The Clarence River Canoe and Kayak Trail is a microadventurer’s dreamland that you probably haven’t heard of yet.
Our explorer crew have been fortunate enough to experience some incredible adventures around Australia but the Clarence River Canoe & Kayak Trail is up there as one of our standout faves. It’s a microadventurer’s dream-land.
Very few people actually know about this place though, and here are 8 no-brainer reasons why you should experience a river adventurer in this region in 2017.
# 1 The Longest White Water Trail in Australia
With scenery so beautiful your eyes will water and rapids so wild your bum will tighten, you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t come sooner.
Covering more than 195km of river between Nymboi-Binderay National Park and the township of Copmanhurst, this is officially New South Wales’ greatest hidden gem (and Australia’s longest mapped white-water trail). Combining three wild river systems; the Nymbodia, Mann and Clarence, there is something to please all paddling palates across the 8 map sections whether you’re into bone-rattling rapids or zen-like SUPing.
# 2 Run the Rapids
You wouldn’t be alone in thinking we’re talking about a UFC Deathmatch. These are however some of the testing Grade 3/4 rapids you’ll encounter on a magical mystery river tour here.
Widely regarded by professional paddlers as one of the most challenging areas to kayak and canoe in the country, make no mistake; certain parts should not be attempted by gung-ho beginners and portage points must be noted before setting off. Always refer to the trail maps and don’t trade wise planning for blind ignorance.
# 3 Paddle the Gorge
This is one of the many “how sick is this?!” moments you’re likely to have on the trail, and you’ll probably blurt it out involuntarily at some stage.
The lower Gorge was one of our favourite parts of the adventure. Paddling as the sun rose, the water was mill-pond flat with huge rock formations surging up on either side of us. It’s a beautiful and almost eerie experience.
Further up the Gorge lie the mightly Rainbow Falls and Willow Tree Falls; they’re the big older brothers of the Clarence Valley River and are not to be messed with. In fact, it’s imperative that all visitors portage this section
# 4 Escape the City
It’s more important than ever to switch off those phones and disconnect; to let nature rule once again. This part of the world really feels like that too. It’s a proper wild river and for large chunks of it you won’t have any opportunity to upload a selfie in real time. You’ve been warned.
The Clarence Valley is tucked away on the mid North Coast of NSW about 3.5hrs from Brisbane whilst Sydneysiders can get up here in about 6 hours. To get the most out of a trip here it’s worth taking at least a day either side of the weekend so that you have 2 days minimum on the water.
# 5 Beautiful Campgrounds
No river journey is complete without camping; the experiences off the river are as important as the time spent on it.
Pulling into your wild camp spot in the late afternoon, setting up camp to the sound of birdsong and the taste of a cold beer, cooking up a medieval-esque camping banquet and easing into the evening with your river crew under a blanket of stars. It literally doesn’t get much better.
# 6 Fishing
The Nymboida/Mann River System is one of Australia’s finest freshwater fishing and canoeing destinations (and let’s all try and keep it that way too). Cod and Bass are what you’re after, and expect to find some giants here!
Don’t forget to take a photo, not the fish. It’s a “catch and release” area that requires lures and barbless hooks so whilst you may salivate at the thought of once sizzling away on your BBQ later, I’m afraid that just won’t fly here. Pardon the pun.
# 7 Wildlife
Don’t expect to see another soul on a river adventure here, other than a herd of curious turtles and maybe the odd platypus.
It’s a wilderness area, and so it’s inhabitants roam at will. Inquisitive frogs clamber onto your boat to have a good look at you, wild dogs roam the farmlands, wedge tailed eagles roam the air and if you’re luncky/unlucky you’ll see snakes wallowing in rocks pools.
# 8 SUPing
There are many other ways to transport yourself around this river beyond just kayak and canoe. Packraft, lilo, giant swan….are just a few other options although in certain sections (most notably Lilydale and Cangai).
So head on up here, choose your own adventure and enjoy this hidden gem!