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.”

WATERWAY Pambula Lake, Pambula River, Yowaka River
REGION South Coast, NSW
DISTANCE Up to 20 kilometres
TIME Up to 4 hours
START Boat ramp, Landing Road, Broadwater
GPS DMS: 36° 58′ 1.8″ S, 149° 53′ 4.1″ E
DD: -36.967158, 149.884474
FINISH Return to start
PARKING Large car park
TOILET Near start
CONDITIONS Open areas, tidal, light traffic, shallow areas
FISHING Bream, flathead, salmon, trevally, tailor, whiting

Pambula Lake Map

The trip described here is a 20 kilometre journey which takes in the best of Pambula Lake, the Pambula River, and the Yowaka River. However, it isn’t necessary to do all of that at once. If you start from the boat ramp on Landing Road in Broadwater as we have suggested, you can easily take in Pambula Lake and the coastal part of the Pambula River (9 kilometres) on one day and travel upstream on the Pambula and Yowaka Rivers (11 kilometres) on the next.

Pambula Lake Photo 1

Paddlers that are heading towards the coast should aim to launch roughly 1.5 hours before high tide at Pambula Beach. Those that are only going to go upstream should aim to launch around 1 hour before high tide at Pambula Lake – Tea Tree Point. Tide times at both of these locations are published on the WillyWeather website. Starting at these times will maximise the amount of water available for the trip and ensure that minimal potentially dangerous tidal currents are encountered.

Assuming that you are completing the full 20 kilometres, go to the right after launching and set a course for the eastern edge of Mangrove Island (see map). Once there, paddle in the direction of Yellow Point and the Broadwater Marine Engineering slipway immediately beyond. When you reach the oyster beds that guard the shoreline, veer to the left and trace their outer perimeter to the point where a large bay opens up on your right. From there, head north-northeast to Long Point, where there is a north-easterly channel into the coastal section of the Pambula River.

The next stage of the trip is stunningly beautiful. The gorgeous native vegetation of the Ben Boyd National Park blankets steep slopes on either side and the water is a stunning translucent turquoise. Severs Beach (see map) is a great place to stop for a swim before heading back. It is not advisable to go any closer to the coast unless you are proficient at paddling in sea conditions.

When you get back to Pambula Lake, take the channel through the oysters that is closest to Tea Tree Point. A high tide is essential to making it through this area without running aground.

You will soon see the boat ramp where this adventure started on the opposite side of the water. The Yowaka River runs into the western side of the Pambula River around 1 kilometre upstream from there and that is where you are going next.

An attention-grabbing cliff at the first left-hand bend in the Yowaka River is a real highlight of this part of the trip. Immediately after that, there is a gravel race which you need to paddle up to progress further. Those who do so are rewarded with a lovely sheltered stream where locals understandably love to swim. It should be possible to make it at least as far as the river rocks shown on the map before it is necessary to turn around and come back.

Upstream on the Pambula River, the waterway opens up into a shallow sandy area connected with Pambula’s wonderful Panboola Wetlands. It is worth floating quietly here for a while just to see which of the local wildlife might come out to greet you.

An excellent way to satisfy your post-paddle appetite is to pick up some freshly shucked fare (try saying that quickly) from Broadwater Oysters. Their headquarters is within walking distance of the boat ramp.

Pambula Lake Photo 2

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” Jawaharal Nehru

EAT Wheelers Seafood, 162 Arthur Kaine Dr, Pambula, (02) 6495 6330
DRINK The Top Pub, 18 Quondola Street, Pambula, (02) 6495 6012
SLEEP Discovery Parks, Pambula Beach Rd, Pambula Bch, (02) 6495 6363