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Email Link   Rous River Canoe Trail

Paddling the Rous River canoe trail is a great way to enjoy the Tweed Shire’s internationally significant environment.

The Rous River meets the Tweed River at Tumbulgum. A quick paddle across the Tweed River takes you into one of the largest estuarine habitat areas in the Tweed.

The sheltered waters of the lower Rous River feels like it’s miles from anywhere and you will be surprised how tranquil it is on the water. A well-planned trip accounting for tidal flow and paddling with the current is especially enjoyable.

Where to launch your canoe/kayak

Kayak hire, river tours and public toilets are available at Tumbulgum and you can launch your canoe/kayak from the Tumbulgum Boat Ramp.

The eight kilometre return route takes two to three hours to paddle and takes in sheltered mangrove lined secluded bays with views to Mt Warning/Wollumbin.

What to see

Take time to make side trips into sheltered mangrove fringed bays and Wobul Creek, which is lined with mangrove ferns, hoop pine and rainforest.

Diverse vegetation communities along the canoe trail support abundant birdlife, so don’t forget binoculars and a bird field guide. Over 60 bird species have been recorded in the area by BirdLife Northern Rivers.

Kingfishers, spoonbills, cormorants, fruit pigeons, honeyeaters, fairy-wrens and lorikeets are often observed in addition to resident osprey and white-bellied sea-eagles.

For the more adventurous, try the 10 kilometre one way paddle between Tumbulgum and Pat Smith Park on Dungay Creek (a tributary of the Rous River).

Pat Smith Park is the only public park along the mid-Rous River estuary and is located at the junction of Dulguigan Road and Urliup Road.

The park has a picnic shelter but no toilet facilities. There is no vehicle access to Pat Smith Park, however if you are prepared to carry your canoe 100 metres through the park, you can start or finish your paddle at this location. Parking is available outside the park on Dulguigan Road.

Careful paddling guidelines

  • Paddlers should be competent swimmers and have basic first aid and CPR skills.
  • Plan your trip well – always paddle with a partner and tell someone where you are going.
  • Wear a personal floatation device, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Bring rubbish back and dispose of it properly in bins provided at Tumbulgum foreshore.
  • Respect private property – there are limited opportunities to land your canoe or kayak along the trail.
  • Check the tides, consider paddling on high tide and with the current and allow time to return in the daylight.

Tide tables are available at

More information

For more detailed information, including a helpful map guide, download the Rous River canoe trail brochure (939kB PDF).

Rous River canoe trail map

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