Join a group of adventurous friends as they paddle down the Nymboida River, encountering roaring rapids and plenty of fun along the way.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Gumbaynggirr people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

The Nymboida River is a 165km stretch, with grade 1-4 rapids depending on the water flow and time of year, and is located two hours inland from the small coastal town of Yamba.

About the Nymboida River

The Nymboida is a miraculously remote and rugged river and a perennial stream of the Clarence River catchment located in the Northern Rivers of NSW.

The river can accommodate to all with varying sections to paddle. The mighty river is a mix of national park, private property, and crown land to venture through.



People visit this remote destination to fish, bushwalk, swim, camp, and in our case, for a grand ol’ paddling trip with pals.

A group of mates and I decided to hook into some sports rafts and paddle down the spectacular river, white-water paddling a 45km section to reinvigorate our connection with nature, reccie for an upcoming program, and see the disarray and flow after the Northern River floods.

Minus the crowds but with the addition of some hectic fun rapids plonked throughout the mighty river.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

History of the Nymboida River

Previous to settlement, the region was apart of the traditional lands of the Ngarrabul and Gumbaynggirr peoples. The ceremonial, spiritual, and recreational connection the Aboriginal people’s culture had with this special area – the land, waterways, flora, and fauna – still resonates today.



The region supplies a large amount of medicine and food for the local Aboriginal people, just as we observed on our paddle trip when the local Aboriginal boys hunted and dove for turtles in the river.

The Nymboida River has been used by settlers over the years, with generations of colonised families mustering on the large bush blocks with previous miners and gold workers hustling on the sides of the river.

How to Get to Nymboida River

Your best route to Nymboida River is by car (if you’re heading south from Byron), driving towards the Nymboida Canoe Centre. It’s roughly a two-hour drive.

Follow the Pacific Motorway south to Grafton then follow on from Armidale Road, along this stretch of road you’ll reach the Nymboida Canoe Centre.

We organised a shuttle from the Nymboida Canoe Centre and were picked up at the conclusion of the trip from Jackadgery, which made the trip easy.

Where to Stay Along the Nymboida River

Campsites along this section include Buccarumbi, Nymboida River Campground, Jackadgery or near the Mann River Junction.


Skill Level

Intermediate to advanced 

Previous paddling skill is needed on this river however, if you’re a beginner and want to experience this journey, Journey Outdoors in Nature (JOIN) provides white-water raft guiding and expeditions that can cater to all skills, ages and needs.

Having paddled the Nymboida with Laura Stamper, the owner of JOIN, she has exceptional knowledge, skills, wisdom, and connection to the region and white-water environments.

Some sections were more challenging than others, the grade 4 rapids were make-able with the inflatable sports rafts we used bouncing off perched rocks.

Distance / Duration

45km / 3 days

We began our journey from Buccarumbi Bridge (with camping along this section). A few nights on the river involve big days of paddling, however this can be broken into smaller days and a longer duration depending on your ability and experience.


Essential Gear for Paddling the Nymboida River

  • Canoes/sports rafts
  • SPOT/PLB (a must)
  • Barrels (keep things dry)
  • Dry bags
  • Trangia
  • Safety rope/throw bag
  • PFD (personal flotation device)
  • Tent/hammock
  • Helmet
  • Paddles
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Long shirt and pants
  • Crocs/closed sandals/runners
  • Safety rope
  • Thermals
  • Whistle
  • Safety knife
  • Bilge pump
  • Map
  • Sunscreens/zinc
  • Water bottle
  • Sleeping bag/mat

Paddling the Nymboida River With 4 Outdoor Educators and a Blind Dog

Over the New Year’s period, a few friends and I went venturing down the Nymboida River for a paddle/reccie mission for an upcoming paddle program.

The river was higher than normal, and after the mighty floods in the Northern Rivers we thought we would go inspect a section of it.

People have paddled the river for many years for leisure, challenge, connection, and immersive experiences into nature.

The adrenaline of running rapids flowing into gentle, pristine flat sections with pastures of farmland, forest, and majestic hills peeking over the top as you paddle – it’s enough to make you want a sneak peek right?

Balmy afternoons, chirping crickets, and the trinkles of rapids become the melody at night. Dazzling stargazing skies by the fire and being in awe of the pure wild beauty and solitude one is gifted on the river is a surreal experience to have.



We had three days to paddle from Buccarumbi to Jackadgery moving with intention and immersing ourselves in the mighty Nymboida River.

Day 1 – Buccarumbi Bridge to Nymboida River Campsite

Distance: 15km

Cram three white-water paddle guides, a blind dog, and a gronky outdoor education teacher into three sports rafts and you’ve got yourself a one-way ticket to a fun, daring adventure on the river.

Our first section was spent paddling down pristine meandering rapids and head-on into adrenalin-pumping grade-four rapids, leaving goosebumps on our skin and smiles painted on our faces.

The thriving biodiversity and freshwater river scents backdropped with the unsullied forest was a perfect way to begin the journey.


Day 2 – Nymboida River campsite to Mann River Junction

Distance: 20km

On day two we drank in a large dose of yarning with friends on the flat sections and spotted turtles popping off into the water as we passed nearby rock tops.

Eagles soared high above the gums as we sat in silent solace paddling past lush green hills that were mirrored in the jelly-like water.



We concluded jaw-clenching rapid sections with island rock jumps to wash away the nervous excitement. The afternoons were inhaled by smells and views of a campfire nuzzled on the bank of the river, followed by exhaustion and contentment filling the souls of the group.


Day 3 – Mann River Junction to Jackadgery

Distance: 10km

The morning departures were accustomed with a warm cup of joe in hand, a cold-water dip and a plan made for the day ahead.

Nourishing our bodies with lunch stops on rocky flats and finding fun recirculating foamy waves to side surf on. The call ‘Clean up on aisle three’ echoed when a raft flipped on the upstream catch on a rapid.



On the mellower rapids, we re-paddled to try different lines, swapped partners, and dared one another to attempt to stand-up paddle for more of a challenge.

We paddled with my friend’s blind dog Django, (who has quite a track record of paddle trips under his paws). I can only imagine his sense of smell and presence on the journey too. This river is rugged and unspoilt, its calm and wild left us in awe.

The leisurely paddle out of Jackadgery was consumed by the mountainous scenery and the wildlife creating the soundtrack to the journey. The Nymboida River really is a unique and miraculous place to paddle.

Tips for Paddling Nymboida River

  • The river can be temperamental and if there’s been a lot of rain it can be too dangerous to paddle. Make sure you check weather forecasts and speak to the locals or JOIN guides. The water can rise very easily from other river catchments that run into the Nymboida
  • The Nymboida River can be a selective experience depending on where you choose to paddle. There are exit points out of the Nymboida and checking this before you head off is essential
  • Water is available along the Nymboida River (fresh, delicious and straight from the source), a water filter can help purify it too
  • Hire equipment from the Nymboida Canoe Centre – they can support you with shuttles and safety equipment as well which is a must on this river
  • There’s no reception on this section of the river, so make sure you have your route planned out and let people know of your journey

FAQs Paddling Nymboida River

Where is the Nymboida River located?

The Nymboida River is located in the Northern Rivers of NSW around two hours inland from the small coastal town Yamba.

How do you get to Nymboida River?

Your best route to the Nymboida River is by car (if heading south from Byron), driving towards the Nymboida Canoe Centre. Roughly a two-hour drive.

When is the Nymboida River open?

The Nymboida River is open all year, however depending on seasons and rainfall it can range from an intermediate river to an advanced river.

Is the Nymboida River good for beginners?

The Nymboida River requires competent knowledge in paddling – if you’re a beginner you can contact one of the local companies (like JOIN) to paddle sections of the river.

How long does is take to paddle the Nymboida River?

Depending on your paddling ability, the grades of rapids at different times of the year (some may require portaging if too dangerous), slow or faster journey of your trip will be dependent on how long it takes to complete the Nymboida. Our section took 3 days but could be extended to 5-6 days dependent on the individual/group.

How long is the Nymboida River?


When’s the best time to paddle the Nymboida River?

Between December and May is the best time to paddle the Nymboida River.

What do I need to know before going?

Weather, especially rainfall, plays a major role on the difficulty of paddling the Nymboida River. Contact the local canoe centre or paddle companies in the region for up-to-date information.