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Effortless Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

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June 295 minute read

Our Kangaroo Valley canoe camping trip wasn’t an epic adventure, but it sure was a fun overnighter. I was visiting Trav from WA, and instead of a night at the pub, we loaded some gear in his ute, grabbed some supplies en-route, and headed for the put in.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

Kangaroo Valley is about 2.5 hours from Sydney, but we were starting at Moss Vale, just a short drive away.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

One of the attractions of camping from canoes is their ability to swallow gear. Without the usual thought required for a hike, we loaded everything into a barrel, pack and some dry bags and headed off across Lake Yarrunga behind Tallowa Dam.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping
Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

Travis is our canoeing editor, and his enthusiasm for paddling is infectious. It was great to have the chance to catch up, explore his stunning local waters, and the perfect weather was a treat.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

Once waterborne, canoes are surprisingly easy to propel. For those new to canoeing, it’s a soulful motion. A corrective pry called a J Stroke occasionally disrupts the rhythm of the forward stroke. It gently straightens the direction of the boat without slowing its momentum, and it is a satisfying technique to master.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

Like hiking, you’re up close and personal to nature, but there is additional freedom being on the water. It’s easy to paddle side by side and chat or to dart between obstacles like a slalom course.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

Across Lake Yarrunga we headed up one of the contributing creeks to a stunning campsite. Trav pitched our shelter as our campfire spluttered to life.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping
Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

From the barrel, Trav pulled heavy ingredients for a delicious meal and a bottle of wine. It was the kind of meal usually enjoyed from a 4×4, or home, rather than the lighter weight options one might hike with.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping
Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

The next morning we returned to the ute, but we explored different nooks and crannies along the way. It felt like a new waterway, without the hassle of transport logistics.

Kangaroo Valley Canoe Camping

Canoes come in all shapes and sizes and are superb to paddle solo, a duo or even as a family. Modern composites allow even full-size craft to be relative featherweights; Gen and my tandem, for example, weighs in at ~20kg.

Short trips often spark the flame for bigger things. Trav and I are hoping to get a couple of boats up to the Kimberley someday soon for a more extended remote trip.

Kangaroo Valley Canoeing

If you’re interested in your own Kangaroo Valley canoe trip, expert canoe coaching, hiring or acquiring premium canoes, Trav’s NSW based business, Paddle & Portage Canoes, are the Australian experts in this field.

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Mike Collister has spent his life outdoors. He has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.