Yuraygir Coastal Walk - Sandon River Crossing

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Yuraygir Coastal Walk - Sandon River Crossing

Postby lostkiwi » Mon 12 Nov, 2018 3:28 pm

Hello there, I am hoping a friendly voice may be able to help me out here.

I am planning to do ~38km section of the Yuraygir Coastal Walk on Wednesday December the 12th, starting at Lake Arragan and finishing at Wooli - It will be a combination of walking & running so that I can get through it all in one day, which in itself shouldn't be a problem since I have a lot of experience with similar activities.

The issue I am having though is crossing Sandon River - I have read that you need to cross via a watercraft vessel, however I cannot find any information at all about how I would organise that. All links and phone numbers that I have found online are no longer relevant (including that from the website), and I can't find any information anywhere on how I would go about getting across. I have even tried the Sandon Campground for advice however all of their calls seem to go to a NSW National Park Center rather than the local campground itself. I have read some forums that suggest that I may be able to hitch a ride across with some locals on the day however I don't want to leave that up to chance.

Does anyone have any information about how I would organise a ride across Sandon River on that day, likely around midday?

Alternatively, I am an experienced swimmer, and the tide will be incoming. Assuming that I put all of my gear into a waterproof bag, is swimming across the river a possibility?

Many thanks all and best regards
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Re: Yuraygir Coastal Walk - Sandon River Crossing

Postby Wollemi » Mon 12 Nov, 2018 7:55 pm

If you are that concerned about it all, get a tide chart for Wooli. Here it is; https://tides.willyweather.com.au/nsw/f ... andon.html.

Swim/wade across at Low Tide - preferably with the tide starting to come in, just to be sure you won't be swept out to sea. With the current aerial photograph on Google maps, it is seen that; at low tide, there are two 20m wades and one 35m wades.

Swim it. Double-bag your electronics, as well as your shoe inner soles and socks. https://seatosummit.com/product/evac-dr ... ith-event/
Live everyday as if it were your last... one day you will be right.
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Re: Yuraygir Coastal Walk - Sandon River Crossing

Postby michael_p » Mon 12 Nov, 2018 8:18 pm

Lots of information here: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=20269

Commercial watercraft contact details from npws site: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/th ... astal-walk
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Re: Yuraygir Coastal Walk - Sandon River Crossing

Postby lostkiwi » Tue 13 Nov, 2018 9:27 am

Thank you to both posters.

Wolleni, yes I've already taken the tide charts into consideration. When I arrive it the tide should be incoming but near high tide. Unfortunately wading won't be an option at that time, although as mentioned I am an experienced swimmer.

Michael - I actually read that topic in full before posting this one - It's where I got the suggestion about hitching a ride. It unfortunately doesn't offer any concrete advice other than that. And in terms of the npsw site, I also tried the contact details before making the topic, where by the phone number lead me to a voice message saying that I would need to organise crossing myself (hence the topic).

Thanks again, does anyone have any other suggestions? Otherwise it looks like I am swimming.
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Re: Yuraygir Coastal Walk - Sandon River Crossing

Postby Bron » Tue 13 Nov, 2018 9:46 pm

I did this walk last year around that date and found organising the crossings fairly straightforward.

I found ringing the Grafton office of the NPWS to be helpful and there is a ranger who can give you all the info you need about the walk.

This is the link to a brochure about the walk:-
https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/-/ ... lk-pdf.pdf

Sandon crossing can be easily crossed at low tide by swimming as the banks are sand. As can Red Rocks and Station Creek (wade). You will need a way to get valuables across without getting them wet however. Wooli is more trecherous and we used the local boat hire to make the crossing. At Red Rocks we asked a local about to check his craypots for a lift. He told us that lots of people cross at the bar as at that time of year there are lots of tourists with boards which can be borrowed to transport gear.

The parks office should be able to give you the code for the combination lock on the boats at Sandon River. You use the boats to make a self crossing with your gear. I guess if you find both boats on the other side you would have to swim across first! It is quite a short crossing.

If you are getting to Wooli on a Wednesday be aware the the cafe is not open on Wednesday (as at dec 2017). This we found to our frustration, it was rather a hot day, and cold drinks would have been nice.

hope this helps.
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Re: Yuraygir Coastal Walk - Sandon River Crossing

Postby lostkiwi » Wed 14 Nov, 2018 9:18 am

Thank you so much for the valuable information Bron. You've put my mind at ease that swimming will be fine. By my calculation the tide will be about half way up (incoming) when I get there, and I will be taking a dry sack with me to pack my gear into. I will be travelling light, most of my pack weight will be water.

A swim will probably feel pretty fantastic after the 13km run from Lake Arragan.

We are actually staying in Wooli for the week, so the cafe not being open isn't too much of an issue since we will have food at the house, although thank you for pointing it out.

Cheers again
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Re: Yuraygir Coastal Walk - Sandon River Crossing

Postby lostkiwi » Mon 17 Dec, 2018 11:22 am

For what it's worth for anyone who may stumble on this topic in the future, crossing the Sandon River is fine so long as you are a capable swimmer. I crossed at about mid tide and whilst it was far too deep to wade, the crossing is short and the flow is not strong. I crossed mostly kicking on my back while keeping my dry bag above water, and it only took a minute or so.

There were a few locals around when I crossed, although no-one with a boat. Whilst you probably could wait around to find someone with a vessel to assist you, you should probably have a contingency to cross yourself if you haven't organised something in advance.

I will say that Wooli river however would not be safe to swim across. It is very wide, and has strong currents at the river mouth.

For anyone interested you can see my activity here, which was from the Lake Arragan Campground to Wooli:
https://www.strava.com/activities/2012851607

I will say that in reflection I unknowingly didn't follow the trail correctly around Minnie Water; there is a rock platform along the beach I should have followed instead. However that was only a short section.
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