When he heard about a WAE Kangaroo Valley Canoeing Escape, Aron Hailey jumped at the opportunity. After a weekend of mirror-like water, secluded camping and hanging out on a secret beach, he was super stoked with the spot, the crew and the new level of awesomeness he can claim.
I knew Kangaroo Valley was pretty spectacular, but I had only ever heard about a few of the amazing things the area has to offer. I didn’t realise it was one of the best flat-water canoeing locations in the whole of NSW.
I also didn’t really know anything about what to expect on this trip; I saw the advert for a 2-day canoeing trip in Kangaroo Valley and signed myself up pretty swiftly. I had heard from somewhere that canoeing makes you 10 times more awesome and I could do with that kind of help.
An alpine start was in order to drive down to our meeting spot. We would meet the rest of the team and our guide Travis; who would be taking this inexperienced bunch of adventurers on an epic mini-voyage.
A Kangaroo Valley Canoeing Escape
Our plan was to set off from Tallowa Dam and head down towards our camping spot 11km away. The great thing about canoes is the crazy amount of gear you can throw in them. We all had big bags with tents, tables, chairs, pots and pans, useless stuff we thought we might need, enough food for a small army and still plenty of room to lounge around in while we paddled.
A quick ‘how to’ from Travis got us water-ready with some useful skills to make our trip all the more enjoyable. It didn’t take long for us to be on our way and boy was it spectacular. That simple feeling of contentment, surrounded by nature with the sun shining on you and the trickle of water as your the canoe slices through the water.
Pushing Off From Tallowa Dam
Tallowa Dam is actually one of the main sources of water for Sydney. The construction of the dam just downstream of where the Kangaroo and Shoalhaven rivers meet in the 70s flooded the area, leading to a graveyard of trees to navigate your canoe through and under. It creates a very eerie but epic feeling.
It wasn’t long before we got to our lunch spot, where we could get to know one another and chat about what got everyone together for some Kangaroo Valley canoeing. It was great being surrounded by like-minded people from very different backgrounds who just want to enjoy the outdoors. This was what the Wilderness Escape was all about.
The Camp Dreams Are Made Of
Our campsite for the night was in a clearing amongst the trees, nestled right next to a beautiful rocky creek. It was the perfect spot to wander around, jump between rocks and freshen yourself up in the icy water.
An epic feast was in order to make up for the lost calories of a tiring day on the water. We certainly didn’t hold back — chilli con carne with nachos and sour cream hits the spot 100% of the time.
As the sky darkened and the stars came up, a night paddle was our next adventure. This will be one of those standout experiences that I will never forget — lying down in the canoe drifting amongst the trees staring up at the sky. There was nothing else to see or think about, it was total serenity.
Water Access Only
Day 2 was going to be a little bit more relaxed with a slow start; we were certainly in no hurry to leave our perfect camping spot. We had seen a lot of great spots on the way up to the campsite but we had one more place to check out on the way back, which was only a 1km detour. Another graveyard of trees was in our way, but that just meant more branches to try and limbo under and more trees to collide into with our very amateur canoeing skills.
Travis chose another amazing spot, a mini beach sheltered by trees in an area only accessible by canoe. It was a perfect spot to spend our last part of the trip in. The nature and surrounding landscape of the Shoalhaven Gorge are awe-inspiring and will definitely leave you craving a return to the Kangaroo Valley the second you leave.
This trip was an overall success, not one thing went wrong. The weather was great, the company was even better and canoeing definitely makes you at least 10 times more awesome.
Shoal much fun…