29 Ipswich Road
Woolloongabba, QLD, 4102
+61 7 3391 1088
BRISBANE RIVER PADDLE GUIDE
-above Wivenhoe (which is difficult to paddle due to its size and log jams);
-the Upper Brisbane River, which runs from Wivenhoe Dam Wall the the Mt Crosby Weir; and
- the Lower Brisbane River, which runs from the Mt Crosby Weir to the mouth at Moreton Bay.
John Oxley was the first European to explore the river in 1823 and named it after NSW Governor, Thomas Brisbane. The river is known for its ability to produce major floods, with multipe devastating floods in 1893, 1974, and more recently 2011. It was out of the wake of 1974 that the river was dammed, to form Wivenhoe, to help reduce further flooding and provide a larger water source for the growing population of Brisbane.
Queen St, Feb 1893 - Source: SLQ | Port Office Hotel, Jan 1974 - Source: news.com.au | Eagle St Pier, Feb 2011 - Source: couriermail.com.au
TYPE OF PADDLING
Suitable for all types of craft and paddlers. With 140 km of river which can be paddled, there is something for everybody. The level of facilities available at each drop in point varies from nothing to boat ramps, picnic shelters, and toilets. There are no private or public camping facilities available along the Brisbane River, however camping is permitted in certain locations. Estuary/Touring Kayaks and Canoes are ideal craft. Fishing permitted (check restrictions before going). Access to the Brisbane River between Kholo Bridge and Mt Crosby Weir is prohibited to all craft and persons.
- Best of all, just relaxing
The large amount of access points along the Brisbane River allows for multiple places where the whole family or those looking for a lazy paddle can spend time on the river.
Places like College Crossing, Joseph Bradly Park, Northshore Riverside Park - all make for a great day out. These have good facilities both on and off the water allowing for fun to be had both on and off the water in quieter sections of the river.
The Brisbane River is great for not only paddling but also other recreational activities such as fishing (check regulations) and bird watching. So if you want to get out on the water for a few hours, check out the many parks that provide river access.
Day trips on the Brisbane River can vary from a few hours on the river to up to 50km in a day.
Day trips can be done in two ways, a point to point or a return trip. Return trips are better suited to the lower section of the river, however as it is tidal, alway check tide movements before setting off. Return trips can be done on the upper section but the upstream paddle can be difficult through rapid and log filled sections.
Longer day trips can be done through a car shuttle system where two cars are used to leave one each at the launch and landing points. This system can also be done by organising a driver to shuttle a car. The whole river is suited to this kind of day trip. A popular trip is from the first drop-in point under the dam wall to Kholo Bridge. This trip is up to 50km long and includes a portage around a log jam, so ensure the right knowledge, fitness, and equipment is taken.
The river provide 140km of paddling, which most paddlers break into 3 large days. Unfortunately, camping along the river is virtually non-existant, so a support driver is really required to paddle the river over a few days. It is generally broken into 3, 40-something km days.
Day 1 - Wivenhoe Pocket - Kholo Bridge
Day 2 - Colleges Crossing - Fig Tree Pocket
Day 3 Fig Tree Pocket - Mouth.
The portage from Kholo Bridge to Colleges Crossing is approximently 7km by road. A car is required to complete this trip as the walking the road is dangerous due to the non-existant shoulder, very steep and windy road, and heavy traffic.
This trip is over long distances often is tidal or white water so ensure the right knowledge, fitness, and equipment is taken.
Remember: There is no official camping permitted along the Brisbane River. If you set up camp on the banks, you can be prosecuted for trespassing.
Upper Brisbane River
Spillway Common - River Left - - Recently re-built and open for river access
Shines Road - River Left - Bank - Access to river via track at end of Shines Road. Caution, track is steep, narrow, and uneven. There is a 1.5m drop from track to bank, a short leading/guide rope is recommended. No facilities.
Lowood Corner - River Right - Bank - Forest Hill-Fernvale Road near Lindemans Road. Dirt track suitable for 4x4 only. No facilities.
Twin Bridges - Both - Beach - Wivenhoe Pocket Road. Craft can be launched from both above and belowe the bridge. Caution of the old bridge pylons, depending on water levels, can be submerged. Toilets and shetlers provided.
Savages Crossing - Both - Beach - Banks Creek Road. Craft can be launched from beach next to bridge. Caution of the rapids. Toilets available.
Burton's Bridge - Both - Bank - Summerville East Road. Craft can be launched from bank next to bridge. LAST ACCESS POINT BEFORE KHOLO BRIDGE. Caution of fast moving water. No facilities.
Kholo Bridge - Both - Beach - Kholo Road. Craft can be launched from bank upstream side of the bridge. Caution of litter - this a popular fishing spot and litter is a problem. No further access downstream - paddling prohibited downstream between Kholo Bridge and Mt Crosby Weir. No facilities.
Lower Brisbane River
Colleges Crossing - River Right - Ramp - Mt Crosby Road. Day area with great facilities including toilets, picnic, and playground equipment. Good place to spend the day. Please note - Colleges Crossing to Venus Pools (near Kookaburra Park) can only be paddled 2 - 3 hrs before and after high tide due to water levels. Tide tides are Brisbane Bar + 2.5hrs.
Kookaburra Park - River Left - Beach - Caringal Drive. Toilets available. Please note - Colleges Crossing to Venus Pools (near Kookaburra Park) can only be paddled 2 - 3 hrs before and after high tide due to water levels. Tide tides are Brisbane Bar + 2.5hrs.
Karalee - River Right - CLOSED - Still with council, no ETA available.
Joseph Brady Park - River Right - Bank - Riverside Avenue. Day area with great facilities including toilets, picnic, and playground equipment. Good place to spend the day. At the intersection of the Bremer and Brisbane Rivers.
Moggill Ferry - River Left - Beach - Moggill Road at Moggill Ferry Reserve. Picnic tables but no facilities, still being rebuilt after floods. Caution - Moggill Ferry runs on cables, keep clear of ferry area unless crossing. When crossing over ferry lines, wait to ensure ferry is not crossing before proceding.
Woogaroo Creek - River Right - Ramp - Richardson Park, Noel Kelly Drive. Day area with good facilities including toilets and playground equipment.
Jindalee - River Right - Ramp - Mount Ommaney Drive. Day area with good facilities including toilets and playground equipment.
Fig Tree Pocket - River Left - Ramp - Fig Tree Pocket Road. Day area with good facilities including toilets and playground equipment.
Sherwood - River Right - Pontoon - Sherwood Forest Park, Jolmont Street. Day area with great facilities including toilets, picnic, and playground equipment. Good place to spend the day.
Indooroopilly - River Left - Ramp - Sir John Chandler Park, Meiers Road. Day area with good facilities including toilets and picnic facilities.
Orleigh Park - River Right - Pontoon - Orleigh Street. Day area with great facilities including toilets, picnic, and playground equipment. Good place to spend the day. Caution - Strong City Cat wake can make launching/landing difficult.
Riverside - River Right - Ramp/Pontoon - Riverside Lands Park, Riverside Drive. No facilities. Caution - Strong City Cat wake can make launching/landing difficult.
Southbank - River Right - Beach - Southbank Parklands. Great for a stop off to access Southbank but not a good place to launch from due to distance from car to beach. Plenty of facilities located within Southbank complex. Caution - Strong City Cat wake can make launching/landing difficult.
Kangaroo Point Cliffs - River Right - Ramp - Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Great for a stop off to access Kangaroo Point Cliffs but not a good place to launch from due to distance from car to beach. Toilets and picnic facilities located at Cliffs. Caution - Strong City Cat wake can make launching/landing difficult.
Story Bridge - River Right - Beach - Captain Burke Park, Holmat Street. Access to beach either side of Story Bridge. Day area with great facilities including toilets, picnic, and playground equipment. Good place to spend the day. Caution - Strong City Cat wake can make launching/landing difficult.
Mowbray Park - River Right - Pontoon - Park Aveune. Day area with great facilities including toilets, picnic, and playground equipment. Good place to spend the day. Caution - Strong City Cat wake can make launching/landing difficult.
Newstead Park - River Left - Pontoon - Newstead Terrace. Day area with good facilities including toilets and picnic facilities. Good place to spend the day. Caution - Strong City Cat wake can make launching/landing difficult.
Northshore - River Left - Beach - Northshore Riverside Park, Macarthur Aveune. Day area with great facilities including toilets, picnic, and playground equipment. Good place to spend the day.
Pinkenba - River Left - Ramp - No facilities.
Fisherman Island - River Right (down channel between Lytton and Fisherman Island) - Ramp - Port Drive. Day area with great facilities including toilets and picnic facilities. Good place to spend the day.
Upper Brisbane River Map - Burton's Bridge to Karana Downs
Brisbane River Map - Indooroopilly to Gateway Bridge
Brisbane River Map - Gateway Bridge to Mouth
Upper & Lower Brisbane River
- Upper Brisbane River can be shallow in parts especially on many of the rapids. These gravel races can easily damage craft and this section is better suited to plastic craft.
- Rapids located on the Upper Brisbane River are of Grade 1 to 1+, however due to fallen logs, tree strainers are a real danger. Any white water condition should be treated with care. Logs conditions are always changing, so local knowledge should always be sorted before embarking on a trip. It is always a good idea to scout rapids before running. Longer kayaks can be difficult to manoeuvre through rapid and along trees.
- Sections of the Lower Brisbane River, due to tidal conditions, can only be paddled at or around high tide. Tidal rivers can change paddling speeds, always check tides before paddling the lower river.
- Brisbane River is full of submerged items, both natural and man-made. The river is full of sediment so water visibility is poor. Therefore care should be taken when moving through or entering the water as submerged items are not always visible.
- Unfortunately, the Brisbane River has a problem with litter on the banks. This poses a safety hazard as litter such as broken bottles can cause serious injuries. Always wear proper safety equipment.
- Water quality of the Brisbane River can be poor. The Upper Brisbane River is lined by farms, so animal waste can be found in the water. Always take enough fresh water for the planned time on the river. The lower section is tidal and therefore is no longer fresh water.
- Beware of animals within the environment, take care with the storage of food and be aware Bull Sharks have been located in the lower reaches of the river, so take care if swimming.
- The Upper Brisbane River is remote, often with limited access and little or no mobile reception. Know your nearest exits and please take appropriate safety precautions and gear to protect yourself.
- Both sections of the Brisbane River can get very busy with other boat traffic, especially the City and Port. Please be a responsible and safe paddler and know who has right of way and where you should paddle. All this information can be found in the Brisbane River Code of Conduct. Remember City Cats have poor visibility and always have right of way. Be safe.
*The hazards listed as a guide only and we recommend you have the appropriate skills, knowledge, and gear to keep yourself safe. Remember to always leave a detailed trip plan with someone at home and always check weather reports and tidal and current conditions.
This document was produced by Maritime Safety Queensland especially for passive craft such as canoes and kayaks. If planning a trip, no matter how big or small, please keep safe by reading this great resource.
This information has been provided to make planning a trip on the Brisbane River easier but is designed as a guide only. Please be saw the check all the information provided is current and hazards and conditions on the river are allows changing. Our staff paddle the river and are allows happy to help you plan your trip, so feel free to drop in and ask any questions. Check out our Brisbane River Photo Gallery!
This is such a fantastic natural beauty so close to Brisbane, please respect the river and leave it cleaner than when you arrived. Happy Paddling!
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