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Sunset Paddle, Dips & Drinks - Riverlife Brisbane

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by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published April 6th 2017
Kayak Brisbane River to enjoy sunset and night views
If there is one item on all Brisbanite's bucket lists it has to be paddling on the Brisbane river. If you don't have your own kayak then there is really only one place you can do this and that is at Riverlife at Kangaroo Point. Their tours have proved so popular that Riverlife has just launched a new Sunday Sunset Paddle.



Riverlife is Brisbane's adventure centre. They offer kayak hire, tours and instructions as well as stand up paddle boarding, Segways, rock climbing, abseiling, mountains bikes and much much more. The kayak tours are very popular with tours being held morning, day and at night.

Kayaks at Riverlife
Kayaks at Riverlife


Brisbane river holds a place of affection among Brisbane locals, even if sometimes we make fun of its mucky brown colour. Kayaking from Kangaroo Point is one of the most amazing adventures with an amazing view of the city from the water.

The tours are run with safety in mind with an instructor at both the front and the rear of the group. Everyone gets a life jacket and at night each kayak is fitted out with a light. At the start of the paddle the instructor will take you through basic instructions. But kayaking is pretty easy and the sit-on-top kayaks are very safe as they can't flood or sink.

Kayaking safety instruction at Riverlife
Kayaking safety instruction at Riverlife


Because the Brisbane River is tidal, the tours set out against the flow of the tide. Sometimes they will head up to South Bank and sometimes down to the Story Bridge. You do need some fitness to kayak the river, but it is not particularly hard. They unfortunately don't have double kayaks for couples. However each kayak is fitted with a rope used to tie up at the dock and if you are going with your partner who doesn't have a good level of fitness or strength, you can tie their kayak to yours and tow them up the river.

Kayakers setting out from Riverlife
Kayakers setting out from Riverlife


The thing about kayaking is that you will, of course, get splashed a little. Usually the harder you paddle the wetter you get. So wear clothes that can get wet and bring a change of clothes. Most people wear t-shirts and shorts. They have lockers at Riverlife for you to leave all your valuables with you as well as a change of clothes.

Kayaking as the sun fades
Kayaking as the sun fades


Most people are keen to take photos as they paddle the river. I did it by taking on old compact camera that I didn't mind getting wet and a waterproof bag to keep it in while I wasn't using it. Taking your phone is not recommended, even if it is a new waterproof type. After all, you don't want to drop it in the river. If you do want to bring a camera or phone with you, you really want something with a lanyard so that you can hang it safely around your neck.

The sun sets behind the city
The sun sets behind the city


The timing of the tour is designed that as you head out the sun will be setting and you should experience a great sunset behind the city. By the time you reach the end point and start to head back it should be dark, which gives you great night city views, especially of the buildings at Eagle Street.

Brisbane River at Sunset
Brisbane River at Sunset


After the trip, you can enjoy dips and drinks at Riverlife. They provide a nice selection of beers, wines, and at least one cider and the dips are served with a range of chips and breads. Not exactly a meal but something welcome after your paddle.

Brisbane city sunset view
Brisbane city sunset view


A couple of notes on getting to Riverlife. There is a lot of parking at the top of the cliffs, so driving is often the best option. The main public transport is the free red ferry from the city to the Thornton Street Ferry Terminal near Riverlife. Afterwards, you can take the ferry back to the city or to South Bank for dinner. Unfortunately, the CityCat ferries don't stop anywhere near Riverlife.

Eagle Street seen from the river at night
Eagle Street seen from the river at night


Overall a Brisbane River Kayak tour from Riverlife is on most people's list of things that they really want to do, and an early evening paddle on a Sunday is a great way to end the weekend. My feeling is the sunset paddle combines both the beautiful views at sunset along with the night views on the way back.

The sunset paddle gives you both day and night views
The sunset paddle gives you both day and night views


Also part of the deal is that you can then pay an additional $19 get 6 months of kayak hire with Riverlife. This allows you to take a kayak out at anytime for no additional charge. This deal has attracted a lot of people who are looking to exercise out on the river during the day.
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*Roy Chambers was invited as a guest
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Why? A combination of sunset and night views from the river followed by drinks and nibbles
When: 5 pm to 6:30 pm during summer, 4:30 to 6 pm in winter
Phone: (07) 3891 5766
Where: Naval Stores, Lower River Terrace, Kangaroo Point. There is no direct road access, rather you park at the cliffs above and walk down the stairs. You can also take a ferry to Thorton Street Ferry Terminal or walk from South Bank
Cost: $75
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