Canoe Brisbane River

January 20, 2018
Seven Hills Bushland Reserve


The runs from Mt Stanley, east of Nanago, through to Wivenhoe Dam, before running through Brisbane city to Moreton Bay. The river is 344km long and can be split into 3 sections,

-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: | Eagle St Pier, Feb 2011 - Source:


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.


- Canoeing/Kayaking

- Bird Watching

- Fishing

- Camping/Touring

- 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

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.

Multi-Day Trips

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.

137 Kilometers: The Brisbane River
137 Kilometers: The Brisbane River
Brisbane River Aerial Footage
Brisbane River Aerial Footage
Wivenhoe Kayak Fishing Convention / Brisbane River Bass
Wivenhoe Kayak Fishing Convention / Brisbane River Bass ...
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