Canoeing at Red Rock with Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours
The Coffs Coast is celebrated for its diversity of outdoor experiences with nature reserves, uncrowded beaches, pristine creeks and inviting estuaries. From the Bellinger River to Boambee Creek and the estuaries of Moonee and Red Rock, locals and visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring the beautiful waterways of the region. Here, one local photographer heads to Red Rock to experience our region from a whole new perspective…
The Gumbaynggirr experience on the Corindi River
Tucked away just north of Woolgoolga lies Red Rock, a small coastal town abounding in natural beauty. Red Rock holds much history for the Gumbaynggirr people, and I was keen to find out more about the area.
I had arranged to meet my guides, Clark Webb and Shane Singleton from Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours on the banks of the Corindi River. In the Gumbaynggirr language, Wajaana Yaam translates to from this country. They operate tours in picturesque and culturally significant settings.
Everyone quickly got the hang of stand up paddle boarding. Images by Sooz Myhill
Paddle board or canoe? S’up to you
As I arrived, Clark was demonstrating how to ride a stand-up to some local kids paddle boarding for the first time. Camera gear in hand, I figured a canoe would be a safer bet for me and with Shane at the helm, I hopped into the canoe before we slowly ventured out into the river.
Within moments the kids were alongside us, having quickly mastered their paddle boarding technique. Clark moved to the front of the group, guiding us along the estuary. The current was fast-moving, and the water glistened blue green with flecks of gold from the sun. We cruised by a flock of spoonbills who took flight from the shoreline alongside the canoe.
Red Rock is a stunning spot as well as cultural significant one
As we neared the ocean, we pulled into a cove on our right where many jagged rocks were positioned by the shore. I noticed the rocks and cliff face were covered in different shades of ochre. Clark and the kids headed over to the cliff wall which was lined with a silky white ochre that was smooth and soft to touch. Clark and the group then painted the ochre on one another. It was a beautiful moment to observe.
Next, we followed Clark around the corner where the main headland loomed large before us. The ancient rock formation stands at a height of about 20 metres and is made of jasper, a form of red quartz. Clark pointed out areas of particular significance to the Gumbaynggirr people. With dusk approaching, we followed the path to the end of the headland where we stood, captivated by the vast ocean views.
Wajaana Yaam tours connect participants to the land and sea through stories and language. Above, covered in ochre.
Sharing language and culture
Due to the tide, our return journey was quicker. As Shane paddled and I took photos, I heard the children asking Clark the names of different fish species in the Gumbaynggirr language which they would then repeat back to him in the hope of retaining the words.
As we arrived back at our starting point, part of me wanted to head back out to explore more of the environment but I was grateful to have experienced such a beautiful and genuine water-based adventure one enhanced by Clark and Shane’s local insight into Red Rock and the surrounding region.
This is an activity not to be missed.
Clark Webb (above) and his team offer an authentic and insightful experience at Red Rock
Wajaana Yaam also do tours at Coffs Creek & Moonee. Visit wajaanayaam.com.au
Keen to explore more gorgeous waterways? Bellingen-based photographer Sooz Myhill also cruised along Boambee Creek near Sawtell and paddled by moonlight on the Bellinger River.