Extraordinary is the place beyond obvious. Broadwater Creek is a hidden waterway down a dusty dirt road. You would be unlikely to find it unless you live locally or you have been looking for new places to paddle for a very long time. It is decidedly unobvious and unquestionably extraordinary.
Up to 10 kilometres / Up to 2.5 hours
Creekbank, Tullymorgan Road, Lawrence
GPS: 29°25’37.6″S 153°05’06.2″E / -29.427102, 153.085067
Sheltered, flowing, light traffic, shallow areas
Broadwater Creek flows into the western side of The Broadwater between Tullymorgan and Lawrence. The Broadwater is a large lagoon on the western side of the Clarence River near Maclean. It is possible to paddle into The Broadwater from the Clarence River but it isn’t possible to float far into Broadwater Creek from there because in some places its path is largely indistinguishable from the surrounding wetland.
Maclean welcomes attention. It proudly calls itself The Scottish Town in Australia and it has hosted an annual Highland Gathering for more than 100 years. Lawrence and Tullymorgan are a lot quieter and you get the feeling locals like it that way. Visitor information for Lawrence is modest and Tullymorgan only seems to be known for its poignant war memorial. Hopefully, they won’t mind being promoted as the home of an excellent paddle trail as well.
The best place to get into Broadwater Creek is beside the bridge that carries Tullymorgan Road over the waterway. Not far from the bridge’s southeast corner, there is a rough vehicle track to the water and a clearing with enough space to park 3 or 4 cars. There is also a small beach where it is easier to launch than you might expect in such an out-of-the-way location.
The creek flows from left to right as you look at it from the launch site but the current is barely noticeable. It is possible to paddle 3 kilometres to the left and 2 kilometres to the right. Return trips in both directions will see you cover a total distance of 10 kilometres.
This is among the most sheltered paddling destinations you will ever experience. Tea trees occupy most of the shoreline and they extend beautiful leafy branches overhead to provide protection from both the wind and the sun. When it is too windy or too hot to paddle in most places, you can usually still paddle at Broadwater Creek.
Few things in life inspire as much awe as the immaculate reflection. This occurs when the surface of the water is a perfect mirror of everything above. Paddlers are treated to this phenomenon more than most people but there is a recipe for making the best reflections and Broadwater Creek has all the right ingredients. The water should be darkened by the tannins of surrounding vegetation, preferably tea trees, the surface must be glassy, and long shadows need to be cast across the looking glass. When it all comes together, as it often does here, the results are exquisite.
Water lilies, eastern water dragons, and kangaroos are the stars of other paddle trails but here the amazing scenery makes it difficult for them to claim their share of the limelight. Show them some love by letting them engage in a little bit of photobombing every now and again.
The birdlife of Broadwater Creek is exceptional. They are undoubtedly attracted to the stream in its own right but the Everlasting Swamp National Park and the Clarence River are both nearby so there is undoubtedly some overflow from those places as well. Brolgas, black bitterns, black swans, azure kingfishers, white-bellied sea eagles, egrets, brown goshawks, shrikes, wattlebirds, and eastern rosellas are among the many birds you could meet.
None, nearest is at Lawrence Public Hall on Bridge Street
Lawrence Tavern, 19 Bridge Street, Lawrence, (02) 6647 7213
Riverside Caravan Park, 109 River Street, Maclean, (02) 6645 2987
Why live an ordinary life, when you can live an extraordinary one?Tony Robbins