Wilson River

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Hi everyone,

Seven of us enjoyed perfect conditions on our Wilson River paddle last Sunday. The water was smooth as satin & a slightly overcast sky shed a different light on the riverscape, creating a different mood. This is a paddle where it does not have to be bright sunlight for it to be beautiful. A dull light seems to enhance the different hues of green & what some might pass off as ordinary becomes extraordinary by virtue of the light & shade, texture & composition.
There are some beautiful scenic stretches along the river’s course, ranging from the tall, vertical white trunks of the river gums which seem to march up the slopes, masses of cascading vines adorning some trees, grassy islands dotted here & there to the backdrop of darker green hills which seem to wrap around the river.

With a good run in tide we had no trouble negotiating the shallows above the cluster of little grassy outcrops round about the half way mark. This is such a pretty part of the river & it was nice to just be able to soak it all up without scouting around all the time for rocks beneath the kayaks! I was surprised how overgrown our regular morning tea/swimming spot has become with most of the river rocks at the water’s edge camouflaged by grasses & weeds. While most got out for a leg stretch, Stephen, Bill V & myself pushed on through a few obstacles & were rewarded with the call of bellbirds, cows that looked like they had been painted into the landscape & some lovely reflections. It feels wonderfully remote up here & as Stephen commented it is these extra experiences that make it all so worthwhile. I spotted some delicate little waterlily flowers nestling atop giant lily pads; they had fringed edges, almost like some orchids. Our paddle back to Tele Point was just as enjoyable with the sound of birdsong up in the trees, a light breeze & sunlight throwing a spotlight on the white tree trunks. Bill W was waiting for us, enjoying a cup of coffee & the weekend papers after paddling up from Riverside. The day had warmed up & we had lunch under the picnic shelter.

Thanks Stephen for leading this paddle.

A little bit of information on the Wilson River & Telegraph Point for those who are interested.

The Wilson River rises on the south east slopes of Mount Banda Banda in Willi Willi National Park flowing south east to its confluence with the Maria River near Telegraph Point. It is 69 kms long & descends 559m. It is named after Lieutenant W.E.B Wilson, engineer & inspector of works with the first settlement in Port Macquarie. Telegraph Point gets its name from the telegraph line which crossed the river in 1869. The river played an important role in the logging of the surrounding forest & there are the remains of several old wharves, the most well know being Log Wharf after which the reserve is named. The first land grants issued in the area (the region was formerly known as ‘Prospect’ ) were in 1832. The present day bridge over the Wilson & above the reserve at Telegraph Point replaced an old single lane timber bridge. There also used to be a railway station at Tele Point but it was closed in February 1983.


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Stingray Creek, North Haven

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Our paddle last Saturday was on Stingray Creek, North Haven.

Twelve of us enjoyed the morning on the water & Greg led us on a different route, veering west to explore a large, meandering lagoon then rejoining the creek for awhile before veering west again into another large bay just before the entrance to Queens Lake. A good run in tide enabled us to paddle these large, expanses of water, the first home to lovely sandy shallows which nurture juvenile & sapling mangroves, the second sheltering oyster leases.
Stingray Creek is part of the Camden Haven river system. The Camden Haves rises in the Great Escarpment & Comboyne Plateau & flows east for 72.4kms, descending 698m. It is described as a small but scenic river which broadens considerably as it nears the coast. It becomes part of an expansive & interesting waterways system including Watson Taylor Lake. It then joins water from Queens Lake, travels through North Haven & Dunbogan before entering the Pacific Ocean at Camden Head. It is referred to in Wikipedia as ” an open & trained intermediate wave dominated estuary”.

We started our paddle under the ‘new’ North Haven Bridge over Stingray Creek. This bridge cost $26 million to construct & was officially opened to traffic in February 2017. The original bridge over the creek was built in 1925 & was described as a “pack-horse” punt pulled by hand. After this old punt sank, travelling to & from Laurieton reverted to a rowing boat until 1931 when the Humpty Back Bridge was opened to the public.

Our paddle was very easy on the eye & some enclosed sections were quite ‘dreamtime’ with tree covered hills in the background descending down to lower areas of different  vegetation types. There were some lovely old mangrove trees along the way & shallows dominated by  mazes of the pale, spindly trunks of younger trees. Despite knowing that the local suburbs were just behind the tree line, you could feel a quiet solitude & sense of isolation in many sections with simply trees, water & hills all around you.

After exiting the second bay area we headed back up the creek, past two little side creeks which lead back to the lake but were too shallow to navigate. We pulled up for a leg stretch next to one of these creeks on a lovely sandy spot with a grassy area, shade & lovely views back up the main creek. Several black swans were gliding around & I spotted a beautiful white bellied sea eagle surveying our progress from on high. Bill checked out the lake but it was too shallow to get around to Limeburners without going right out towards the centre.
After loading kayaks etc back at the bridge we headed to the café under the North Haven Surf Club where we enjoyed ocean side refreshments of coffee & a variety of burgers which were very generous in their proportions!!

Thanks Greg for leading this paddle & showing us a different part of Stingray Creek.


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