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.
|REGION||South Coast, NSW|
|START||Boat ramp, Annetts Parade, Mossy Point|
|GPS||DMS: 35° 50’ 18.9” S, 150° 11’ 0.7” E
DD: -35.838583, 150.183528
|FINISH||Return to start|
|PARKING||Large parking area|
|CONDITIONS||Open areas, tidal, light traffic, shallow areas|
|FISHING||Blackfish, bream, flathead, kingfish, whiting|
The engaging scenery that surrounds the Tomaga River is partnered beautifully by what can be found beneath the surface. It is a perennial stream which is permanently open to the Tasman Sea so the water is usually crystal clear and in many places you can see right through to the bottom.
There is a lovely sandy beach beside the Mossy Point boat ramp which is a perfect place to start a paddle. It is close to the mouth of the waterway, there is a sizeable car park and a toilet block, and people who are unable to bring their own paddling gear can hire it from the adjacent Region X Kayak Experiences boatshed.
One particular Mossy Point highlight is the opportunity to see massive smooth stingrays in their natural environment. This type of stingray grows up to 4.3 metres long and 2 metres wide and is the largest found in Australia’s waterways. Look down from the jetty shortly after fishing boats return with the daily catch and you may well see several gliding back and forth searching for the fish that John West rejects.
Mossy Point is also blessed with an expansive view of the rocky coastline, from Camel Rock just off the point to the geologically significant formations at Guerrilla Bay a little further north. These were laid down around 450 million years ago and are some of the oldest on the east coast of Australia.
The tide runs very quickly near the mouth of the Tomaga River so it pays to time your trip to make the most of it. If you plan on paddling all the way to Mogo Zoo then the best bet is to start around two hours before high tide. Tide times for nearby Tomakin Beach are published on the WillyWeather website.
Turn left after launching to go upstream. The channel is initially marked and it is worth following the markers for as long as you can because this part of the river can get quite shallow in places. The red path shown on the map indicates where you will find the deepest water.
The seaside village of Tomakin can be seen on the eastern side of the waterway early on. It is worth noting that this has a boat ramp (GPS: 35° 49′ 52.4″ S, 150° 11′ 15.3″ E) that is a good alternative starting point for this trip.
The land immediately to the west of the Tomaga River is predominantly flat. Mangroves and saltmarsh occupy much of the shoreline on that side from the coast to Jeremadra Creek. In places where the landscape climbs away more steeply pretty casuarina fringes overhang the water’s edge.
Jeremadra Creek arrives at a very obvious fork in the waterway and Mogo Creek comes in a couple of kilometres later. Turn right at both forks to follow the Tomaga River through grazing country to its navigable limit beside the zebras and giraffes at the Mogo Zoo before heading back to the start.
Mogo Zoo’s proprietors have erected a sign requesting that you do not paddle past their grounds “due to the nature and sensitivity of some animals”. However the waterway is public so it is really up to you to decide whether that is a reasonable request. If you choose to continue on, please try to paddle softly and do your best not to disturb the residents.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” John Muir
|EAT||On The Pier, Old Punt Road, Batemans Bay, (02) 4472 6405|
|DRINK||Bayview Hotel, 20 Orient Street, Batemans Bay, (02) 4472 4522|
|SLEEP||Big 4 Broulee Beach, 6 Lyttle Street, Broulee, (02) 4471 6247|