Residents and travelers to the south eastern corner of Queensland are in luck. Brisbane and the Gold Coast have amazing locations for stand up paddle boarding. Whether you’re looking to have a quick morning paddle, or keen to spend the day on your stand up paddleboard, there is somewhere for you.
Northern Brisbane SUP Locations
Most of Brisbane’s northern beaches and waterways receive shelter from Moreton Island. This creates open beaches, sheltered coves and estuaries where paddle boarders can explore tiny islands and rare species of marine and bird life.
Bongaree Beach – Bribie Island
Once you cross the bridge at Sandstone Point onto Bribie Island, you’ll find Bongaree Beach only a short walk to your south. Enjoy clean white sand and scenery from both sides of the Pumice Stone Passage. This relaxing beach receives a nice cool breeze that’s refreshing on a hot day, but not strong enough to make stand up paddle boarding difficult.
It’s a great place to spend a day with friends. The waterfront has picnic shelters, BBQ’s and tables. There’s also a jetty that’s popular for fishing and dive bombing.
Pumice Stone Passage
The Pumice Stone Passage is a narrow, shallow estuary, separating Bribie Island from the mainland. It’s 35 kilometres long and contains many small islands, mangroves, salt marshes, sand dunes, sand flats and mud flats. It’s sheltered and not overly deep.
This region is protected by three international environmental treaties as it hosts thousands of migratory birds which fly in from Siberia, China and Mongolia. You might also be lucky enough to see a turtle, dolphin or dugong.
There are many beaches along the way where you can start and complete your stand up paddle board trip. A popular trip is to start at the bottom of the passage at Bongaree Beach, then paddle north exploring Toorbul and Little Goat Island and finishing at Donnybrook.
Scarborough Beach is situated on the northern tip of the Redcliffe Peninsula, making this a more accessible option for stand up paddle board enthusiasts travelling from the centre of Brisbane.
This picturesque Norfolk Pine lined beach has calm waters which are popular with beginner stand up paddle boarders and those who would rather enjoy the scenery than fight waves.
Central Brisbane SUP Locations
Fortunately you don’t have to travel far to find some calm water for stand up paddle boarding in Brisbane.
You may be looking to go stand up paddle boarding first thing in the morning, maybe in place of your morning run or gym session. Brisbane River is the close and convenient option which many city living locals take to at the start of their day.
This river zig-zags it’s way through the city, past parks, golf courses and cafes. If you get tired you can always stop off at your favourite café.
Southern Brisbane SUP Locations
South of the city, you’ll find beaches and islands which are easily accessible and remarkably well sheltered from the elements.
Coochiemudlo Island is located in Redland Bay, a haven for SUP enthusiasts in the southern parts of Brisbane. Redland Bay is sheltered between North Stradbroke Island and the mainland, creating ideal year-round conditions for stand up paddle boarding.
The closest access point is from Victoria Point, which is approximately one kilometre away. However, once you reach “Coochie”, you’ll be amazed at how clean and quiet it is. You’ll feel like your somewhere far more remote!
The island is five square kilometres in size, and has beaches to explore on the north, east and southern faces. Keep your eyes peeled for crabs, sea eagles, bush curlews, turtles, dugongs and dolphins. If you’re really lucky, you may even see a whale or two.
North Stradbroke Island
Known to locals as “North Straddie”, this island has a few hidden gems that’ll keep SUP fans happy in almost any weather conditions.
In calmer conditions, try Flinders Beach. This is an open, less sheltered beach, but the scenery makes it worth a look. Bright blue water and wide sand makes this the best ocean paddle boarding experience you’ll find in the Brisbane area.
If Flinders Beach is a bit breezy or choppy, try Adam’s Beach. This is on the sheltered western side facing into the southern end of Moreton Bay. This quiet beach is only 700 metres long and surrounded by coastal vegetation and forest.
Then there are the lakes. Blue Lake (also known by its traditional name of Karboora) has deep blue water which must be seen to be believed. You will need to carry your SUP 2.5 kilometres along a track through the woodlands to get here, but it’ll be worth it. There’s also Brown Lake, which is brown not from mud and silt, but from the tannins of the surrounding tea trees.
These lakes have cultural significance for the Quandamooka people, so please be respectful and take your rubbish with you.
Unlike Brisbane, which receives shelter from Morton Island and North Stradbroke Island, the Gold Coast beaches are more open and exposed. Some experienced stand up paddle boarders will ride waves with the surfers, but most will seek the many estuaries which zig-zag through high rise apartments, waterfront mansions and lead on to small quiet beaches and forest.
Currumbin Creek starts from the sometimes sheltered/sometimes wavey coastal beach ‘The Alley’. The 14 kilometre return journey takes you from the coast, into a sparkling blue estuary past sprawling waterfront mansions to quiet sandy beaches and eventually finishes in beautiful untarnished rainforests.
Once you’ve finished your journey, relax at the Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club or one of the other great eateries in the area.
The first thing that most people think about when the Gold Coast is mentioned, is the glitzy beachfront strip filled with nightclubs and high-rise hotels. However there is some beautiful nature here that can be best explored from your stand up paddle board.
Tallebudgera Creek starts between the Burleigh Heads National Park and Palm Beach. This estuary is very calm and sheltered and is lined with coastal vegetation and small sandy beaches to explore. It provides an experience you would expect to find in a location far more remote!
Quick Tips before you head out on the water
Wear a hat and slap on some sunscreen. This area receives plenty of sun all year round. And if you don’t yet have a stand up paddle board, take a look at our SUP buyer’s guide.