With access to both the Brisbane and the Bremer rivers, Ipswich offers paddlers plenty of great places to get out and active on the water. Whether it’s just for a leisurely cruise around or for a spot of fishing, our region has you covered.
Places to canoe and kayak
- Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve (Mt Crosby Rd, Chuwar) is the most accessible place for a paddle, with a canoe launch area and outstanding picnic and barbecue facilities, as well as an excellent kiosk. The water here is usually clear and heading upstream you will quickly find yourself in a serene stretch of water that feels like it’s miles from anywhere. The crossing is a great place to unwind on the weekend.
- For the more adventurous, a popular one-day (21km) paddle journey starts upstream of Ipswich at Burton's Bridge (E. Summervilles Rd, Borallan). From Burton's Bridge you can paddle with the current down to Sapling Pocket for a picnic before continuing to Kholo Gardens to stretch your legs, then on to Kholo Bridge to your journey's end. You will encounter numerous sets of rapids as well as long, still sections along the way, so consider your level of skill, experience and fitness before setting out. You will need to coordinate a drop-off and pick-up for this trip.
- It is not uncommon to see platypus in this section of river as well as some great birdlife, so keep a lookout, especially in the early morning.
- As a paddling destination, the Bremer River has a lot to offer, with 25km of suitable water. A well-planned trip taking into account the direction of tidal flow so that you are always paddling with the current is especially enjoyable. You will be surprised at the local birdlife and just how tranquil it is when you get on the water.
- A number of safe access points are provided along the Bremer, including:
- Shapcott Park (Gladstone Rd, Coalfalls): perfect for smaller craft, this canoe launch area is at the narrower end of the Bremer and features overhanging bottlebrush trees and abundant bird life. Keep an eye out for turtles coming up to breathe.
- Cribb Park (Norma Brown St, North Ipswich): a boat ramp provides clear access to the River and is only a 2km paddle to the heart of the CBD. Although this section of river is in an urban area, it is surprisingly peaceful and quiet.
- Joseph Brady Park (Riverside Avenue, Barellan Point): launching from Joseph Brady Park allows you to explore the junction of the Bremer and Brisbane Rivers. It is recommended that you time your paddle to ensure that your return journey is in the same direction as the tidal flow as the current can be strong at times.
There are a number of clubs and groups in the Ipswich area dedicated to canoeing and kayaking. Most offer membership to people of all interest and skill levels, often holding social gatherings for members to get to know one another. The major club in the region is the Ipswich District Canoe Club located in Brassall, which holds monthly recreational paddles in various parts of South East Queensland.
Like any activity involving venturing out into nature, when canoeing and kayaking it’s wise to take a number of simple steps to keep yourself safe and ensure you have an enjoyable outing:
- Canoe with or gain advice from someone who has paddled the river before.
- Check the tide, as some locations are inaccessible at low tide.
- It's more fun and safe if you paddle in groups of three or more.
- Take along a backpack or waterproof container to hold a mobile phone, raincoat, some spare clothes in case you get wet, a towel, a first aid kit and plenty of food and water.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat.
- Always let someone know of your intended canoeing plans and the time you expect to return.
- Take along binoculars for a closer look at our native waterbirds and wildlife.
- Always wear a personal flotation device/lifevest for those unexpected spills.
- Be aware of hazards such as fallen and submerged trees, overhanging branches and rapids.
- When you encounter rapids, get out of your boat and walk downstream and have a look before proceeding.
Code of conduct
While most paddlers are respectful of the environment and other people when out in nature, it’s always worth remembering key behaviour we all need to practice in order to protect the environment so we can continue to enjoy it's beauty:
- Be courteous to other paddlers and members of the public, always steering clear of people who may be swimming or otherwise using the water.
- Observe boating laws at all times.
- Always read and obey all signage.
- Do not disturb or remove any plants, animals, rocks or artefacts from cultural sites.
- Leave no trace - remove all rubbish you take in and respect the environment.
- In case of accidents or emergencies call 000 or 112 immediately.