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.
|WATERWAY||Bundanoon Creek, Sandy Creek, Lake Yarrunga|
|START||Tallowa Dam, Tallowa Dam Road, Morton National Park|
|GPS||DMS: 34° 46′ 11.1″ S, 150° 18′ 57.1″ E
DD: -34.769750, 150.315861
|FINISH||Return to start|
|PARKING||Large car park|
|CONDITIONS||Open areas, reservoir, light traffic, shallow areas|
|FISHING||Bass, carp, Macquarie perch, rainbow trout|
Bundanoon is a Southern Highlands town that takes its name from an Aboriginal word meaning “a place of deep gullies”. The reason for this may not be immediately apparent from the town centre but it is as plain as day to anyone who is lucky enough to have paddled up Bundanoon Creek. Steep valley walls topped with impressive crowns of Nowra sandstone are outstanding features of the stunning Morton National Park landscape which surrounds the waterway.
Historically, Bundanoon Creek was a tributary of the Kangaroo River which in turn became a tributary of the Shoalhaven River a little further downstream but that all changed in 1976 when Tallowa Dam was constructed by the Sydney Catchment Authority to store water in the newly formed Lake Yarrunga. The meeting points of these three waterways are now hidden well below the surface of the lake.
The main venue for this trip would most accurately be described as the Bundanoon Creek Arm of Lake Yarrunga. Another arm belonging to Sandy Creek reaches north from there and it is highly recommended that you explore that too.
Lake Yarrunga is a paddler’s paradise. No motorised craft of any kind are allowed and there is a picnic area with campground right next to Tallowa Dam which is the perfect place to put into the water. Bush camping is also possible in a brilliant selection of secluded sites. The best of these are shown on the map.
Most kayakers, canoeists and stand up paddlers who come to Lake Yarrunga head left from the Tallowa Dam launch site to glide into Shoalhaven Gorge. It is hard to blame them. This stretch of water is widely praised as being one of the best paddling destinations in the state. Everyone should see it at least once in their life. Bundanoon Creek isn’t as celebrated but it is equally beautiful and you are more likely to have it to yourself so it is worth heading for that instead.
Turn right after launching to follow the Kangaroo River Arm of Lake Yarrunga in a north-easterly direction. The Bundanoon Creek Arm can be found on the left after around 2.5 kilometres. There is a campsite at the near side of the junction which is a great place to get out and go for a swim.
It is easy to be captivated by the wild wonders of Bundanoon Creek and some people are clearly moved by the spiritual connection it provides with nature. You could be forgiven for thinking that some things may not have changed much since the valley was created more than 250 million years ago. Lace monitors stride purposefully through the burrawangs, eastern water dragons sun themselves on moss covered granite boulders, glossy black cockatoos dine noisily on casuarina seeds and azure kingfishers speed silently through the wattles on the shoreline. The best way to ensure that you don’t miss a thing is to loosely follow the shoreline on your left for a complete clockwise lap of the Bundanoon and Sandy Creek Arms.
One thing that has visibly changed is the water level. The rising waters of Lake Yarrunga submerged the roots of the great trees that previously lined the banks of the waterways. Unfortunately, they were not able to survive this inundation but many of their hardy wooden frames still reach up from the depths to somehow add more poignancy to what is already a magical experience.
“I want all my senses engaged. Let me absorb the world’s variety and uniqueness.” Maya Angelou
|EAT||Hampden Deli Dining, 160 Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley, 477 002 102|
|DRINK||Friendly Inn Hotel, Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley, (02) 4465 1355|
|SLEEP||KV Tourist Park, Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley, 1300 559 977|