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How to Have a Family Canoe Adventure Near Brisbane

Home > Brisbane > Escape the City | Family | Free | Fun for Children | Kids | Outdoor
by Jane Street (subscribe)
Check out my creative activity ideas for kids at
Published April 1st 2013
A beginner's guide to getting out on the water

On a recent day trip to Coochiemudlo Island, my family decided on a whim to hire a Canadian canoe to explore. It turned out to be one of those significant events as we had such a good time that we subsequently decided to buy our own canoe. As soon as we were out on the water, we realised that we had found a great family activity. It's a fantastic way to spend time together, clear your head and enjoy some great scenery whilst getting a good workout. If you're keen to have a go, then read on for ideas on how to get started and some great locations to try within a few hours drive of Brisbane.

canoe roof rack pads
If you don't have a roof rack, ou can easily hire or buy padded roof rack bars which strap on to your car roof

First, you'll need a canoe. If you're planning to go frequently and just want to be able to jump in your car and go, it will be worth buying you own. A new family canoe will set you back $600-$2000 depending on your spec. However, you can pick up an 'as new' second hand canoe for a fraction of the cost on eBay or Gumtree and it shouldn't depreciate much further if you look after it well. If you don't have a roofrack, you can buy canoe roof pads for about $150 new (try the Roscoe shop in Kedron or a BCF store). Alternatively you may be able to rent a canoe at popular paddling locations or you rent from the Roscoe shop (including rental of roof pads if needed) Click here for details.

Now you've got your canoe, here are some great places to try in and around Brisbane:

1. Coochiemudlo Island
Only 30 minutes drive and a 10 minute ferry ride from the CBD, you can hire a canoe from Coochie Boat Hire. Children will love the adventure of canoeing all the way around an island (about 2 hours leisurely paddle) and can stop off at several secluded beaches on the way. Click here to read more.

Coochiemudlo Island Boat
Coochiemudlo Island

2. Bulimba Creek: Meadowlands Park to Hemmant (11km)
A great city canoe adventure, perfect for a Sunday morning. Launch at Meadowlands Park canoe ramp and paddle one-way to Hemmant boat ramp on Fleming Road. Spot water dragons from your canoe and enjoy the fantastic Meadowlands playpark at the launch point. As it's a one way adventure, you'd need to coordinate a pick up at the other end.

Canoe Minnippi Canoe Trail
Bulimba Creek Canoe Trail

3. Minnippi Parklands Lake
This is an easy option for a gentle paddle around a lake. No need to worry about tide times. Why not make a day of it and enjoy the great playparks and have a BBQ at the Parklands? Click here to read more about Minnippi Parklands.

Minnippi Parklands canoe
Canoe on the lake at Minnippi Parklands

4. Bell's Creek, Caloundra
Spot pelicans from your canoe and enjoy mangrove-lined waters. You could hire kayaks from Bill's Boat Hire and explore Pumicestone Passage. Click here for a detailed review.

Bells Creek family canoe trip
Bell's Creek, near Caloundra

5. Coochin Creek
About an hours drive from Brisbane, this is a scenic spot which you could combine with a camping trip, but you'll need to bring your own canoe. Click here for a detailed review.

Coochin Creek canoe
Coochin Creek

6. Cudgen Creek
This is my top pick for an easy trip for novices and young families. The Creek, around ninety minutes drive from Brisbane, is very accessible and has beautiful clear water and lovely mini beaches to stop off at for a swim or picnic. You can rent kayaks from Guru Watersports by the side of the Creek. Why not make a weekend of it at the lovely seaside town of Kingscliff? Click here for a detailed review

Cudgen Creek
Cudgen Creek

7. Noosa Everglades
I haven't yet done this trip but it's on our list. The reflections on the calm water look stunning and it sounds like a real adventure. Click here to read the review by Michelle MacFarlane

If you like the idea of canoeing but haven't tried it before, you could always join a tour. Try Redlands Kayak Tours - click here to read Cheryl Goodenough's review. A little further afield you could go kayaking with dolphins on the Cape Byron Kayak Tour (click here to read Lucy Horden's review)

Do you have any tips or good paddling spots to recommend? Add your comments in the forum below.
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Why? A fantastic family activity
Where: Within a few hours drive of Brisbane
Your Comment
Huge thanks to Jane for such a descriptive and enjoyable read! A canoe or kayak is on our wishlist, so this article has given us a great start. Heather :)
by heath68 (score: 1|70) 3117 days ago
Great info, Jane. Really detailed---we're ready to go!
by allis (score: 0|6) 3114 days ago
What a great article. If you're interested in something with a bit of adrenalin thrown in Clarence River Canoes in Northern NSW offer white water canoe tours. Check them out
by shant (score: 0|2) 3111 days ago
Hey Jane, you've posted several good articles about canoeing around Brisbane. If you would like more places to paddle contact at Brisbane River Canoes. We've paddled many rivers, creeks, lakes and the bay. A favorite is the middle Brisbane where you can paddle downstream for 6klm and up to 55 klm. Overnight camping adds to the adventure. We have maps and information for all waterways.
by kazza (score: 0|2) 2003 days ago
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