Blog

Queens Lake Nature Reserve


No Comments

Last Thursday five of us enjoyed a beautiful paddle from Queens Lake Nature Reserve.

The weather was perfect & we launched from the picnic area at what we now call ‘Bob’s Creek’s little brother’. This is a pretty little paddle but very short due to fallen timber. Once in the water we veered right & paddled around the perimeter of Queens Lake, enjoying the tall trees rising up alongside us & the occasional rocky outcrop occupied by cormorants. There were lots of black swans on the lake & their cries are always a bit haunting as they drift across water. The entrance to the ‘real’ Bob’s Creek came into view & we turned into it. This is a lovely paddle, not quite as long, wide or open as Herons Creek, but with some real highlights including some huge sunken trees which, while not a threat to our kayaks, looked stunning with the sunlight illuminating them in the relatively shallow water. The trees along the banks were beautiful as was the whole atmosphere of the creek, as well as Mother Nature’s landscaping features here & there. After coming to a stop at a tree across the creek, we headed back & paddled out across the lake to the entrance to Herons Creek. The lake was calm & picturesque, a panoramic landscape of distant mountains with water in the foreground. The swans were gliding elegantly all around us & there was one lone cormorant perched on a solitary twig like branch in the middle of nowhere; it certainly found it’s very own personal space! After enjoying the wide open spaces we headed back on an angle across the lake & back to the picnic area having spent a very pleasant two hours exploring. As the Water Rat said to Mole in ‘The Wind in the Willows’…”Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”.

One of the other lovely features of this paddle is the drive in to the picnic area off Bob’s Creek Rd. It is a dirt road in good condition flanked by magnificent tall timber which gives it a real forest feel. The picnic area itself is in a stunning location with views across the lake towards Laurieton.

Thanks to Peter, Carolyn & Bruce for joining us.

Cheers
Caroline

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blog

Connection Creek to the Upper Maria


No Comments

Hi everyone,

Last Tuesday our paddle converted from Connection Creek to the Upper Maria…total serendipity as it turned out.  Bill always does a quick check in the hope that we can navigate this part of the river once again, & this time he hit the jackpot. We have not been able to paddle up here any distance for some years due to fallen timber & narrow sections choked with water rushes etc. It was a bonus as neither Greg or David had been up here before, & it did not disappoint.

The drive up Maria River Rd. was dusty & the atmosphere heavy with recent bushfire haze, but this cleared as the morning progressed into a glorious day.
We paddled up with no serious obstacles to contend with & went a bit past the lovely deck where we have enjoyed a cuppa & rest stop in the past. The owner now has a lovely rustic sign which says ‘Visitors Welcome’, a pleasant change from ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted (or shot!!)’.

This paddle is special & I think it is because it still looks & feels like a wild, densely vegetated, untamed environment. The early wattles were in flower, there was a lot of birdsong up in the canopy, the elk ferns were abundant & the melaleucas with their peeling white bark were beautiful. When you have not done a particular paddle for awhile it is exciting to come across landmarks that jog your memory. The rusty, skeletal remains of ‘The George’, a little boat, were visible just below the surface where it was left to deteriorate & ultimately sink; the beautiful, winding water corridor flanked by feather duster topped grass plants, old trees with gnarled, white trunks & fallen branches now decorative landscape features in the river. On the top of one old tree trunk that had broken off, Greg spotted a sassy goanna with its tail hanging down. The elk ferns are still as numerous as before & the shadows & reflections amongst the trees were superb.

Back at the cars we enjoyed lunch & a cuppa & reflected on how beautiful this paddle is. Definitely back on the schedule.

Cheers
Caroline

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blog

Camden Haven River at Rossglen


No Comments

Hi everyone,

After a windy day last Saturday ( July 13 ), it was great to paddle out on the Sunday onto the calm waters of the Camden Haven River at Rossglen. The humour of the locals about their launching spot could be seen in the wording of their rustic sign which read:

“BEACH: CAFÉ COMING SOON” with an arrow pointing to the ‘ramp’ which has deteriorated considerably since our last visit….so thanks Ray, Bill & Richard & others who assisted with getting kayaks in & out.

We don’t often paddle this section of the Camden Haven which is a shame as there are lovely views of North Brother mountain as well as tall, graceful trees lining the banks. It has a bit of a Dreamtime feel about it. On our way down towards the lake I jokingly asked Martin ( who paddles here regularly ) if he had organised any sea eagles to do a fly over for us. Right on cue we heard, & then saw, a pair of beautiful white bellied sea eagles in a tree right in front of us. We wondered why they were making such a song & dance up on their perch but the answer, which was up above us, became clear almost immediately. Two wedge tailed eagles were on a reconnaissance mission. The sea eagles were most concerned about the presence in their territory of the wedgetails & were very vocal in their disapproval. The wedgetails, for their part, continued to be provocative by gliding, soaring & diving in the disputed airspace!! We paddled on, past little weekenders & the Oxenbridges property where we have enjoyed several great camps in the past. We veered left & Watson Tayloe Lake opened up before us. We pulled in for morning tea at the little sandy beach at the end of their property. From here we could enjoy the lake vistas over to North Brother & south towards Johns River. As it was a cool morning, it was nice to find a sunny patch to stand in. The scene was gorgeous with the sun glinting on the water. This spot is practically at the midway point of the lake & gives you a clear picture of the size of the lake area.

We paddled back steadily & negotiated the bank again. Thanks again for all the assistance here. After washing down our boats we found a lovely sunny spot to enjoy lunch.

Thanks to those 13 who came along; we hope you enjoyed your paddle.

Cheers
Caroline

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blog

Queens Lake


No Comments

Hi everyone,

14 of us enjoyed a picturesque & tranquil paddle last Sunday which had a bit of everything starting with a beautiful 7 kms forest drive through soaring stands of timber to the wide expanses of Queens Lake & the more intimate environs of Bob’s & Limeburners Creeks which run off the lake.

The drive into Queens Lake Nature Reserve along Bob’s Creek Rd. is one of the nicest rural roads you could find & along the way are very interesting historical signs detailing the history of the area with photos of original settlers, their homes & other interesting memorabilia. Every now & again clusters of tall, white trunks of ghost gums stood out from the shade of the forested areas. All the trees are ram rod straight & tall, an indicator of what the original timber in the area must have been like. Glimpses of Bob’s Creek could be seen through the lower vegetation with the sun illuminating the tanin coloured water. When we pulled into the reserve the lake in all its glory was an enticing sight through the trees along the shore. It was a clear, calm winter morning & the view across the lake from the little timber jetty was breathtaking, with North Brother perfectly reflected straight across the lake. After unloading & launching we paddled to our left up Bob’s Creek until stopped by timber blockages. Although just a short paddle it was beautiful & very atmospheric with tall trees surrounding us on either side & Mother Nature’s landscaping all around us.

Back out of the creek we paddled around the northern perimeter of the lake, past little rocky headlands, enjoying the vista all around us. While the other side of the lake is comparatively flat, heavily timbered banks with rocky sections climb steeply upwards on this side. We paddled across the openings of two small bays before entering Limeburners Creek which was lovely & easy to navigate. Last time we were there the water was covered with a dense carpet of casuarina leaves which made paddling almost impossible. We managed to get all the way up the creek, once again enjoying all the timber surrounding us, before heading back with the wide open spaces of the lake stretching out ahead of us with clouds & North Brother perfectly reflected in the dead calm water. All in all a very pleasant two hour paddle in perfect conditions.

Back at the reserve we enjoyed a picnic lunch looking across the lake which was even more calm than when we were paddling.

The area around Queens Lake was declared open to free settlers & up to the 1850’s it remained the southern outpost of Port Macquarie with industries such as lime burning, cedar cutting & bush grazing being the main activities. In the late 1800’s the area was settled by a number of pioneer families, some of whose descendants are still in the district. They made their livelihood from timber. Trees were felled & conveyed to Herons Creek wharf & taken by steam punts to Laurieton. Eventually land was cleared & agriculture commenced with maize being the main crop. Gradually farming & dairying began. I have attached a photo of one of the original houses belonging to the Latham family.

If you are interested, take a drive out here, check our the historical signs & also take a detour down Roseneath Rd. which leads to Herons Creek Winery & the creek.

Thanks everyone for joining us & we hope you enjoyed the morning.

Cheers
Caroline

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Blog

Saltwater Creek & Lagoon at South West Rocks


No Comments

Well the rain held off long enough for Bill V, Bill & myself to enjoy a very special paddle last Sunday on Saltwater Creek & Lagoon at South West Rocks.

This unassuming little creek is accessed from the beach just below the surf club & is a real gem. It is one of 130 estuaries in NSW & is classed as an ICOLL (Intermittently Closed & Open Lake or Lagoon ). Estuaries like this ( & Killick Creek at Crescent Head ) form the foundation of the coastal food chain & provide important habitats for a variety of marine & terrestrial plants & animals. There are 24 naturally occurring vegetation communities in this area.

The water is a darkish colour as a result of tanin from the melaleuca & other trees growing along the creek, & sometimes in inundated areas. It contrasts with the pale sand & rocks of the beach at its opening. Dunes & rising, sometimes rocky terrain features on the eastern side of the creek with flat areas on the town side. Initial views up towards Arakoon & the hills disappear as the trees close in, only to open up again when you emerge into the lagoon with Hat Head National Park in the distance.

Back in the creek the melaleucas have to be the contortionists of the tree world. Twisted trunks with flaking bark &  buckled boughs reach out across the water like bleached skeletons. Tall feathery topped grasses swayed in the breeze, forming moving corridors while the more rigid grass of the saltgrass meadows formed a dense carpet in places. We paddled under three footbridges & easily manoeuvred our way through the  arbour, enjoying the reflections, the seclusion & the myriad shapes of the fallen trees…a gallery of timber sculptures. I spotted several azure kingfishers darting through the foliage as well as groups of ducks & a lone swan trying to keep ahead of us. As we emerged onto the lagoon, which was teeming with birdlife, we encountered at least 30 black swans. But my biggest thrill was sighting a cormorant rookery on one of the little islands. I almost missed it as their nests & the birds themselves were perfectly camouflaged in the maze of white, bare branches of drowned trees.
We spent about two hours paddling along the creek & around the lagoon, exploring all the little ponds & shallow areas. It is an oasis in what is a popular sea change township.

After our paddle we adjourned to a sunny table at an outdoor café on the main street & indulged in coffee & their all day breakfast.

Cheers
Caroline

This slideshow requires JavaScript.