Canoe Go Paddling?

What do you call a group of Canoe paddlers? A splash, a raft, a float, a drift, or what about a canoodle?

We are not entirely sure, but we know one thing – it is a fun group to be a part of! Even more so if that group of paddlers happens to be paddling on the amazing Upper Brisbane River, just as ours did on a beautiful Sunday morning recently.

What started out as a group of canoe lovers, or single-bladers, introducing people to the forgotten joys of canoe paddling, has developed into a literal flotilla of boats out enjoying our magnificent Brisbane waterways. The recent Twin Bridges paddle included 11 canoes, 18 adults, 10 kids, 3 dogs, a kayak and even a SUP, with ages ranging from 4 to 64 (or maybe a bit more??).

And therein lies the secret to the humble canoe – its versatility. A typical 15-foot canoe is able to easily accommodate paddler numbers from 1 through to 5. Indeed, in our very diverse group we had canoes being paddled by a single adult, by an adult and child and even by 2 adults with 3 children on board. And occasionally a boat hopping dog.

The ease of paddling, combined with load carrying ability meant that the canoes could cater for nearly any combination of paddlers and passengers and still give them a wonderful experience on the water. A fact aided by the beautiful stretch of river we were paddling on.

Our group met and departed from the gravelly beach at the Twin Bridges Reserve outside of Fernvale. After a brief meet and greet and matching paddlers and passengers with canoes, paddles and PFD’s, a quick briefing was undertaken and we were off. The final comment, “make sure you have fun”, set the standard for the rest of the morning.

We paddled up the Brisbane River approximately 3 km to our morning tea destination, a grassy flat on the northern bank. The paddle up provided opportunity for swapping of paddling tips between the more experienced paddlers and novices, it also gave the opportunity for some singing, laughing and good-natured banter on who was paddling the straightest.

Following a shared morning tea and boiling the billy we headed back for Twin Bridges again. Not without a few shuffles in seating arrangements to allow the group to try different canoes and give some of the children an opportunity to have a go. One mum was relegated to the middle seat so her 10-year-old could take charge up the front. Secretly his technique showed a few older paddlers up!

Our trip back was again accompanied by the dulcet tones of our canoe guide (we think he fancies himself as the Tom Jones of paddling). This didn’t appear to dampen the enthusiasm of the rest of the group, it’s hard to wear a frown on your face when you’re paddling on one of Brisbane’s best kept secrets.

The section of river we paddled on between Twin Bridges Reserve and Lowood Bend is one of the most accessible waterways in South-East Queensland and only an hour from Brisbane city centre. It offers easy flat water paddling suitable for novice paddlers and numerous grassy banks to land on for a brief rest. The trip undertaken by our group lasted around 3 hours, including loading and unloading boats, safety briefing, paddling, morning tea and a spot of singing. The distance is suitable for most ages, abilities and fitness levels

For more information about getting out on our local waterways feel free to join the Canoe Go Paddling Meetup group or contact Dan from Natureline Australia on 07 3390 4106. Natureline Australia, www.natureline.com.au, canoes@natureline.com.au