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 to the day.
|WATERWAY||Narrawallee Creek, Croobyar Creek|
|REGION||South Coast, NSW|
|START||Boat ramp, Normandy Street, Narrawallee|
|GPS||DMS: 35° 18′ 19.4″ S, 150° 28′ 14.0″ E
DD: -35.305389, 150.470559
|FINISH||Return to start|
|TOILET||Follow path from boat ramp near start|
|CONDITIONS||Sheltered, tidal, light traffic, shallow areas|
|FISHING||Bream, flathead, kingfish, whiting|
The moment you see Narrawallee Inlet you will get an overwhelming urge to dive in. A wide expanse of translucent water reveals nothing but soft white sand below. It is very inviting. The ocean is to the right but the current between here and there can move very quickly so you should be wary about heading in that direction. A creek-based adventure is a much better idea.
There are three good reasons to do this trip at high tide. Firstly, much of the beautifully clear water near the start disappears out to sea at low tide leaving large areas of sand flat across which portages may be required. Secondly, there is an alternative route further upstream that is only accessible when the water level is high. Finally, trees that have fallen across the last part of the waterway are submerged at high tide leaving the way open for a clear run to the end.
From the boat ramp, the deepest channel into the Narrawallee Creek is to the left and reasonably close to shore. After about 2 kilometres of coasting through the surrounding mangrove and saltmarsh the creek makes a sweeping turn to the right. If you have timed your trip well, the narrow path of the alternate route will be directly ahead. Take it if you can. Like beetroot on a hamburger, it’s not essential but it somehow completes the experience.
Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve is to the north of the creek and stretches all the way to Lake Conjola taking in 5 kilometres of coastline. The healthy mangrove forests on display are only a small part of what has been preserved. Beyond them are important areas of natural woodland and forest which are beautiful in their own right and also provide habitat for a huge variety of indigenous animals like gliders, possums, swamp wallabies, bandicoots, and dunnarts. If you are lucky, you might even see an echidna rummaging around on shore. They love it here.
There is one more fork in the road. To the right is the continuation of Narrawallee Creek. This can be explored later if you are feeling energetic, but for now head left into Croobyar Creek.The blue shapes of the Budawang Ranges appear in the distance and the immediate surrounds become mainly agricultural. It is heart warming to know that the landowner of a large property called ‘Narrawilly’ that borders the creek is involved in a project to help protect the waterway by restoring the original native vegetation.
The blue shapes of the Budawang Ranges appear in the distance and the immediate surrounds become mainly agricultural. It is heart warming to know that the landowner of a large property called ‘Narrawilly’ that borders the creek is involved in a project to help protect the waterway by restoring the original native vegetation.
At this point, the challenge is to see if you can reach the weir. This barrier is designed to prevent saltwater intrusion into the farmland as well as maintaining a source of fresh water upstream. This is about 4.5 kilometres from the start so distance probably won’t be a problem. Fallen trees blocking the path is a far more likely issue.
Please note that Narrawallee Inlet has a caulerpa taxifolia infestation. This is a decorative weed that is popular in aquariums but outside the fish tank it is a threat to biodiversity because it overruns native species. It can spread into other waterways by attaching itself to your gear so it is essential that you wash everything carefully after you have finished paddling.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry Thoreau
|EAT||Pilgrims Café, Princes Highway, Milton, (02) 4455 3421|
|DRINK||Commercial Hotel, 74 Princes Highway, Milton, (02) 4455 5555|
|SLEEP||Milton Valley Holiday Pk, Slaughterhouse Rd, Milton, (02) 4455 2028|