What better way to feel like you are really escaping the city at the weekend than getting out onto the water in the Bay? An easy way to do this is to catch the ferry over to Coochiemudlo Island and hire a boat from Coochie Boat Hire. "Coochiemudlo Island?" you may ask - most of my friends hadn't heard of it when I told them what I was doing last weekend. But, it's only around 45 minutes travel, door to beach, from central Brisbane and you are guaranteed to feel like you have been on holiday at the weekend.
Drive or get the bus to Victoria Point and leave your car in one of the free car parks near the jetty. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes (on the hour and at half past the hour). It takes less than 10 minutes and only costs $6.80 for a return adult fare. The boat hire point is just a few minutes walk from the jetty. Dave and Elly set up around 10am on the beach at weekends and school holidays (book in advance if you want to go mid week).
There are various vessels to choose from including aqua bikes, pedalos and sit-on-top kayaks. How about hiring a "tinnie" or even a BBQ boat for a half day or whole day and enjoying pottering about the island with lunch on the water? This would be great fun for a party. Our family chose the open Canadian canoe, which was perfect for two adults and two children plus a picnic. We were able to borrow a dry bag for our valuables and Coochie Boat Hire were happy to look after our stroller and other gear while we were out on the water.
We were given a laminated map of the island and a briefing on tide times and weather conditions before we set off. The island is only five square kilometres in size and we managed to paddle to the Northern end of the island and back with our one hour canoe hire. Next time we will do a two hour hire and canoe all the way around, stopping off at one of the beaches on the way. The Western edge of the island (which we didn't get to) is lined with mangroves and is apparently very interesting to paddle around. We spotted lots of birds and jumping fish, but if you're lucky you might see a dugong, dolphin or turtle in the Bay.
Stop at one of the secluded beaches on Coochie - with perfect sand for sandcastles
The water is shallow and very calm, making it an ideal paddling spot for children and novices. There are four kilometres of beaches to stop off on the south, east and north sides of the island - all very secluded feeling. With trees meeting the sand on the northern beach, there was plenty of natural shade on the beach and it felt very different to the expansive beaches we usually visit on the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast. The sand is the perfect consistency for excellent sandcastles.
Being able to canoe right around an Island feels like a true adventure for children, so why not give boating at Coochie a try next time you're looking for a memorable family day out?
What other good spots do you know where you can hire canoes or other boats for an easy family adventure at the weekend? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.