Cairns Things to Do – Copperlode Dam Fish & Kayak

I can’t say I’m a Paddleboard Pro yet, but I’ve had enough experiences on top of a SUP board to know when I’ve got it easy………AND heading off on a journey across Lake Morris (Copperlode Dam) definitely ranks as one of the ‘cruisiest’ adventures I’ve had on a paddleboard yet. Here’s 5 reasons SUPing and kayaking on Lake Morris rocks and why it should be on your Cairns ‘things to do’ list ……

Cairns things to do

Nothing quite beats chillin’ on the water at this spot

1. No other Watercraft!!

You are literally the only ones when you venture out on the water at Lake Morris. The Lake was dammed over 30 years ago for the sole purposes of supplying drinking water to the people of Cairns. For the last 15 years NOBODY has been allowed to access the lake for ‘recreational’ purposes.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

Lots of big wide spaces to explore with no other vessels in sight

Cut to Copperlode Dam Fish & Kayak – to ensure the quality of the water remains the same the Cairns City Council has opened it up to one operator and allowed only them to hire out SUP boards and kayaks, and offer fishing tours on the lake.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

Loved not having to worry about other watercraft out on the kayaks

AND before you get too excited, that doesn’t mean that you can bring your own paddleboard/kayak and ‘pop’ it into the lake. The council wishes to protect the quality of the water and doesn’t want any waterborne weeds/plants etc being transferred into the dam via foreign vessels.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

Adventures abound for you & your family

For peace of mind, knowing that there was NO other watercraft ‘zooming’ around nearby was a BIG plus for the Mumma Bear in me. I am always supa-alert when we are out on the water on a kayak, particularly as you sit so low in the water and other motorized vessels always seem to be moving so fast. Being the only ones out there definitely made our adventure more relaxing and enjoyable.

2. Exploring NEW Territory

There are plenty of bays and islands in Copperlode Dam to lose yourself and from the seat of your kayak its very easy to get confused by all the greenery. Thankfully Copperlode Fish and Kayak provide you with a waterproof map and a few tips on where to go.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

The map helped us navigate around the different bays

Fortunately we didn’t get too lost on our journey and managed to find a secluded creek for a quick dip (you’re not supposed to swim in the lake due to council restrictions). A packed lunch and some treats provided further incentive for the kids to keep on paddling and later we found the perfect grassy bank to pull up for a picnic.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

Great to find a stream to stop & explore & cool down in

3. Peace & Tranquility

It’s amazing that you can be only 30-minutes from Cairns CBD and yet find yourself in this type of wilderness.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

Lots of places to lose yourself on the water

Rainforest literally spills off the surrounding ranges and fringes the shoreline when the dam is full. The rocky crag of Lambs Head dominates the mountain ranges and Sea Eagles and Ospreys are easy to spy soaring above.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

The good news is that the dam infrastructure means its easy to find your way home

If you’re particularly lucky you might spot a cassowary by the lake’s shore and high up amongst the clouds you may even notice a light aircraft – I can guarantee that it will be the only vehicle noise in this part of the world!

4. Cool Views & Cool Spot

There’s something about getting away from the humidity of the coast and seeking rainforest (and altitude) that helps you literally ‘cool’ down. Just the drive up the range, as it winds in and out of the stunning views across Cairns and out to the Great Barrier Reef, will help put you into ‘chill’ mode.

When you make it to your final destination, Lake Morris, you can easily feel the drop in temperature – its at least a few degrees lower than the coast – and trust me, at the height of the wet season this is a very good thing.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

Best views & breezes from the decking at Copperlode Dam

If you don’t opt to go paddling on the water, the decking at the top of the dam wall offers a great place to pull up a seat & enjoy the views. I know I’m contemplating bringing a laptop up to this spot and setting up office with the to ‘die for’ views.

5. Awesome BBQ’s & Facilities

As a stand alone picnic and barbecue spot Copperlode Dam really rocks. There are free BBQ’s with their own BBQ scraper attached, plenty of benches with a view, grassy open spaces and a playground for the littlies. You really can’t go wrong bringing your family, and others up to this spot for a picnic with a difference (click to READ More –> Free Things to do in Cairns for Families – Explore Copperlode Dam).

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

The BBQ’s are squeaky clean, FREE and have views to die for….

The good news is that if you opt for the Copperlode Fish & Kayak family package a BBQ lunch can be organised into the deal. After a big paddle on the Lake you’ll feel that you’ve deserved a hearty cook up to help refuel your body.

Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

There’s a whole lotta lake to explore here…..

Good Things to Know:

  • Lake Morris was formed in 1979 by damming Freshwater Creek. It supplies fresh drinking water to the people of Cairns. For this reason recreational activities on the Lake are restricted and presently no swimming is allowed.
  • You can fish, kayak and SUP on Lake Morris but you must book through Copperlode Dam Fish and Kayak. These vessels are the only ones that are allowed to be used on Lake Morris due to strict water regulations from the Cairns Council.

    Cairns things to do Copperlode Dam

    It’s a Hard Job finding ‘cool’ adventures….BUT someone has to do it 😉 

  • Lake Morris is 332 hectares and has 39km of shoreline, and is about 15% the size of Lake Tinaroo.
  • Copperlode Fish and Kayak are assisting Council in developing a fish stocking program for the Lake. At present the dam has been stocked with bony bream, barramundi, sooty grunter, archerfish, sleepy cod, eel-tailed catfish and mangrove jack. Its possible to fish in comfort from a fully electric boat, casting and trolling with Captain Kim who has over 20-years experience as a barramundi guide.
  • Copperlode Fish and Kayak provides all safety gear, maps, watercraft and can provide additional fishing gear for use on tours.
Cairns Things to Do - Copperlode Dam Fish, Kayak & SUP

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What now?? Check out some other SUP adventures around TNQ:

Would a SUP adventure at Copperlode Dam make it onto your Cairns things to do list? What other activities have you enjoyed with your family around Cairns?