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Esk River paddle route

Bundjalung National Park


Esk River is the perfect place for canoeing, offering birdwatching and a back to nature wilderness experience on the north coast of NSW.

Bundjalung National Park
15km one-way
Time suggested
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
Please note
  • 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

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.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info


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Edward River canoe and kayak trail, Murray Valley National Park. Photo: David Finnegan.

Conservation program:

Saving our Species conservation program

Saving our Species is a innovative conservation program in NSW. It aims to halt and reverse the growing numbers of Australian animals and plants facing extinction. This program aims to secure as many threatened species that can be secured in the wild as possible, for the next 100 years. 

Mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus). Photo: Cate Aitken
Reflections in the creek. Photo: Rob Cleary