Rous River canoe trail

Paddling the Rous River canoe trail is a great way to explore the Tweed. 

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.

In the sheltered waters of the lower Rous River it feels like you're miles from anywhere. Enjoy our internationally significant environment from the water.

For an enjoyable trip, plan for tidal flow so you can paddle with the current.

Launching your canoe or kayak

You can launch your canoe or kayak from the Tumbulgum Boat Ramp.

Kayak hire, river tours and public toilets are available at Tumbulgum. 

The 8 km return route takes 2-3 hours to paddle. It takes in sheltered mangrove lined secluded bays with views to Mt Warning/Wollumbin.

What to see

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

The plants along the river support lots of birdlife, so bring your binoculars and 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 spotted, and keep an eye out for resident osprey and white-bellied sea-eagles.

For the more adventurous, try the 10 km 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, at the junction of Dulguigan Road and Urliup Road.

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

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're going.
  • Wear a personal floatation device, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Bring rubbish back and put in bins on the 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 daylight.

More information

Download Rous River canoe trail brochure(PDF, 939KB)

Rous River canoe trail map(PDF, 939KB)