Bonville Creek estuary (Pine Creek and Bonville Creek tributaries)
The Bonville Creek estuary meanders through Bongil Bongil National Park and flows into the sea at Sawtell. The name ‘bongil bongil’ means ‘a good place to stay a long time’. This is a fantastic location for kayaking or trying out your skill on a stand-up-paddle board.
The upper section of Pine Creek is stained brown by melaleuca and lined by towering gums and magnificent pines. Further downstream you reach the mangroves and eventually the dunes below Bonville boat ramp.
As the estuary becomes bigger there are great fishing opportunities. The Bongil Bongil Picnic area, with its amenities, provides a charming spot for morning tea or lunch.
Upstream from the boat ramp, the tidal influence is reduced, making this place perfect for the novice kayaker or those interested in testing their skill on a stand-up-paddle board. A bonus is that this creek is protected from prevailing NE summer winds.
The endangered Floyd’s Grass may be seen on Bonville Creek, Pine and nearby Creek Boambee Creek. If you are really lucky you may see the Black Dart Moth flitting about the grass.
Along the creek you may encounter Ibis, Cormorants, and Egrets busily eyeing the shallows while Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagles soar overhead. The beautiful Brahminy Kite is a common sighting and the dazzling Azure Kingfishers may be seen sitting on low branches.
Take a guided tour with an experienced marine environmentalist. This is a great way to experience the flora and fauna of the area. For novice paddlers this is a fun way to learn to paddle while experiencing an interpretation of the creek and its spectacular beauty.
If you choose to start from the Pine Creek Way bridge you’ll head through magnificent eucalypt forests and reach the Bongil Bongil Canoe launch area on the left after 40 minutes paddling. Toilets and a BBQ area (free gas powered) make this a great spot for a snack. The tank water needs to be boiled before consumption.
Continue downstream for 15 minutes past the Big Bend Picnic area. This is another fantastic rest stop with incredible tree ferns in the trees above.
If you fancy fishing for Mangrove Jack just look out for trees that have fallen into the water and cast around them.
Bonville boat ramp is about 40 minutes further downstream and, for those paddling beyond the ramp, there are sand dunes on your right. The dues afford a great view of the Little Terns nesting in the low dunes to the north. Their nests are scrapes in the sand and the eggs and chicks are difficult to see. Please take care to avoid this area.
At the dunes, the creek narrows and tidal influences increase so time your paddle with the tide for maximum enjoyment.
The upper and lower estuary is easily accessible from the Bonville Creek boat ramp. Pine Creek is at least 2 hours upstream where you encounter incredible riparian vegetation, the serene countryside and ‘everglade’ type scenery all the way to Burma Rd. You may have to lug your kayaks over fallen trees and access to Burma Rd may require a 4WD depending on how recently it has been graded.