins recently. “We see them three to four times a year. They come up around the boards. And there are always turtles, sharks and rays around.” 


Lake Tinaroo on sunset, Atherton Tablelands
“At that time of day it blows your mind.  Tinaroo sunsets are spectacular on the water, with birds galore from cockatoos and pelicans to owls on dusk, and the old village below us as we paddle through the trees.” – Allie   


Mossman River
“Clear, flowing water in a rainforest setting. I go there for quiet time, a shady paddle and chilling out while also exercising. With tourists, we paddle up and then swim and float back. It’s just a beautiful setting and a gentle water flow.” – Bretto 


Double Island, Cairns
“From Buchan’s Point to Double Island and then Scout’s Hat (Island) is a great trip. There is reef right at the islands, the water is shallow and we see heaps of turtles and rays. – Allie 


Low Isles, off Port Douglas
“We’ve counted 75 turtles on a trip – once in 2006 and once recently. We paddle with a boat to drop us off and as support, and you can cover good ground. Around the southern side, the wind blows you right across the reef. Inside Woody Point the corals are exposed on low tides. They’ve come back after a partial coral bleach 15 years ago. I’m always happy to see they’re going strong.” – Bretto 


Fitzroy Island, off Cairns 

“Because you’re standing up you get a great view of everything on the fringing reef just off shore. Last week we saw manta rays. They were coming right up to our boards and breaching the water.  It was amazing. You’re not a threat to them when you’re up above like that. There is heaps of hard coral to see too on a shallow reef.” – Allie  


Tips for beginners 

“Start on your knees. It’s easier to get the feel of the board when your centre of balance is low. When you’re ready, and out a little deeper, stand up. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and, for beginners, in the centre of the board.” – Allie 

“Always paddle with someone slower than you! I see a new move on the boards every day. It’s as much about having fun.  If you fall in, be glad to get wet.” – Bretto  

And both Brett and Allie say booking in for a lesson to learn the right techniques straight up and quickly is a good move too… 

Allie runs WhatSUP Cairns Stand Up Paddle Board Adventure Tours. Brett runs WindSwell Kitesurfing and Standup Paddle Port Douglas. 

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