Kayak trips on the Brunswick River
Kayaking on the Brunswick River and local creeks is a great way to experience the local wildlife and sea birds. If you are looking for things to do around Brunswick Heads, here are a few self-guided kayak tours for you to consider.
Brunswick River Kayak Trip
This paddle can be structured either as a 10km one-way journey or a 20km return trip.
Suggested launch sites:
- End of Tweed St - beach east of Massey Green Caravan Park
- Mona Lane end of Memorial Park beach
- Boat ramp at the Fishermen's Co-op (can be slippery)
- Ramp at Ferry Reserve
- West of Ferry Reserve Caravan Park at Riverside Cr
Paddle west towards and under the bridge that carries the new Pacific Highway over the river. Shortly after the bridge is Mangrove Island. The deeper water is to the left, but a kayak or canoe can usually pass either side.
The scenery is excellent and you'll see many species of birds along the way. There are several opportunities to view Mt Chincogan and the Nightcap National Park Range. Most of the land along the main arm of the Brunswick River is privately owned, therefore customary access protocol is suggested.
There's really only one place where you could make a wrong turn and that's where King's Creek meets the river. This junction is approximately half way to Mullumbimby. Keep right to continue to Mullumbimby. As you get closer to town, you will pass under an historic railway bridge. This is part of a railway line from Casino to Murwillumbah that opened in 1894.
You will know you have reached Heritage Park when a small dirt boat ramp appears on your left. This is the more tranquil end of the park, but it is worth noting that the toilets are closer to another boat ramp at the far end, near Federation Bridge. Over 200 species of rainforest plants have been established and labelled in Heritage Park, providing an opportunity for an impromptu botanical lesson. A 10 minute walk into town will take you to cafes for a drink or bite before the return trip home.
Simpson's Creek Kayak Trip
The is a 16km return trip
Suggested launch site: Memorial Beach Park
Paddle east and take the first right hand turn into Simpson's Creek. After the wooden footbridge you enter into very interesting mangrove environs. When the water is clear you get a great view of all the marine life. Just past the Caravan Park on the right, bush regeneration work by the local Landcare Group is being undertaken to repair the riverbank erosion.
After about 5km the water becomes dark brown, stained from the oil from the Tea Tree (Melaleuca) forests. A small mangrove island will come into view after less than an hour's paddling. When the tide is relatively low, stay to the right to remain in the deep water. No tlong after the island and around the bend to the left you will arrive at a wide and quite shallow area of the creek.
If the tide is full, a small branch to the left, Morganson's Creek, is worthy of a short diversion, as it affords closer encounters with a wide range of animal life.
This is a beautiful wilderness paddle, and if tides are taken into consideration, it is possible to reach the Tyagarah airstrip before running out of water to paddle in. Along the way paddy melons can be seen grazing by the water's edge. Eastern water dragons are a very common sight and occasionally large monitors (goannas) can be seen moving along the banks or up trees. Bird life on this section is prolific with nectar feeding birds, water, wading and birds of prey species commonly sighted.
To reach the end of the navigable waters of the Simpson's Creek and return is a full day trip. For a half day trip stop on a flat sandy area on the west bank for a picnic (see map), or take the trip up Morganson's Creek. Be sure to catch the outgoing tide on the way back or you run the risk of dragging your canoe over the flats.
Marshall's Creek Kayak Trip
This is an easy 10km return trip.
Suggested return trip launch sites:
- End of Tweed St east of Massey Green Caravan Park
- Mona Lane end of Memorial Park
Paddle west in the river for a very short distance until you see the Marshall's Creek entry opposite the boat harbour. After entering, you will immediately pass a working oyster farm. The trip north winds around and goes underneath the Orana Bridge before a hard right turn brings you into a suburban area, New Brighton. Some properties back onto the creek at the point.
The creek then does a hard left and you will be literally alongside River St, which you can follow to the new Brighton Post Office. You can buy refreshments at the store or dine at the small cafe. It is possible to paddle further north but it is shallow, and you really need a high tide to avoid being stranded by the more shallow areas.
One-way Marshall's Creek flotilla
Launch opposite the New Brighton post office at high tide (see map for lag time). Enjoy a relaxing float and paddle downstream mostly over clear sand. This is a good trip for children as swimming is also possible most of the way. When the main river is reached, aim for Memorial Park but remember that the tide is going out. Allow approximately 3 hours for this float.