Distance: 11 kilometres return
Duration: 3 hours return
Best time to launch: 1.5 hours before high tide at Swan Bay
Start/finish: Old Swan Bay Ferry ramp, Old Ferry Road, Swan Bay – GPS:29°03’17.8″S 153°18’50.9″E.
Parking: On grass beside the road
Toilets: Closest are on the corner of Woodburn-Coraki Road and River Street (Pacific Highway) in Woodburn
Route: Swan Bay was once a meander in the course of the Richmond River but, as is often the case with big rivers, the water found another way through the landscape and cut the meander off from the main flow. It is not quite an oxbow lake yet. You can float into its downstream end. The best way to do that is to launch from the old Swan Bay Ferry ramp and paddle to the left to go up the Richmond River. The entrance to Swan Bay is on the left bank at the first right-hand bend in the river. Kingfishers love this narrow part of the waterway and you might see both azure and sacred varieties. Flying foxes like to hang around here during the day too. Swan Bay is now quite shallow but it is possible to paddle all the way to the end using the deeper water on the outside of the bend. The bay was once teeming with black swans but they became less common as the lake silted up and became overgrown. Thankfully, rehabilitation of the environment in recent years has seen them start to come back.