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Kayaking up Bulimba Creek

Home > Brisbane > Adventure | Boating | Nature | Outdoor
by Roz Glazebrook (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published May 31st 2018
A relaxing kayaking trip
My bushwalking club had another kayaking trip on, so I signed up for it. I wrote about the previous paddle on the Upper Noosa River with the club here.

Bulimba Creek
Bulimba Creek


This time we planned to kayak across to Coochimudlo Island, around the Island and across to Macleay Island. Unfortunately, the weather prediction on the day was not good with 30 kilometre an hour winds forecasted.

The night before our planned paddle, the leader changed our paddle site to Bulimba Creek.

I remembered the suburb of Bulimba from many years ago. When I was sixteen I came up from my home in Launceston to stay with an aunt and cousins who lived in Bulimba. It was my first trip to Brisbane and I loved it. My aunt lived near the river and we used to catch the ferry into town. I live on the Northside of Brisbane now and don't get over to the Southside often.

Morning tea spot
Morning tea spot


We met at the Meadowlands Picnic Area car park on Meadowlands Road, Carina at 8am on a recent Saturday morning. The car park was crowded with lots of park runners, but we managed to get a park after some of them left. We launched our kayaks into the creek at the pontoon just down from the bridge. There were only four of us. Three others pulled out.

Bridge over Bulimba Creek
Bridge over Bulimba Creek


It was lovely kayaking up the creek at first. It was green and beautiful. We paddled through different flora with open forest and woodland, dry rainforest, riparian (waterside) forest and freshwater and estuarine wetlands.

Getting ready to launch
Getting ready to launch


We passed under a nice walking bridge, and lots of road bridges with loud traffic noise and saw lots of birds in the trees. Annie got a fright when a snake launched itself out of a tree and almost landed in her boat. It swam away. I saw cormorants, rainbow bee-eaters, herons, egrets and pigeons. I was looking out for dragons as I'd read there were lots of them along the creek, but I didn't see any this trip. Sadly we saw a cormorant with a bit of blue plastic in its mouth on the return trip. We also saw lots of fish jumping out of the water. Peter said they were mullet.

Lunch at boat ramp amongst boats
Lunch at boat ramp


As we got further up the creek though, there was lots of rubbish floating on the high tide and caught up in the trees and vegetation on the sides of the creek. I think you could almost furnish a house with what we saw. There were plastic chairs, plastic buckets, a stool, planks of wood, fishing line, bits of rope, plastic bags, cardboard cartons and just about any type of rubbish there is.

Under one of the bridges
Under one of the bridges


I saw heaps of tennis balls, clothing, drums, lots of plastic, paper, plastic and glass bottles and cans. I couldn't help comparing it with the pristine Noosa River I had kayaked a few weeks ago, where I didn't see any rubbish at all. I guess it is due to the urban and industrial development along the creek.

On the pontoon at Meadowlands
On the pontoon at Meadowlands


We stopped for morning tea at the Murarrie Recreation Area and used the canoe ramp to go ashore. We paddled on through the Minnippi parklands and through the Hemmant Recreation Reserve and along the canoe trails.

Murarrie parklands
Murarrie parklands


After our break, we paddled on for a couple more hours and ended up in an industrial area, where we stopped for lunch at a public boat-mooring site. We were glad to get out and stretch our legs as we had paddled about seventeen kilometres and still had to kayak all the way back. If we had kept going, we would have ended up at the Brisbane River.

Wide creek near lunch spot
Wide creek near lunch spot


It rained on the way back and we all got wet. We got very muddy too after we stopped at the morning tea spot again. Peter jumped out first and sunk in mud up to his thighs. I should have stayed in my kayak, but I wanted to stretch so I jumped out and immediately sank in mud up to my waist. The tide had gone out so it is best to paddle this creek two hours either side of high tide.



We had a good laugh at our predicament and set off again to reach the pontoon and our cars about another hour away. It was almost getting dark by the time we arrived and we were keen to get out of our cold, wet, muddy clothes, pack up and go home.

Bulimba Creek near Murarrie
Bulimba Creek near Murarrie


It was a great adventurous day. We paddled about thirty-five kilometres. The rubbish was depressing. I rang the Brisbane City Council and the Bulimba Catchment Committee on Monday. Heather from Bulimba Creek Catchments told me there was going to be a big clean up of Bulimba Creek on Sunday 15 July in conjunction with Ocean Crusaders. They are looking for as many people with kayaks, canoes and small boats to come and help. People without boats can also help by cleaning up the banks of the creek. There will be a barbecue afterwards. The clean up is from 10am till 1pm meeting at 14 Settlers Street, Carindale parkland with a walk bridge over Bulimba Creek. I hope there is a huge turnout.

Heading out
Heading out


Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee
Contact b4c@bulimbacreek.org.au and Ph: (07) 3398 8003

The Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) is a non-profit community catchment group working to protect and restore Bulimba Creek through community action and education. The group was formed in 1997 and is primarily run by volunteers aiming to create a swathe of green across the Bulimba Creek catchment.

Murarrie parklands ramp
Murarrie parklands ramp


I spoke to Ian from Ocean Crusaders. He said there almost needs to be a clean up of Bulimba creek after each high tide. He said Ocean Crusaders have recently done a clean up on Fraser Island. They have also co-ordinated clean ups of the Yarra River in Melbourne and in Sweden. There is more information about their organization on their facebook page.

Bulimba Creek is well known for its rubbish. I read a story online about another group who had done a clean up of the creek. Greg Henderson and Emma Jay Campbell (The Oarsome Cleanup Crew) found syringes, spray cans, polystyrene foam and even a rifle in the creek.

Annie described our paddle well in an email the next day.

"Hi everyone, we all disappeared in the dark last night - muddied zombies against the moonlight - without saying fond farewells so hope you all made it back and have managed to eradicate the indelible mud. It really does appear we did 35km yesterday. Bomb diving snakes, antsy mullet, thigh-high mud, shipwrecks, industrial and domestic waste - was a trip with everything"

Meadowlands Road launch site
Meadowlands Road launch site

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Why? Nice place to kayak
When: Anytime, better at high tide
Where: Bulimba Creek
Cost: Free if own kayak. Hire fees if hiring a kayak
Your Comment
Great photos, roz!
by Elaine (score: 3|5358) 81 days ago
Apart from the rubbish and the mud it sounds like an interesting trip. Maybe without the snake too ! 😊
by hdona (score: 2|161) 81 days ago
a full days paddling - obviously not for the faint hearted - i’d read it expecting a trip upstream from the brisbane river , An interesting post
by goods (score: 1|10) 80 days ago
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