This scenic canoe/kayak adventure on the Brisbane River from Colleges Crossing to Joseph Brady Park is a distance of approximately 14 km and takes about 4 hours or so, when paddling with an outgoing tide.
The Brisbane River forms the northern boundary of the Ipswich Region and there are a number of parks and boat ramps along the river that serve as points to access the river.
This is a one-way trip, so a car shuttle is required so that there will be a car and trailer waiting for your when you finish the paddle at the other end.
Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve is really an amazing park with impressive facilities. There are excellent amenities: toilets, BBQ and picnicking areas, playgrounds, a café and there is drinking water available.
It’s a great place to spend the day, and for families with smaller children, or who kids who aren’t proficient paddlers, Colleges Crossing is the perfect place to explore. There is a nice lake area with lots of birdlife. The river is tidal here, so it is best explored around high tide so you can paddle upstream and downstream a bit without worrying too much about hitting exposed rocks.
Start your paddle close to high tide to make sure you get through the section below Colleges Crossing without any trouble and so that you’re paddling with the outgoing tide all the way.
The river is home to a wide variety of wildlife and you’ll likely see Brahminy Kites circling overhead, Darter birds diving for fish and massive pelicans taking off for flight as you paddle past. A common site is black cormorants sitting on branches on the riverbank hanging out their large wet wings to dry. Other birds that make their home around the river are Osprey, Pied Cormorants and White Bellied Sea Eagles.
Continuing downstream, you’ll paddle through Venus Pools before arriving at Kookaburra Park where you can stop to stretch your legs, have a toilet break and have something to eat. For families wanting to do a shorter paddle, this would be a good spot to finish.
Leaving Kookaburra Park, the river does a huge horseshoe around Taylor’s Nook and then on the left you can see the Kholo Creek junction. At high tide, it’s possible to paddle up and explore Kholo Creek for a short distance.
The river bank on the Brisbane side towers high above the river, lined by grand Spotted Gum Trees and Forest Red Gum (Queensland Blue Gum) that seem to stand like sentries with trunks that look silver or white in colour. When the late afternoon light hits the silvery trunks of these trees they looked iridescent, like glowing silver.
As you approach your destination at Joseph Brady Park, watch out to see the Bremer River on your right. If the river levels have dropped by the time you reach your destination, getting out of the river will very muddy.
There are 3 possible spots to take out at Joseph Brady, and local advice says that the best spot is right on the corner.
In a nutshell - This trip is long enough to be a bit challenging and doing a one-way trip always adds to the sense of adventure. The birdlife, the gorgeous gum trees and the beauty of the river all add up to make this a memorable adventure on the Brisbane River.
Need to know - Expect muddy shoes, muddy canoes and lots of teamwork to get the canoes up from the riverbank and safely back on the trailer. The gate at Joseph Brady Park gets locked at 6pm, so make sure that you allow for this. Hopefully you’ll have time to enjoy the park facilities which include toilets, BBQ areas and a playground.
Checklist - Take Water, snacks and suncream. Wear PDFs (life jackets), hats, shoes that can get wet (and won’t come off when walking in mud)
Canoe Hire – Brisbane River Canoes 3281 0071
Tips - Have an adult in each canoe. paddle with the tide. If doing a car shuttle, make sure your car keys are with you! Check tide times first here
By Kate Bennie, Sons of Adventure
408-492 Mt Crosby Rd