For Dan Owbridge, owner of the One Tree Canoe Company, trees are more than bark and leaves. Trees are a symbol of everything that he holds dear; his tree change to Somerset, his family tree and his ‘One Tree’ philosophy.
DESCRIBE ONE TREE CANOE COMPANY
To put it simply, One Tree Canoe Company create classic Australian made canoes. We specialise in manufacturing fibreglass canoes and pride ourselves on offering high quality products to our customers. We also offer canoe hire and paddling tour services. We are constantly amazed by the natural beauty of the Somerset bushland and take great pride sharing this with visitors to the region.
WHAT MAKES ONE TREE CANOE COMPANY UNIQUE?
One Tree Canoe Company is the only manufacturer of fibreglass canoes in Australia. You could say we’re the last man standing. There aren’t many canoe manufactures left in the business, and the existing ones only produce plastic canoes, not fibreglass. Our canoes vary in length from 11 to 18 feet and we can customise them to suit your needs. It’s the little personal touches that make our canoes so unique, we can alter colour, add accessories or customise the fit out and seat size. We can make the perfect fibreglass canoe for just about anyone!
WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT WORKING AT THE ONE TREE CANOE COMPANY?
We’re a little family owned company who like to have fun in the great outdoors. As a young family ourselves, we understand the importance of spending quality time together away from work and technology. Our business offers us the opportunity to do what we love the most, get back to nature and have adventures on the water with our family.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO CANOEING?
I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “today I’m going to start a canoeing business”. Canoeing has been a part of my life since I was a child. I grew up on a rural property in central Queensland. When I was about nine years old, my father bought my little brother and I our first canoe. Canoeing has been a major part of our family ever since, and is something that I have passed onto my own children. I often joke that if you look at our family tree, it would be shaped like a canoe. It was my father who fostered my love for canoeing and the great outdoors and I will be forever grateful to him for it.
WHY DO YOU LOVE SOMERSET?
I love canoeing and Somerset is an absolute gold mine when it comes to canoeing spots. In fact, we were living in the suburbs in Brisbane and running our business from there. Every weekend we found ourselves, packing up the car and heading to Somerset for a paddle. There’s Lake Wivenhoe, Lake Somerset, O’Sheas Crossing, Savages Crossing, Twin Bridges, the Brisbane River and all the other little hidden gems along the creeks and rivers. Not only is there variety, there’s also adventure, especially when the water levels are high. There’s nothing like the rush of riding the current along the winding creeks and rivers in Somerset. We just fell in love with the place, and decided to pack up and permanently relocate to this beautiful region. We’ve never looked back since.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ON YOUR ONE TREE CANOE JOURNEY?
I’m a self-confessed nature addict, and every time I paddle down the streams of Somerset, I am in awe of the magnificent flora and fauna. Along my canoeing journeys through Somerset I’ve spotted the most fantastic array of native Australian wildlife. I’ve seen sea eagles, mullet, lung fish, platypuses, cormorants and kites. I will never forget the day I found a young Whistling Kite stranded on a log in a creek. It appeared to have been there for quite some time and was very distressed. I coaxed it onto the front of my canoe and paddled it to safety on the shore. This close encounter with such a beautiful Australian creature is something that will stay with me all my days.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO NAME YOUR BUSINESS ONE TREE CANOE?
The One Tree name is very special to us. Originally when I came up with the concept, I was a single parent, the ‘One Tree’, looking to share my love for the great outdoors with my children. I wanted to spend real quality time with my kids and give them experiences that were meaningful and memories that would last them for a lifetime. Through canoeing trips, I could do this. There’s something very special about canoeing that brought us together. We could ditch the distractions like TV and technology because when we were out on the water, it was just us, and the magnificent world around us. Today, I’m thankful to say that I am no longer a single parent, I guess you could say I met my ‘One Tree’ love. We purchased our 20 acres of paradise along the Brisbane River nestled between Fernvale and Lowood and love the life we have created here for our family. Funnily enough, in the centre of our back yard, stands a gigantic Jacaranda, our ‘One Tree’. It’s our daily reminder of where we’ve come from and what’s important, family. The brand isn’t just a name, it’s our ‘One Tree’ philosophy.