Pioneer River – Mirani to Marian

by Rod

in Touring & Camping

Beautiful Part of the River

Pioneer River, Mirani-Marian


Paddling along the Pioneer River between Mirani and Marian is a beautiful part of the river that even most locals would not see. Driving west from Mackay, Queensland, up the Pioneer Valley you will first come across the township of Marian with it’s huge sugar mill. You almost drive through the middle of the mill because it has expanded across the road.  Just past the mill is the town water tower on your right hand side. This is where there is public access to the River. Although it is not real easy to carry canoes and kayaks out of the river here, this is your only access to the river at this end. It is marked by the yellow marker on the right hand side of the map. Co-ordiantes for GPS are:

Latitude : 21deg 8′ 26.49″ S,  Longitude : 148deg 56′ 9.92″ E


The next township you will come to is Mirani. Just the other side of Mirani is the high level bridge across the Pioneer River. On the other side of the bridge is a dirt road down to the river. This road is drivable by conventional car and you can drive right down to the waters edge. There is no other public access to the river so if you want to paddle the full distance it is about 10kms. Of course you could do a trip down river and return which is still a great experience. The Mirani GPS co-ordinates are:

Latitude : 21deg 9′ 31.78″ S,  Longitude : 148deg 51′ 34.23″ E

A Return trip from Mirani – McGregor Creek

The water from Marian Weir backs all the way up to Mirani so this means it is all flat water and quite wide most of the way particularly the closer you come to Marian. The most picturesque part of the river is between Mirani and McGregor Creek which is about 3.9km down stream. I have marked McGregor Creek  with a red marker on the map. There are some good sandy banks along this section of the river. These are great opportunity for a camp, a picnic and a swim. In fact this could be a great paddle for a family and camp over night on one of the sandy banks. The kids can swim as much as they like and in the late afternoon look for platipus and other wildlife. So a return paddle down to McGregor Creek is about 8kms.

McGregor Creek

McGregor Creek can be a little side excursion. The water backs up McGregor Creek about 2.3kms until it narrows down and runs out of water. If you want the thrill of negotiating a smaller water way in your kayak or canoe this is a safe place to do it. It is very interesting as the banks close in and the trees over hang and create a canopy over the creek where you are paddling.  There is always a goanna lying on the bank or on a tree trunk sunny itself till you disturb it and it plunges into the water. This also looks like a good place to snag a huge Sooty Grunter or even a Barra. The Mackay Fish Stocking Group have stocked this part of the Pioneer River  with Barra Finger-lings and by reports are doing very well and growing to good sizes. So fishing anywhere between Marian and Mirani could be very rewarding.For more information on Stock Impoundment Permits read here.

Stocked Impoundment Permit

Because this a river you are not required to have a permit but if you do go fishing in the dams around Queensland it would be a good idea to check if where you are needs a licience. I will write another post in more detail about this issue. The funds are to provide fish for our recreational fisherman. For more information follow this link.

McGregor to Marian

The river becomes wider from McGregor Creek down. There are less places to pull over to the banks because they are mostly covered by

McGregor Creek in the background

Along the Pioneer River

parragrass. This is a very thick grass that grows out from the banks and floats on the water so it is difficult to find the ground and get a foot hold. There are a couple of private boat ramps but it’s probably not a good idea to use these. The next feature of interest is Devereux Creek. It is about 3.2kms downstream from McGregor Creek.

Also in this part of the river be aware of ski boats dragging water skiers around. This is a very popular location for this activity especially on the weekends in summer. Just the other side of Devereux Creek is the location of the Mackay Ski Club Boat Ramp and although a good picnic area, it is a private club and can be very crouded on weekends. You can only paddle a couple hundred meters up Devereux Creek but still worth the effort.

From Devereux Creek it is only 2.9kms to Marian and your exit. The Exit point on the river right will be very visible and you can see the water tower. In the dry months while the river is not running there is no fear of you being washed over the weir but in the rainy season stay well away from the weir. It is not to be messed with. The entire paddle from Mirani – Marian without side trips is about 10kms.




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