Top spots to kayak in Brisbane
We’re not short of a waterway or two here in the River City, which is why we’re best explored by boat. Summon your sense of adventure, and follow us downstream as we guide you through the rivers and lakes that snake their way throughout the Queensland capital. Below you’ll find our favourite places to kayak your way around Brisbane.
Just don’t forget to pack your paddle…
Introduce yourself to the city’s most famous resident with a meander down the Brisbane River, which winds its way through the heart of the CBD.
At the base of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, you’ll find Riverlife Adventure Centre. The company’s waterborne tours will take you on an unconventional foray by kayak through the Brisbane metropolis; catch the sunset from under the Story Bridge, and glide past the illuminated South Bank after dark. After working up a sweat, refreshments are on hand, with tours followed by barbecues on the water’s edge.
Craving a little less concrete? Nearby Bribie Island has you covered.
Nestled into Moreton Bay, the island is home to a collection of picturesque waterways, just demanding to be explored by kayak. Its most famous is Pumicestone Passage, a protected marine park which offers a near guarantee to see some of Queensland’s most famous flora and fauna.
Drifting along the 35 kilometre channel stretching from Caloundra to Deception Bay, you’ll be able to say hello to the dugongs, dolphins, turtles, and ample birdlife that call the pristine strip home.
If convenience for you is key, then nowhere will float your boat (quite literally) like Cleveland.
The bayside suburb nudges the southern tip of Moreton Bay, and is the easiest access point for exploring the Redlands Coast without departing the mainland. With local experts Redlands Kayak Tours, your kayak will glide through Wellington Point, Victoria Point, Thompson Beach, Coochiemudlo Island and Tingalpa Creek, encountering canals, mangroves and open water, each habitat ripe with marine life.
While you’re in the Redlands, jump on a 10-minute ferry from Victoria Point to get well acquainted with one of Queensland’s lesser-known islands, affectionally known as “Coochie“.
On this tiny isle – a compact five square kilometres – not a lot has happened since the ’80s, and the aqua bikes you’ll spy on the beach are just one of the many charming remnants. But you came here intent on hiring a kayak, and for that, Coochie Boat Hire has you sorted.
It’ll only take you two hours to paddle around the island at a leisurely pace – keep an eye out for dolphins, dugongs and sea turtles and have fun exploring the secluded beaches, Melaleuca wetlands and ancient mangrove forests, brimming with birdlife.
Journeying to the northern part of the bay, you’ll meet Moreton Island, a mass of untouched natural beauty rife with marine life.
We’ll split our time here watching pods of dolphins at play, and exploring the Tangalooma Wrecks on the western side of the island; a gaggle of 17 vessels that has become popular for divers. Navigate the wrecks by kayak, cooling off with a dip in the surrounding sea, where you can introduce yourself to the resident fish species.
Moreton Island isn’t lacking when it comes to kayak tours, with transparent kayaks the island’s specialty. Standout operators include Adventure Moreton Island, Tangatours, and Australian Sunset Safaris. Tangalooma Island Resort also offers the chance to combine your kayak adventure with a whale-watching tour.
D’Aguilar National Park, just a 20-minute drive from Brisbane City, will tempt you away from the beach and into the bush.
In its midst sits the Enoggera Reservoir, the city’s oldest, which has been attracting local leisure-seeking families since it was first erected in 1866. When it comes to kayaking your way around the ample dam you’re in good hands here, with Walkabout Creek Adventures operating short 30-minute tours around the reservoir each day, as well as longer 90-minute options for those with time to spare. Those who prefer to travel solo needn’t fret – private hire is also available.
Craving more kayak-based adventure? Venture much further afield into regional Queensland and you’ll find a bounty of islands just begging to be explored by kayak, like the Whitsundays. Check out our guide here.