Beginning at Mount Stanley, the Brisbane River is south east Queensland's longest river and flows 344km through Brisbane city and out into Moreton Bay. Named after Thomas Brisbane, the 1823 New South Wales Governor, by its first European explorer John Oxley, the Brisbane River is damned by the Wivenhoe Dam which forms Lake Wivenhoe, Brisbane's main water supply.
Extensive port facilities, known as the Port of Brisbane, were constructed on the Fisherman Islands and there are 16 major bridges that connect either side of the river. Opening in 2012, the Clem Jones Tunnel is the first road transport underground crossing and there are a number of pavements, walkways and boardwalks located along the banks of the Brisbane River.
The CityCats are the ferries that service the river, collecting and delivering passengers along the river's inner city reaches. A wonderful way to see the river, you can also kayak on the river, join a sightseeing cruise, enjoy lunch or dinner on board the iconic Kookaburra River Queen paddle wheeler or, if you're lucky enough to be in town in September, you can join in the week-long celebrations of Riverfestival, including the spectacular fireworks display of Riverfire.
Whilst there are many ways to enjoy the river, you are unable to swim in it. Aside from being a habitat for river cod, bull sharks and the rare Queensland lung fish, the water quality is not so good. Excess hydrocarbons, nutrients and pesticides flow off the surrounding land, washing concentrated sediment into the river. However, it remains an important ecological element with a number of mangrove populations exist in New Farm, Breakfast Creek, drainage culverts, a small preserve and the shipping terminals of Moreton Bay. Recently classified as protected nature reserves, these mangroves hold important environmental significance.