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Esk River paddle route

"We stopped in the middle of the river and felt like we’d landed on another planet. We were surrounded by river, rainforest and wildlife."

The sheltered inland waterways are a perfect way to explore the southern section of Bundjalung National Park. Paddling up Esk River, the longest unspoilt natural coastal river system on the north coast, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a wildlife wonderland.

When you push off from Bill Weiley Bridge and head upstream, you’ll glide past mangroves, heathland and old growth dry sclerophyll forest; keep your eye out for the unique rock formations. This is prime birdwatching territory so get your binoculars ready. Downstream, closer to the Clarence River entrance, pied oystercatchers and eastern whipbirds are common.

If you’re lucky you might see a koala snoozing or snacking on gum leaves in the branches of the tallowwood and swamp mahogany.


Getting there

Getting there:

Esk River paddle route is in the Iluka precinct of Bundjalung National Park. To get there, follow the Iluka Road for approximately 8km to the Bill Weiley Bridge from the Pacific Highway.

Get driving directions


Vehicle access:

Sealed road - 2WD vehicles - All weather


Parking is available near Bill Weiley Bridge.

Important info


15km (one-way)

Time suggested:

4 hours each way


Medium difficulty

You should know:

  • It’s a good idea to put sunscreen on before you set out and remember to take a hat and take plenty of water
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch
  • It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.
  • A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters
  • Toilets and picnic facilities are available at Woody Head campground
  • It’s a good idea to take insect repellent with you

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Reflections in the creek. Photo: Rob Cleary