The Wilson River
The Wilson River begins on the mountain slopes of Mount Banda Banda in the Willi Willi National Park at an elevation of 554 metres. It runs for 69 km, through the villages and farmland of Upper Rollands Plains, Gum Scrub, and Ballengarra until it joins with the Maria River just east of Telegraph Point. From here, the Maria joins with the Hastings River and continues to its mouth at Port Macquarie.
The Wilson River was named by Lieutenant W.E.B Wilson, an engineer and later Superintendent of the Settlement who was appointed to Port Macquarie in 1821. (He also named the Maria River after his wife, Maria ‘Mae’ Wilson).
Wilson River Fishing
The river at Tele Point is great for fishing.
The Wilson west of the bridge and around the Maria are both great for Bass. Surface fishing, deep-diving hardbodies, and fishing around the structures will all get you plenty of fish. You'll find Flathead right along the river. They'll take to soft plastics and diving minnow hardbody lures. The confluence of the Maria is good for Garfish on prawns. There are plenty of Bream to be caught, especially in summer during cicada season.
You can buy bait and last-minute fishing gear at the service station just down the road from the boat ramp.
Canoe Trail 1
Launch from Log Wharf and head upriver at your own pace. In winter, an early morning paddle will take you through a silent, mist-shrouded river. Even in summer, the Wilson River here offers the perfect balance of light and shade. The river changes from the satin-smooth, wide river around the bridge and rail overpass, to a more winding course with rocky narrows further upstream. It’s best to choose a good run-in tide for smooth passage over the shallows and grassy outcrops that start about 7 km up the river.
This stretch of the river is peaceful, with the call of bellbirds, and beautiful scenic stretches of river bordered by tall white rivergums, rolling hills of cow-studded farmland, and cascading vines hanging close to the riverbank.
While the river runs through private property, there’s plenty of little sandbanks and rocky bends that make a nice half-way stop for morning or afternoon tea. Find somewhere to stretch your legs and then enjoy a more relaxing paddle downstream back to the boat ramp.
Canoe Trail 2
Explore the Anabranchs – Log Wharf to Hacks Ferry
The narrower, meandering waterways around the confluence of the Wilson and Maria Rivers are perfect for a secluded paddle. There’s plenty of river to explore with a loop around Fentons Island or Torrens Island via the Maria Anabranch and the Torrens Anabranch.
The tall trees, overhanging mangroves, and colourful riverbank lilies create a feeling of remoteness. These undisturbed channels are ideal for birdwatchers or those who enjoy floating along quiet waters with just a few tight corners. Nankeen Herons are easy to spot, but keep an eye (or an ear) out for Forest Kingfishers and Shining-Bronze Cuckoos.
The small boat ramp at Hacks Ferry is a good location for pickup, or loop back to the car park at Log Wharf Reserve.
A few kilometres further downriver takes you to The Hatch or the boat ramp and picnic area at Blackmans Point - and conveniently close to the Café at Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries (see location on the map for Canoe Trail 3).
Canoe Trail 3
Three Rivers Explorer
If you’d like a longer paddle, you can arrange drop off at Tele Point and canoe back to Port Macquarie. Heading downstream from the boat ramp at Log Wharf under the bridge Telegraph Point to the Rowing Reserve at Hibbard Drive is just over 25 kilometres. While those competing in the Three Rivers Marathon can race the course in under 2 hours, leisurely paddlers will want to allow a half-day on an outgoing tide to truly enjoy the scenery along the way.
Each of the three rivers offers quite different environments from quiet farmland, to mangroves, sandy beaches, and the more populated waterways closer Port Macquarie.