Paul Berry from Surf N’ Dirt Adventure Tours says kayaking the Blackwood River, which is included in a number of their adventures, is the ‘must-do’ experience of the region.
On the tours, kayaks are launched into a small creek which opens up to meet the Blackwood. “It is so peaceful and stunningly beautiful that you often find yourself slipping into a meditative state,” he says.
“The water is often crystal clear with schools of black bream darting about the snags underneath us and the occasional marron. While overhead, eagles, white-faced herons and kite hawks glide, and cormorants, swamp hens and ducks frolic on the banks.”
Pamela Winter agrees. She has been running Blackwood River Houseboats for 15 years and says that the experience of lazily guiding your houseboat through the waterway as it winds through 28km of national park is a revelation for many guests.
“It is a pretty laid-back break that really makes you stop and rest,” says Pamela. “It is beautiful to get rocked off to sleep at night, and often it is just you and the Milky Way because there are not a lot of people on the river, particularly midweek.
“One customer came back just today calling it a ‘hidden gem’ saying he was shocked by how few people there were along the way.”
Jan Hughes from Augusta Eco Cruises sees the same reaction, particularly from overseas visitors who are blown away by the space and lack of other vessels. A 12-year veteran of hosting dolphin and bird-watching cruises on the Blackwood she says the serenity and ambience of the river is amazing.
“It is different every time I go out,” she says. She says it is unusual not to encounter the resident pod of seven dolphins along the route and the abundant birdlife is always a feature. ”We have 1,500 black swans in this river system and when they take flight they reveal the white tips of their wings and they look amazing.
“We also have a 70-strong local pelican population, avocets, spoonbills, pied oystercatchers and a flock of musk ducks who scurry along the surface of the river flapping their little wings and disappearing when they dive.”