Tuesday 8 October 2013

Sea Kayaking to North Moreton Island - Trip Report

Moreton Bay is always full of surprises - this time was no different coming across a pod of whales including this very large specimen (you are looking at the tail end) that decided to swim under my kayak. This was one of a number of pods we came across over the weekend.

The trip plan was to paddle from Bribie Island up to North Point, a trip of around 26kms where we would camp and explore around the northern end of Moreton Island.  The first hiccup came when we found that we couldn't fit everybody in at North Point due to its popularity this weekend, so we booked the next campsite down at Yellow Patch.

The second hiccup was paddling up to North Point to find that Yellow Patch would have to be the worst campsite on Moreton Island.  After packing a cut lunch and a water bag to walk from the beach to the campsite across sand fly infested swamps, we decided to paddle back to Comboyuro Point to setup camp where it was less populated and a more laid back camping crowd.

We all slept well that night after the 37km paddle and the 10kms we paddled against the 3.5 knot current and head wind.  I slept extra well as I was chasing Taran's all day in my Nordy, or maybe that was the wine!

Day 2 came and we discussed a plan for the day.  After 3 hours of deep discussion where we perfected the art of doing nothing (very comfortably in our new Helinox camping chairs).  Eventually a plan developed where we surfed the tidal race down to Cowan Cowan to look at the battlements before some of the more energetic Taran paddlers decided on a race home.  An afternoon spent chillin' led to more of the same in the evening.

Day 3 saw the wind come up from the North bringing 1-2 meters of waves, so with a beam wind we surfed our way back to Bribie getting some great runs.

Camping at Comboyuro Point gives you access to running water, toilets and cold showers, albeit with a bit of a walk, as well as access to the shops at Bulwer which is around a kilometer south of the camp grounds.  There are bins near the amenities so you don't need to carry your rubbish back to the mainland.

The 16 km crossing itself can be a little daunting for the novice.  At max tidal flow, the shipping channel runs at around 4 knots and I like to do the crossing around the top of an incoming tide as the banks will start to have breaking waves depending on the swell size on a low tide.  I do the crossing back at the start of the ebb tide, heading for the southern tip of Bribie and using the current to carry you northwards to Woorim. I recommend crossing at the M4 channel markers as it gives a clearly defined channel and you can wait for any ships to pass before crossing.  Timing for the crossing will depend on the average paddling speed of the group.

There is always the barge of shame if you want to paddle around the inside of Moreton without the risk of the crossing.  Paddle with the tide as the tidal flow near the island can flow at around 3.5 knots according to the charts but local knowledge would set the figure higher at various points.


  1. Hi can you get to Moreton by ferry with kayaks, no vehicle. I know i could navigate the crossing but my wife and 3 year old would struggle. I curious about spending 2 or 3 nights paddling around Moreton, camping on the island, doing some diving. I would not want to bring a vehicle and only bring my 2 kayaks. Is this possible???

  2. We have put our 6m double and trolley on the vehicular ferry finding a camp base at Comboyuro. Fantastic paddling.- check if they still allow kayaks.