kayak

Pipers Creek


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Hi everyone,
Our Pipers Creek paddle on Sunday 16 December was picture postcard material. The overcast sky & light rain served to enhance its appeal as it is a paddle that is beautiful either drenched in dappled sunlight or tinged with more sombre hues. It is such a stress busting paddle & the seven of us who paddled thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
We paddled north first, flanked by tall  trees rising in layers up banks carpeted with leaf litter, bark & ground covers. We wound our way along enjoying the relative solitude & natural beauty until we were stopped before the bridge by a fallen tree which we could not get around. As we paddled back a light rain started to fall, the water droplets bouncing off the surface of the creek. We ventured up Smiths Creek, only to find our path blocked yet again by another fallen tree. We decided to paddle down towards the Maria River & were rewarded with beautiful floating outcrops of blue waterlilies, all in flower. Their colour was a standout against the overcast day & the green vegetation.
After meandering down about half way we headed back to the reserve & managed to wash the kayaks & load up & settle in under the picnic shelter for lunch before the rain returned.
Thanks to those who joined us & to Barry for leading the paddle.
Cheers
Caroline

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Killick Creek


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Eighteen of us enjoyed a leisurely paddle around Killick Creek at Crescent Head last Sunday.
I drove up via Maria River Rd. where it was lovely to see paddocks dotted with beautiful Christmas Bells which were being hand harvested.
There have been a few changes since we last paddled this estuary, the most noticeable being the emergence of a large sandbar right in front of where we turn into the main creek from the Reserve. Even though we paddled up the little creek to our left first, we still grappled with very shallow water getting across in the creek proper.
I always love this paddle which is memorable for the wonderful twisted shapes of the old melaleuca trees with their gnarled trunks & contorted limbs, peeling bark as well as those fallen trees, still majestic & eye catching. It is pleasant paddling behind the sand dunes, listening to the roar of the surf & the pounding of the waves in the background. A  nor’ easter was up which kept us cool as we paddled up the longer creek, nosed into a few shallow bays & dead ends & continued as far as we could go up the main creek, enjoying the scenery & the relaxing nature of this area.

After navigating our way back through the shallows, hugging the bank, we enjoyed a picnic lunch under the trees in the shade.
Thanks to everyone for coming along.
Cheers
Caroline

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Brimbin Nature Reserve


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Hi everyone,
Our paddle last Thursday on the upper Dawson River from Brimbin Nature Reserve was like being plunged into scenery from The Lord of the Rings. This is a magic area, a small stretch of water hidden from time & ‘progress’. Sheltered by towering trees & situated for the most part well down below the reserve, looking from above it was like peering into a well camouflaged gorge. Getting in to it was a bit of a challenge for some vehicles as the road is not well maintained, which is a shame, as the facilities in the reserve are immaculate.
The area itself has that timeless feel to it with winding bush pathways snaking down to the creek, rocky outcrops & general seclusion…all the ingredients for an atmospheric paddling experience.
It took us awhile to get onto the water as we had to wheel, carry or slide our kayaks down a track before launching from the pontoon. It was lovely on the water but unfortunately large rocky outcrops thwarted our progress up Tommy Owens Creek. I half expected to see Gollum (Lord of the Rings) scampering over the rocks looking for his “precious”. We explored as much of this creek & another branch as we could before paddling back down the top end of the Dawson which is very beautiful.
Brimbin is an Aboriginal word derived from ‘Boremit’ meaning stringy bark, a tree common in the reserve. The area is of significance to the Biripi people. There are a large range of plant communities in the reserve & many birds including waterbirds, raptors, woodland & sea birds as well as the largest owl in Australia, the Powerful Owl. There are lovely views down to the water from the reserve & several walking tracks. One of the walks, Mrs. Kelly’s, begins at Tommy Owens Crossing, passes through a dense area of swamp oaks & follows part of the Old Port Macquarie Rd. In the 1820’s this historic route allowed bullock drawn vehicles to cross the Dawson & continue to Port Macquarie. The track is named after Isabella Kelly, New South Wales’ only independent female colonial settler. Parts of Brimbin were originally the Travelling Stock Route of a stock camp sold in the 1960’s. Old Port Maacquarie Rd. follows a section of that track.
After paddling around peacefully for an hour or more we returned to the pontoon & got ourselves & our kayaks back up the track. Thanks everyone for helping out. After loading up we headed into Wingham for a lovely lunch at The Garden Grub café.
Despite a few challenges, I am glad we explored this picturesque & historic part of the Dawson River. Thanks to those who joined us on this exploratory outing.
Cheers
Caroline & Bill

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Dawson River


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Hi everyone,
After a not very promising start marked by a brief shower, six of us set out from the wharf at Cundletown last Sunday to paddle the Dawson River. (On the way down we dropped in at the Cattai Wetlands to check on the waterlilies which were in full bloom. If you have never seen them/wetlands now is the perfect time; pick a sunny day for the best colour).
It was only the second time we have paddled the Dawson & it was very rewarding. The short option is no longer available so it ended up being about 20kms return up to Brimbin Nature Reserve & back. Up at the reserve the river links up with Tommy Owens Creek & it is sublime; creeky, secluded & a bit other worldly, the river twisting & turning while the trees tower overhead in a canopy like effect shutting out a lot of daylight. We plan to go back & explore this top end on a good high tide as it abounds with natural beauty & birdlife. It is a hidden gem.
We set off on the Manning River & veered right into the Dawson which is quite wide in its lower reaches. It is flanked by wonderful tall stands of casuarinas, supported by both river & grey mangroves. We enjoyed tide assistance & the wind (what there was of it ) was not an issue. In some sections the water was dead calm. The further upriver we paddled the more birdlife I was aware of. I spotted six azure kingfishers & many other small birds I could not identify. As we got closer to Brimbin the river narrowed & the trees closed in around us; it was a lovely experience, like being swallowed up into a secret world. A pontoon signalled we had arrived & we secured our kayaks & wound our way up the pathway to the picnic area which we had to ourselves. There are some lovely short walks from here through the reserve to vantage points over the water.
After lunch & a bit of a stroll to stretch our legs, we headed back down river. Closer to Cundletown Bill organised us into a ‘conga line’ to practise wash riding, a valuable skill to learn to assist with fatigue/bad conditions.
After washing & loading the kayaks we headed to The Other Side Café for a well deserved coffee & cake! It felt strange making our entrance from the car park instead of Ghinni Ghinni Creek.
The area around Brimbin was used by the Birpai as a major transport route as there is a reliable crossing over the Dawson above tidal influences. It was also similarly used by the early settlers. The reserve covers 50 acres & trees within it include grey gum, grey ironbark, broad leaved white mahogany, white stringybark, tallowwood, forest redgum, turpentine & pink bloodwoods. It also has narrow leaved redgums..an important food & habitat for koalas.
Thanks to those who joined us; hope you enjoyed the paddle.
Cheers
– Caroline & Bill

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Limeburners Environs


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Hi everyone,
Two groups each comprising six kayakers enjoyed lovely paddles in the Limeburners environs last Sunday.
Greg led the first group over from Settlement Point to explore all the little bays & they paddled across the top lake to the entrance to the creek & then back via the western edge of the lake. They had a break at Tom Dick’s Hole which is the cleanest I have seen it for quite awhile.
The other group paddled across the top lake, down Limeburners Creek & onto Saltwater Lake at the far end.
The creek was beautiful & secluded with a varying landscape that included shrubby mangroves spilling into the water, lanky casuarinas, meadows of grasses & dense, bushy sections alive with birdsong. There are some massive elk ferns up in the canopy & some baby ones establishing themselves on fallen tree trunks.
We moved along briskly with tide assistance & no obstacles; fallen trees & other debris have been removed so it was plain sailing with only a few tight turns to negotiate.
Much to our sadness, we found the old scout camp had been burnt down! However, a new structure has been erected & it looks like a work in progress. We went past it & stopped a bit further on for morning tea. As we were ahead of the tide it was a bit difficult getting out: Ken decided to have his on his own private ‘island in the stream’ on a bit of a sandbar.
We kept going, heading for Saltwater Lake. Last time we were stopped just short of it by a fallen tree, so it was great that Bill V & Colin actually got to reach it this time. We paddled out onto the lake & around the island in very shallow water before heading back up the creek to the camp for lunch. Once here we had a chance to check out the new camp structure. Ken & Colin got comfortable on two banana lounges while the rest of us sat on makeshift benches. The ground was covered in the softest green groundcover; you could have laid down on it quite easily.
After a nice break we set off again, with the tide still coming in. However, the paddle back was lovely as we glided through tunnel like sections where the trees arched above us creating both shade & shadows. The light is muted in these sections & creates a very calming atmosphere. There is always something to catch your eye, from darting azure kingfishers, magnificent elk ferns, spear flowers & the vibrant green of new grasses. I was thrilled to spot some outcrops of thumbnail orchids. These delicate little flowers do not jump out at you, but once the eye gets used to where to look for them, you start to spot them everywhere..little floral pixies of the forest.
We arrived back at the top lake where the breeze was welcome as it can get quite warm in the confines of the creek. Back at Tom Dick’s Hole we parted company with Stephen, Colin, Ken & Bill who faced some choppy water just around the corner & on their way back across to Settlement Point.
Thanks Greg for leading the shorter option, Bill W for the longer one & Stephen for leading across & back from Settlement.
We hope you enjoyed your paddles.
Cheers
– Caroline

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