Canoe The Shoalhaven Gorge from the Tallowa Dam

Rate this Adventure Tallowa Dam

The Shoalhaven Gorge is a hidden gem, featuring stunning vaulting cliffs alongside a beautiful wide river. Only just over two hours south of Sydney, near Kangaroo Valley, this is a stunning paddling experience for anyone wanting to escape.

Even though the Shoalhaven Gorge is only about 120km from Sydney, it's a remarkable, rugged and remote adventure for those wanting a unique weekend away. Part of the Morton National Park, The Shoalhaven Gorge features stunning vaulting cliffs and remarkable pockets of rainforest that line the rugged waters edge.

Unless you're prepared for a massive hike through the challenging Ettrema Wilderness, The Gorge is only accessible via Lake Yurrunga in the East, so good preparation and considerations for an overnight stay is needed. Once you're up there, there's only one way back, which thankfully in itself has kept many crowds away from this stunning location.

Starting at Tallowa Dam (20km from Kangaroo Valley), a paddle up the Shoalhaven Gorge is a stunning, relaxing and memorable adventure, best done in a canoe or a sea kayak. Head West from Tallowa Dam up into the gorge. The lake is quite wide to begin with, but narrows considerably as you journey deeper and deeper into the gorge. You can paddle all the way up to Fossickers Flat, where there's a camping ground, however, be prepared for some rapids here, as the lake shallows considerably and turns back into the Shoalhaven River.

Whilst the paddle itself is only around 10-16km (depending on how far into the gorge you want to go), it's an amazing and picturesque flat water journey that's best done as an overnighter.

Due to the sheer cliffs and steep river banks of the gorge, there aren't many places to camp along the way. However, at around the 8, 10, 12 and 14km marks there are some nice camping grounds (some of which National Parks have installed toilets). There's a great National Park sign at Tallowa Dam showing all of the camping locations along the way. 

This is a fantastic get away, not too far from Sydney or Canberra and a magical experience for those who love to paddle! I've paddled this in both a canoe and sea kayak numerous times and I never tire of the amazing views and stunning remoteness of this hidden gorge.

Pack List

  • Paddling Vessel
  • Paddle
  • Topo Maps (Burrier, Bundanoon, Caoura)
  • Food
  • Water
  • Life-Jacket
  • Water-friendly shoes
  • Dry bag for your camera/sat phone
  • Camera
  • Tent
  • Stove
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sat Phone and/or EPERB
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Activities Canoeing, Camping
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
River
Scenic

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