Riverlife's Paddle & Prawns an oarsome Friday night out

Visit Brisbane's resident adventurer Graeme Wilson heads down to Riverlife at Kangaroo Point to find a gourmet paddling experience that really floats his boat.

Your working week is done and it’s time to celebrate, but you feel you’d really like to earn your food and drink.

Don’t stress, Riverlife has the perfect solution.

Its Friday Night Paddle & Prawns kayaking adventure gets you out and active on the Brisbane River and you’re rewarded at the end with buckets of ocean king prawns and ice-cold beers and wine.

The adventure begins and ends at Riverlife’s base at the Naval Stores at Kangaroo Point, and caters for both first-timers and those experienced in all thinks kayaking.

And it’s definitely not just for locals – it’s also a great way for visitors to enjoy a unique view of Brisbane.

Riverlife Padde and Prawns

An experienced guide accompanies the group (eight others shared my adventure) and full safety instructions are delivered as you grab a lifejacket before launching into the 90-minute paddle.

Fortunately, the jacket’s normally just a precaution and not actually utilised, but one unfortunate member of our group did take an early dip and was able to confirm our suspicions that the river water isn’t ideal for drinking.

He certainly wished he’d saved up his thirst for the beer at the end.
I was never really in danger of joining him for an unplanned swim, but as a novice paddler I’ll readily admit it did take me a few minutes to get comfortable on the water and find my rhythm.

But once I felt balanced and at one with my new craft, any early nerves disappeared and I literally sat back and soaked up the experience.

Yes, if like me your paddling technique isn’t even close to Olympic standards, it’s quite likely you’ll splash around a bit and get a little wet.

It’s all part of the fun!

Night kayak at Riverlife

Well and truly christened, you settle in and start to relax and enjoy your surroundings, and there was a unanimous expression of awe at the glittering lights of the city skyline and saturated colour as we ventured under the Story Bridge.

While not too physically taxing, our downstream paddle was into a steady incoming tide and there was some relief at reaching the Dockside turning point and heading for home with the current in our favour.

This is definitely not a race, and while natural competitive instincts occasionally kick in and you find yourself briefly testing your new-found technique against that of a fellow paddler, you quickly remember that the real end goal is relaxation.

I would definitely recommend taking your time and savouring every moment of this opportunity for a truly different view of the river and city skyline.

Riverlife paddle and prawns

It’s so much fun that the paddle’s over almost too soon, but once safely back on dry land attention quickly turns to the “prawns” part of the Paddle & Prawns adventure, and what awaits in the riverside marquee certainly doesn’t disappoint.

A candle-lit table is laden with buckets of fresh ocean king prawns, and a selection of beers and wines are available to quench that well-earned thirst.

Those city lights form a perfect background to this iconic Aussie dining experience, and it’s a great way to finish the evening.

For full details on this and other kayaking options available (apparently some people don’t enjoy prawns, beer, or wine … really?!) visit the Riverlife website.

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