Boambee Creek Reserve in Sawtell (just a 10-minute drive from Coffs Harbour), is a picture-perfect bay with calm, clear water, pretty beaches, a gorgeous deep-green backdrop of trees and plenty of fish. It’s the ideal Coffs Coast spot to go swimming, fishing, kayaking or canoeing.
Going kayaking on this beautiful creek has been high on my list of things I want to do in Coffs Harbour, yet for some reason I’d never got around to doing it until now.
To be fair, kayaking in Sawtell wasn’t that easy to organise until 2012, when Matthew Sparrius set up his C-Change Adventures kayak hire & tours business at Boambee Creek Reserve.
Now it’s easy to drive down, hire a single or double kayak, step in and paddle away. Within minutes you’re surrounded by nothing but nature. And there’s a lot to explore: the creek is very wide and goes several kilometres inland.
Depending on the tides, you could paddle towards and under the railway bridge to check out the estuary (and either paddle back or walk back via the walking track that runs alongside the creek), or make your way up the creek, which is what we did.
We had carefully planned the time of our trip to coincide with high tide, which made it easier to paddle up the creek without much resistance, and paddle back as the tide had just started to slowly flow back out.
After about half an hour of leisurely paddling, we saw two relatively new viewing/fishing platforms on the Hogbin Drive side of the creek, which looked great. We’ll have to figure out how to get to them from the road.
Because it was high tide, we could paddle right through a mangrove forest – an amazing experience. Just below us in the water we could clearly see schools of little fish, with the occasional bigger fish shooting through.
A little further up, you come up to a T-junction where the broad creek (which is really more like a river) splits into two, with Boambee Creek meandering to the left and Newports Creek going to the right.
We turned back at this point, but you could spend another hour or two following either of these creeks further inland. Newports Creek flows north-east through the forest between Coffs Harbour Airport and the Education Campus, while Boambee Creek goes west under the Hogbin Drive Bridge and all the way up to the Pacific Highway near Sawtell Road.
There’s a boat ramp at Sawtell Road where Matthew can drop kayaks off (not always possible, but worth asking about) so you can start your trip there and follow the creek back out to Boambee Beach Reserve. I wouldn’t attempt this on an incoming tide, but it would be a fantastic (and easy) experience on an outgoing tide, I reckon.
What’s great about the Boambee Creek Reserve location is that there’s a café that’s open 7 days. What better way to relax after your kayaking trip than to sit on Boambee Creek Café’s covered deck with a coffee, late breakfast, morning tea, lunch or just a milkshake or ice cream, taking in the gorgous view. There are also toilets and showers so don’t forget your swimmers and towel as you may well want to hit the water for a swim after your paddle.
We loved our kayaking trip. It was great to discover spots you can only reach via the water and we relished being totally enveloped by nature, with fish just below us and waterbirds flying low over the water around us.
We also enjoyed a close-up look at a stunning osprey that landed on a bare tree branch on the water’s edge and stayed in position long enough to take plenty of pictures… if only I had brought my camera with me! I hadn’t, because I was afraid to get it wet, but now that I know how stable the kayaks are, I may well take my camera along on our next kayaking trip. Matthew actually has dry bags you can use to keep your camera dry.
Matthew’s business is mobile and while he generally operates out of Boambee Creek Reserve, he also services Sawtell’s Bonville Creek and Pine Creek, Coffs Creek and Red Rock when he has bookings in those locations.
So if you plan to hire a kayak from C-Change Adventures, it’s best to call ahead to ensure they’re there on the day you want to go paddling, and also that the kayaks aren’t booked out for a private party, tour or event.
Location: C-Change Adventures operates out of Boambee Creek Reserve in Sawtell. The reserve is located along Sawtell Road near the railway bridge, about halfway between the Hogbin Drive roundabout and Sawtell’s First Avenue. It’s a 10-15 minute drive from the centre of Coffs Harbour. There’s an entry fee to the managed reserve of $5 per car.
Kayak hire prices:
- Single kayaks (including a fishing kayak) are $15 per hour.
- Double kayaks (which include a seat in the middle for a small child) are $25 per hour.
- Discounts available if you hire multiple kayaks and/or use them for several hours.
- Included: use of life jackets, dry bags and, if needed, paddling instructions.
Operating hours: Generally, 7 days per week from about 9am, but whether the kayaks are at Boambee Creek depends on other bookings and the weather, so it’s best to give Matthew a call on 0468 406 222 to check and book.
Bookings: Not required, but recommended if you want to be sure you can hire kayaks on the day and time you want.
Tides: Kayaking around high tide allows you to explore more and go into the mangroves. Here’s a link to a Boambee Creek tide chart.
Things to bring: You’re very exposed on the water, so bring a hat and sunscreen. A bottle of water is always a good idea too.
C-Change Adventures also does:
- Eco tours and sunset/full-moon trips
- Kids parties and special events
- Kayaking lessons
- SUP lessons and SUP hire (not at Boambee Creek)
Website/Phone: Find out more on the C-Change Adventures website or call owner Matthew Sparrius on 0468 406 222.