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.
|REGION||South Coast, NSW|
|START||Boat ramp, Princes Highway, Narooma Region|
|GPS||DMS: 36° 16′ 0.2″ S, 150° 7′ 41.7″ E
DD: -36.266722, 150.128250
|FINISH||Return to start|
|PARKING||Small parking area|
|CONDITIONS||Open areas, tidal, some heavy traffic, shallow areas|
|FISHING||Bream, flathead, prawns|
Corunna Lake isn’t hard to find. Its main body is a glittering expanse which is clearly visible to traffic moving along the Princes Highway in both directions. Driving past without stopping is like walking into an ice cream shop without making a purchase. Don’t do it to yourself. Watch carefully for the highway sign which points to the ramp and head on down to the water.
Corunna Lake is an estuary which is intermittently closed to the ocean when wind and marine currents build sandbars across its entrance. If the mouth is open, the water level will be affected by the movement of the tides and it can be quite shallow. The WillyWeather website has tide times for Loader Beach which is on the coast adjacent to the lake.
When the entrance is closed, feeder creeks and rain will cause the level to rise until it breaks through the sandbar either naturally or with the assistance that is sometimes required when the surrounding land begins to flood. You can see more of the lake if you paddle when the water level is high.
There is a sandy beach beside the ramp which is the perfect place to start. Toilets and barbecue facilities are also provided, making it a delightful base for a family day on the water.
Looking out from the beach it might seem that only a short paddle is possible but if you complete a lap that takes in the feeder creeks and a visit to the coast then your trip could exceed 20 kilometres. I recommend heading to the right after launching to complete that lap in an anti-clockwise direction.
The northern end of the lake is almost completely surrounded by forest. Casuarinas dangle their long spindly leaves over orange rock formations. Kangaroos bask in clearings and swamp wallabies graze further back in the shadows. Cormorants perch on fallen branches to dry their wings and every now and then a startled duck shoots out from the shrubbery.
As you make your way south the western shoreline gives way to grassy fields that often cover entire hillsides and 806 metre tall volcanically formed Gulaga aka Mount Dromedary looms large in the background. Gulaga is a place of cultural importance for the Yuin people and financial importance to miners who have found more than 600 kilograms of gold in its slopes.
Make sure to explore every inlet. There is a creek at the end of the middle arm which allows you to paddle under a small back road which was actually once the highway. The southern arm is where The Tilba Winery is located and there is also a secret creek which very few people ever discover. The winery pier is marked on the map but you should call in advance if you plan on dropping in.
The final stage of this adventure is with the pelicans and spoonbills on the eastern side of the Princes Highway. This may not always be possible because it is particularly shallow but it is worth at least trying to visit the coast and Corunna Point before you head back to the start. It is incredible to think that in the late 19th Century the now largely deserted headland was used for picnics, athletics meets and bicycle races and it featured a pavilion, maypole and swings.
“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.” Leo F. Buscaglia
|EAT||Quarterdeck, 13 Riverside Drive, Narooma, (02) 4476 2723|
|DRINK||O’Briens Hotel, 99 Campbell Street, Narooma, (02) 4476 3691|
|SLEEP||Surfbeach Holiday Park, 1 Ballingalla St, Narooma, (02) 4476 2275|