Camden Haven Trail

The Camden Haven River starts on the Great Escarpment and the Comboyne Plateau west of Port Macquarie and flows east through state forests and fertile valleys for its relatively short length of 72.4 kilometres. As it meanders through historic townships and districts such as Lorne and Kendall it is a small but very scenic river that then broadens dramatically as it reaches the Pacific Highway, the first place many travellers actually see the river. It then becomes part of an expansive waterways system including Watson Taylors Lake before travelling to the township of Laurieton where it joins with water from Queens Lake before its broad calm waters travel through North Haven and Dunbogan to enter the Pacific Ocean at Camden Head. While the river historically was an important transport route for the timber trade and later farming ventures its value today is in the activities that take place on the river of fishing, boating and kayaking and recreational use of surrounding national parks and State Forests.

Here are our Top Ten ways to discover and experience the Camden Haven River and its history today.

Camden Haven Historical Society Museum

Latitude -31.6523087°
Longitude 152.7967463°
  • Crn. Bold St & Laurie St
  • Laurieton NSW
  • 2443

The Camden Haven Historical Society Museum is situated in the beautiful School of Arts building in Laurieton. The museum focuses on the Camden Haven Valley and its villages and features displays on timber-getting, fishing, marine activities, farming and much more. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm.

Swans Crossing

Latitude -31.5944485°
Longitude 152.5796026°

About a 20 minute drive from Kew is Swans Crossing, the very popular camping and picnic area in the Kerewong State Forest. The Swan family ran a dairy and beef property on the site for many years, including clearing the forest and establishing grasses for the stock. This continued until 1964 when the area became State forest. The area is now surrounded by regenerated native forest and hardwood plantations. Swimming is also popular in the nearby shallows of Upsalls Creek. Longworths Tramway Heritage Walk is located a short drive away, with other walking trails leading off from the site.

Kendall

Latitude -31.6288009°
Longitude 152.712234°
  • Kendall Bridge, Kendall Road,
  • Kendall
  • 2439

The heritage village of Kendall is set on the river with several opportunities to picnic or dine overlooking the river.  Just before crossing the river into town you will find three giant coloured gum leaves which tell a symbolic story of Kendall’s unique identity and its association with timber. These stories with reference to both the past and the present are mapped out on the three and a half metre high leaves. This work by Giri Weissman makes a fitting entrance to the township as you travel from Kew.

North Brother

Latitude -31.6465594°
Longitude 152.7764369°
  • Captain Cook Bicentenary Road,
  • Laurieton, NSW
  • 2443

Local Aboriginal legend tells of the death of three brothers represented by the three mountains of North, South and Middle Brother. North Brother Mountain is the resting place of Dooragan, the youngest brother. Located east of Kew and the Pacific Highway the views from North Brother’s summit are exceptional, stretching north to Port Macquarie and south to Forster and giving the perfect birdseye view of the Camden Haven River and associated waterways. There is very easy access with a sealed road to the summit nearly 500 metres above sea level.

Fishing on the River

Latitude -31.7059592479°
Longitude 152.743736187°

Both the lower reaches of the river and its features such as Watson Taylor Lake continue to attract many with a passion for fishing, an ongoing feature of the traditional summer holiday to this part of the region.

The Laurieton Wharf and Fish Co-Op

Latitude -31.6542436°
Longitude 152.7981419°
  • Wharf Street,
  • Laurieton NSW,
  • 2443

The Laurieton Wharf and Fish Co-Op is the place to go in the Camden Haven, if you want the freshest fish, crabs, prawns and other seafood with much caught locally. The riverside walk, alfresco dining area, overlook the river and boat moorings now hosting mainly recreational boats rather than the fishing fleet of old

Local Public Art

Latitude -31.6440518°
Longitude 152.7942932°

Along the river you can find three public art installations by Rick Reynolds.

These not only enhance the Camden Haven Landscape but raise awareness of the impacts of flooding in the area. Each sculpture is a four metre high pole with numerals carved into the poles to indicate height above sea level and previous and probable future flood levels. The design includes fish sculptures of flathead, whiting and shark which are not only symbolic of the sea change lifestyle of the area but to indicate the connection of what happens when water enter homes in times of flooding with fish “coming through the door.”

You can find the “Whiting” located at Ostler Park, North Haven. “Shark” located near Laurieton Sea Rescue and “Flathead” located across the Camden Haven River from “Whiting” at Dunbogan Reserve.

Camden Haven Cruises

Latitude -31.650606°
Longitude 152.799814°
  • LOT 7031 Seymour St,
  • Laurienton, NSW
  • 2443

Why not explore the river by taking a local cruise with Camden Haven Cruises. Their 2 hour Eco Cruise every Tuesday and Thursday explores  the beauty, history and magic of the Camden Haven Inlet as well as Watson Taylor Lake, North Haven, Dunbogan and Deauville.  Live commentary covers Aboriginal, early settlement, logging, mining and maritime history, geology, and the Three Brother Mountains. Other options are available visit http://www.camdenhavencruises.com.au

Dunbogan Boatshed

Latitude -31.648224°
Longitude 152.809356°
  • 46 The Boulevarde,
  • Dunbogan NSW
  • 2443

Built in the 1940’s the Dunbogan Boatshed  still carries the charm of an old boatshed, while providing  a large range of bait & tackle, kayak, tinny & BBQ boat hire, as well as a tranquil Marina with new facilities, a popular location for passing boaties.   Locals and tourists can enjoy a quality coffee on the deck, while they soak up the view of the yachts on the water, with the back drop of North Brother mountain. You may even catch sight of a dolphin feeding amongst the nearby reeds, while you feed the fish from the deck. For more information visit http://www.dunboganboatshed.com

Camden Head Pilot Station

Latitude -31.6370256406°
Longitude 152.837925817°
  • Camden Head Road,
  • Dunbogan NSW
  • 2443

The Camden Head Pilot Station and surrounding area dates back to 1890 when the Signal Shed was first built. The Pilots Cottage is now available for hire and group tours can be arranged. The surrounding area includes Pilot Beach and the breakwaters begun in 1898 with stone quarried from the base of North Brother Mountain (Dooragan). The adjoining Kattang Nature Reserve also provides great walks and headland views. For more information www.camdenheadpilotstation.org.au