Kayaking is a fun way to explore the Brisbane River. While paddling through Australia’s third-biggest city is fun, nature lovers may find the quieter and more natural spots further upstream more appealing. The area between Twin Bridges and Lowood is a scenic stretch ideal for an easy kayaking trip. Here are some reasons why we loved this little kayaking adventure and a few tips to help you plan yours.
Distance: 12-14 km
Time: 2-3 hours
Disclaimer: the kayaking time and difficulty are based on our experience. We’re skilled kayakers with a good level of fitness. However, we like to stop to watch birds and take photos. Before you go, always check the park alerts and notes, and the weather forecast. Things may have changed since our visit. The distance and time can vary with the weather conditions, paddlers’ performance and the type of kayaks you have. You can see the one-person model of our inflatable kayak here*.
Twin Bridges is easy to access
The drive from Brisbane City to Twin Bridges, located north of Ipswich near the stunning Lake Wivenhoe, typically takes around an hour. Upon arrival, you can drive down to the riverbank for hassle-free unloading of your kayak. Then, you can turn back to find parking spots just a few meters away.
It’s also easy to paddle
When we visited the stretch of the Brisbane River between Twin Bridges and Lowood, we found it to be easy to navigate. The current did not pose any difficulty. However, there were a few branches to avoid, mostly close to the bank or easy to spot. It might be more hazardous after a storm, so always be mindful of potential submerged obstacles.
On the other hand, I have read that other parts of the mid-Brisbane River can be more challenging with the need to slalom between obstacles and negotiate rapids.
You can have fun in the rapids
If you’re interested in a thrilling workout, check out the rapids just beyond Lowood Bend. It’s impressive to see how the serene river suddenly transforms into a powerful force for a very different paddling adventure!
Although it’s a fun experience, rapids come with risks. So it’s important to consider if you have the appropriate vessel and experience in order to avoid capsizing due to the rocks and strong currents. Before attempting to go up the rapids, take a careful approach to examine the water currents and rocks.
During our visit, the rapids were not too intense. We could navigate the three small ones at Lowood even in our long inflatable kayak, which isn’t designed for such environments. We didn’t push further as we had to be back at Twin Bridges before sunset.
We’re rather lucky to have access to different paddling experiences in our backyard by living in Brisbane. We had experienced calm rivers, large lakes and the bay before, and the rapids were a first!
It’s a lovely spot for bird watching
Our kayaking journey started among families enjoying loud music at Twin Bridges and noisy 4WDs a bit further away. It was not the tranquil and peaceful kayaking experience we were hoping for. However, we soon left the noise behind, and it became a serene paddle just a few minutes up the river. We spotted afar flocks of birds crossing the river, a reminder that we were in an ideal spot for bird watching. So we took several breaks to observe the diverse bird species, including the vibrant rainbow bee-eaters, amusing double-barred finches, and a stunning sea eagle.
Map of our kayaking trip on the Mid Brisbane River from Twin Bridges to Lowood
Here are some helpful markers on the map that show the locations where you can launch your kayak along this stretch of the mid-Brisbane River. If you don’t have your own kayak, you might be able to rent one from One Tree Canoe near Twin Bridges (which is also marked on the map). Additionally, I’ve added some approximate dots on the map to indicate where we went through the rapids.