Illawarra & South Coast

Want to know the best places to go kayaking, canoeing, and stand up paddleboarding in the Illawarra and South Coast regions of New South Wales? These guides are free for Global Paddler members and yearly memberships are available now from the Global Paddler online store. To download a detailed trip description for a great paddling destination with photos, paddle map, GPS coordinates, fishing information, and recommended places to eat, drink and stay the night, simply click on its name in the table below.

Boots Great Outdoors Ulladulla

Trip Locator Map for Illawarra & South Coast Regions

1. Douglas Park It speaks volumes of Douglas Park that Major Thomas Mitchell, who led three extensive surveying explorations of eastern Australia and therefore knew better than most what this part of the country had to offer, chose to build a mansion right here. Douglas Park truly is an extraordinary place.
2. Koong Burry Bay Koong Burry Bay is the hub of an adventure which explores two secluded creeks, circumnavigates two amazing islands, takes in a World War II installation, visits an inspirational “Place of Healing”, and even offers the possibility of a paranormal experience with a couple of ghosts.
3. Minnamurra River The Minnamurra River is a degustation menu of delectable delights that should be sampled and savoured slowly. Speed is not of the essence if you want to experience, understand, and appreciate everything this remarkable place has to offer.
4. Bundanoon Creek Bundanoon Creek is to spectacular Shoalhaven Gorge what Pippa Middleton is to her sister Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and future Queen of England. She may not be as famous but she definitely has something that captures the attention of everyone who sees her.
5. Shoalhaven Gorge The hardest thing about writing a guide for this place is doing it justice. There’s something very special about Shoalhaven Gorge – a communion with nature that rejuvenates your spirit and makes your heart sing.
6. Broughton Creek Broughton Creek has a paddling history that is hard to beat. The Thurawal people who were here 20,000 years ago were admired for their canoeing ability, the first European came by canoe, and until very recently it hosted a marathon paddling every year.
7. Comerong Island Comerong Island is home to a nature reserve which protects remarkable mangrove forests, abundant oysters in important reefs and productive farms, scores of native shorebirds, and one of Australia’s largest summer gatherings of migratory wading birds. It’s a great place to disappear for a few hours.
8. Crookhaven River The Crookhaven River is a quiet estuary in the Shoalhaven that excels at producing delicious oysters and so much more. The Shoalhaven River gets the lion’s share of the region’s limelight but the Crookhaven River is a significantly greater contributor than its humble demeanour suggests.
9. Coonemia Creek One person’s hidden gem is another person’s sparkling showpiece. So it is with Coonemia Creek. If you are a visitor to the area, this lovely waterway in Jervis Bay National Park is probably not the first paddling place you will discover. If you are a local, it is bound to be one of your favourites.
10. Currambene Creek Currambene meanders slowly through mangroves, saltmarshes, and waterside villages en route to its meeting with picture perfect Jervis Bay at Huskisson. It has a calm unhurried approach that is thankfully very contagious.
11. Wandandian Creek This is a waterway with an air of mystery that is hard to resist. Its single public appearance is for travellers on the Princes Highway near Jervis Bay, where it reveals nothing of its future or its past, saying only that its name is Wandandian – the home of lost lovers.
12. Sussex Inlet Sussex Inlet is a lovely winding waterway that connects St Georges Basin with Wreck Bay on the coast. On this paddle, you trace its path and follow canals into Sussex Inlet the town for an inside look at the daily lives of locals.
13. Swan Lake Featuring the natural bushland setting of Conjola National Park, sheltered creeks, soft sandy beaches, scores of black swans, and some of the most impressive sand dunes in southern NSW, this is your next paddling holiday waiting to happen.
14. Lake Conjola The Conjola experience is so much more than just a paddle around a lake. This trip takes you up Conjola Creek to Fishermans Paradise and those who find the call of the ocean irresistible can even paddle out to catch a few waves.
15. Narrawallee Inlet A Narrawallee Inlet paddle is a meandering voyage through three strikingly different environments; the sandy lagoon, the nature reserve, and the farm. The ever changing scenery adds a definite “ooh… aah…” factor.
16. Stony Creek Stony Creek collects fresh clean rain water that falls south of Ulladulla and feeds it into Burrill Lake. The lake is familiar to most who have explored the NSW south coast, but the creek is a lovely hidden secret.
17. Burrill Lake When you just can’t decide whether your perfect paddling environment features the translucent turquoise shallows of a sandy seaside estuary or the tranquil depths and forested slopes of a drowned river valley, you need a place that has the best of both worlds. That place is beautiful Burrill Lake.
18. Lake Tabourie Lake Tabourie is a lovely coastal lagoon just south of Ulladulla. Glimpses of it from the Princes Highway are enough to tempt you in but glassy reflections of Pigeon House Mountain and the hidden treasures of its five creeks are what will keep you coming back for more.
19. Clyde River The Clyde River rises in the Budawangs west of Milton and runs through uninhabited forests and national parks to a meeting with the coast at Batemans Bay. These unspoilt surroundings mean that its waters are always exceptionally clean and wonderfully pure.
20. Durras Lake Pristine is a word that has lost value because it has been used far too liberally to describe less than perfect places, but there isn’t a worthy alternative so I am going to use it anyway. Perhaps more than any other lake in NSW, Durras deserves to be called pristine.
21. Tomaga River The Tomaga isn’t the longest river on the south coast but it packs a lot into a comparatively short distance. Rugged coastal rock formations, lush estuarine vegetation, oyster farms, grazing cattle and the delightful Mogo Zoo provide an ever changing backdrop for this very special trip.
22. Moruya The laid-back country town of Moruya reclines beside the river with two names. In the hills, where it is flowing and fresh, it is the Deua River. Near the coast, where it is salty and tidal, it is the Moruya River. This trail is an exploration of the Moruya River between the town and the tidal limit.
23. Coila Lake Coila means something different to everyone. To the Brinja Yuin people, it is a place of great cultural and spiritual significance. To geologists, it is the location of remarkable granite and basalt rock formations. To kids, it is the place where Granddad taught them how to catch prawns. What does it mean to you?
24. Tuross Lake Tuross Lake is scattered with islands protected by the Eurobodalla National Park. They combine to create a labyrinth of casuarina lined paddling corridors, alive with birds and decorated with staghorns and native orchids.
25. Bumbo Creek If you’ve ever heard of Bodalla, the mere mention of its name will send you running to the kitchen to look for the Jatz. Bodalla is famous for its cheese. However, there is another reason Bodalla should be celebrated and that is the Bumbo Creek paddle trail.
26. Wagonga Inlet The crystal clear and incredibly clean waters of Wagonga Inlet are not just perfect for growing oysters. They provide a fantastic view of Mother Nature’s extraordinary underwater show. Vast seagrass meadows and large groups of stingrays are wonderful highlights for the watchful.
27. Corunna Lake Corunna Lake is a pretty coastal lagoon south of Narooma set between the natural wonders of Eurobodalla National Park and the open pastures of peaceful Corunna farmland. The succulent cherry on this picturesque cake is an excellent winery right at the water’s edge.
28. Gulaga National Park Gulaga is a focal point in both the landscape of the NSW south coast and the creation story of the Yuin Aboriginal people. She watches closely over Wallaga Lake and keeps it safe by wrapping a gorgeous green blanket around its western shores.
29. Black Lagoon The movie Frozen increased tourism to Norway big-time. Braveheart supercharged Scotland’s visitor numbers. Sadly, Creature from the Black Lagoon was not as beneficial for this place but you should definitely still visit. This Black Lagoon is a sanctuary zone and all of its creatures are very nice.
30. Bermagui River There’s an unwritten law that says anyone who hears of a waterway with a name that refers to paddling must go paddling on it. The Bermagui River’s name is derived from the Aboriginal Dyirringanj word permageua which means canoe with paddles. Go on. Add it to your to do list.
31. Brogo Dam The highlights of Brogo Dam include incredible wildlife, striking geology, excellent fishing and the stunning backdrop of Wadbilliga National Park. It is also a rare opportunity to paddle on flat fresh water in the South Coast region of NSW. This is definitely not one to be missed.
32. Cuttagee Lake Cuttagee is the lake you paddle when you’re not paddling a lake. It is more like a collection of lovely lagoons and labyrinthine melaleuca-fringed creeks than a lake. Bring this guide and sense of adventure and you will discover so much more than you could ever read in a tourist brochure.
33. Wapengo Lake Oysters are valuable indicators of the purity of an aquatic environment because they filter and absorb their food directly from the water. The fact that multi award winning certified organic rock oysters are grown in Wapengo Lake is a sure sign that it is a wonderfully wholesome place to paddle.
34. Bega River The “magic of Bega” owes a lot to the presence of this river. Whilst these days there isn’t much water in it near the Bega township itself, the 11 kilometre stretch near the coast has plenty for this enchanting paddle.
35. Wallagoot Lake Wallagoot Lake is a wellness retreat that is just as nature intended. Expensive health spas promise to help you leave your cares behind, relax, rejuvenate, and float gently through life in total tranquility. Wallagoot can do that for you too, and it won’t cost you the earth.
36. Merimbula Lake Every now and again you find a paddling destination where it is clear that the community understands the awesomeness of paddle sports because they provide paddlers with everything they need to have a great time on the water. Merimbula is one of those destinations.
37. Pambula Lake Pambula Lake is the hub of an adventure which allows you to glide through the delightful Ben Boyd National Park, sample delicious rock oysters, and explore the undeniably de-lovely Pambula and Yowaka Rivers. In the immortal words of Cole Porter, “It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.”
38. Towamba River Estuary The Towamba River estuary is best known for the historic Davidson Whaling Station at its ocean entrance but this is also a place with a gorgeous geographical and geological setting and a feeling of rugged remoteness that combine to create a truly extraordinary paddle trail.
39. Wonboyn Lake Wonboyn Lake is cocooned in rugged wilderness perfectly preserved by Ben Boyd National Park and Nadgee Nature Reserve. This is one of those paddles you know will be special before you even see the water.
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