Sunday 4 May 2014

Kayaking from Fernvale to Kholo Road Bridge

So what do you do when you want to get a 40 km training paddle in and the weather has a strong wind warning current blowing directly off shore?  Our plan was to grab our sea kayaks and head inland to the upper reaches of the Brisbane River and paddle from the Twin Bridges at Fernvale down to Kholo Road Bridge.

I haven't done this paddle since the January 2011 floods which destroyed a lot of property and changed the layout of the Brisbane River.  The damage is still evident today with debris being wrapped around trees over 25 metres above the current level of the river, as well as some massive changes to the layout of the river.

We had a 2 km/hr flow assisting us through the broader reaches of the river, compressing to form some minor rapids. The plot below marks (pins 012 - 018) the places where we had to walk our boats around shallow rapids or log jams.  There were a number of other rapids where we probably should have walked our kayaks rather than leaving rub marks/scratches on our gelcoat (and I was trying to be careful with my new boat!).

 The paddle took us around 6 hours including breaks and the numerous stops we had to walk our kayaks, not to mention the amazing wildlife viewing opportunities that presented themselves. An inventory of wildlife goes like this:
  • Azure Kingfishers;
  • Forest Kingfishers;
  • Kookaburras;
  • Galahs;
  • Cookatoos;
  • Wedgetail Eagles;
  • Sea Eagles;
  • Brahminy Kites;
  • Various other Kites and Eagles;
  • Around 5 different types of Cormorants;
  • Grey and White Herons;
  • Pelicans;
  • Turtles (lots!);
  • Water Dragons;
  • Fish;
  • etc....
The floods have fixed the Hyacinth weed problem and there is no longer a need to do the longer portage between the Twin Bridges and Savages Crossing.  I did notice a few bits of floating Hyacinth so no doubt over time it will start to build up again at the log jams.

This is a beautiful part of the river system and an interesting paddle apart from the the last two long stretches before the pumping station (near Kholo Road Bridge).  An old kayak or a plastic might be a better option as you will bounce over a few rocks and logs through the narrow sections.

Some images and footage from the paddle.

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