This is a waterway with an air of mystery that is hard to resist. Its single public appearance is for travellers on the Princes Highway near Jervis Bay, where it reveals nothing of its future or its past, saying only that its name is Wandandian – the home of lost lovers.
|WATERWAY||Wandandian Creek, St Georges Basin, Tullarwalla Lagoon|
|DISTANCE||18 kilometres plus|
|TIME||4 hours plus|
|START||Boat ramp, Basin View Road, Basin View|
|GPS||DMS: 35° 5’ 37.83” S, 150° 33’ 43.61” E
DD: -35.093842, 150.562114
|FINISH||Return to start|
|PARKING||Large car park|
|TOILET||Near start and near Corramy Regional Park pier (up hill)|
|CONDITIONS||Open areas, tidal, some heavy traffic, shallow areas|
Wandandian Creek begins life as a freshwater stream in the Morton National Park near Twelve Mile Peg. It spends three quarters of its 32 kilometre existence trickling north east through forest and farmland before getting married to the incoming tide in the little Shoalhaven village of Wandandian. It then continues through tidal waters for another 8 kilometres before finally coming to rest in the northwest corner of beautiful St Georges Basin.
Some say that the name Wandandian is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning “home of lost lovers”. This makes me wonder whether the lovers were physically lost, which is feasible because the eastern end of the creek features a confusing array of paths; or others thought them to be lost, which is possible as this would be a great place to hide; or they were lost in each other’s eyes, because that could easily happen in a secluded special place like this. It also makes me wonder if their love was even for each other. They could have been lovers of paddling who were inadvertently caught up the creek without a paddle guide.
This trip takes place on the tidal section of Wandandian Creek, and one way or return trips can be launched from either end. The eastern end is accessible from the Basin View boat ramp, which leads into St Georges Basin a short distance from the creek. The western end can be accessed directly from Bottle Brush Reserve, on Bottle Brush Avenue in Bewong (GPS: 35 5’ 8.86” S, 150 31’ 47.52” E). Basin View has toilets, picnic facilities, and a children’s playground, but it can get busy during school holidays.
Wandandian Creek meets St Georges Basin in three places, but none are visible from the Basin View ramp. If you start here, aim for the left-hand side of the bay immediately to your right, and then look for an opening in the mangroves when you get close to shore. Turn left into that and go right at the next intersection. Soon you’ll come to a crossroads. St Georges Basin is to the left, Tullarwalla Lagoon is ahead, and Bewong is to the right. You’ll eventually be going right, but it’s worth seeing the melaleuca shores of Tullarwalla Lagoon before you do.
Much of Wandandian Creek’s northern bank is protected by Corramy Regional Park. This is an area prized by NSW National Parks who say “It contains two endangered ecological communities (River-flat Eucalypt Forest on Coastal Floodplains and Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest), stands of the threatened plant Melaleuca biconvexa, and populations of the threatened yellow-bellied glider and glossy black-cockatoo.” There’s a pier on the right just before the next fork in the waterway where you can land and take a closer look. It’s a great place for a break and an opportunity to use the toilet at the top of the hill.
Go left at the fork for the final part of the adventure. Bottle Brush Reserve is 2.5 kilometres upstream near the only group of houses that can be seen from the water, and the tidal limit, where the creek is at its narrowest and most intriguing, is 3 kilometres beyond that. You’ll also get an opportunity to wave to travellers on the Princes Highway. Maybe you’ll start them wondering about the secret life of Wandandian Creek?
“Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
|EAT||Stone Grill, 1/48 Owen Street, Huskisson (02) 4441 7070|
|DRINK||The Husky Pub, 73 Owen Street, Huskisson, (02) 4441 5001|
|SLEEP||Palm Beach Cvan Pk, 103 Ethel St, Sanctuary Pt, (02) 4443 0356|