Celebrating recreational paddling at Bendeela

Watercraft of all shapes and sizes converge at Kangaroo Valley

Our popular Bendeela Recreation Area, on the banks of the Kangaroo River south of Sydney, recently hosted the Festival of Canoe and Kayak (F.O.C.K) with hundreds of festival-goers enjoyed the family-friendly three-day celebration of recreational paddling.

WaterNSW Manager Stakeholder Engagement, Brendan Maher, said WaterNSW was proud to be part of such an inclusive and community-minded event, and develop relationships with the people and operators who use the river.

“Our staff appreciated the opportunity to talk with visitors about our recently completed wombat mange treatment program that has greatly improved the health of the many friendly wombats who call Bendeela home,” Brendan said.

“We value the feedback we sought from paddlers and outdoor lifestyle communities on their priorities when it comes to WaterNSW’s services, which will feed into our broader IPART consultation and inform our 2025-2030 pricing proposal.

“Our teams also discussed WaterNSW’s role in protecting Sydney’s drinking water catchments, which are some of the most pristine natural environments in the State.”

About 350 people attended a mix of free and paid events across the weekend of 23-25 June. Locally-owned indigenous company Gadhungal Marring organised a hands-on activity making a traditional Aboriginal canoe, and the headline music act was Nyirey Kickett, a Nyungah and Wilyakali singer-songwriter.

WaterNSW Manager of Catchments, Lands and Spatial Systems, Daryl Gilchrist, said it was great to meet paddlers from all walks of life and be part of a fun-focused festival at the serene Bendeela Recreation Area.

“I am really proud of the way the recreation area presents. It’s always great to meet with the groups and local communities who enjoy the public spaces we operate,” Daryl said.

F.O.C.K has established Kangaroo Valley as the canoeing capital of Australia, and we look forward to working with the event organisers again in 2024.

People with bark canoe
Traditional Aboriginal canoe.... F.O.C.K. is committed to ensuring First Nations people are included in the festival socially, culturally and economically.
girl standing in canoe
The Kangaroo River is a beautiful natural environment for paddlers to enjoy the annual Festival of Canoe and Kayak (F.O.C.K.) Photos by Tim Clark.

Bendeela and its wombats

Located on the lands of the Wodi Wodi people, Bendeela is a popular camping ground 150 kilometres south of Sydney. ith a backdrop of rugged hills and forest, the grassy camping grounds are beside a wide section of the Kangaroo River on the upper reaches of Lake Yarrunga, formed by nearby Tallow Dam.

In recent years some of the friendly Bare-nosed wombats who call the campground home were losing fur and getting sores around their ears, nose and eyes, a condition called sarcoptic mange.

WaterNSW worked closely with National Parks and Wildlife Service, the University of Tasmania and local stakeholders to find a long-term and sustainable treatment solution.

Wombats received a monthly dose of Bravecto, a common flea and tick treatment for pets, and by the end of the six-month treatment program, the number of wombats with severe sarcoptic mange has dropped significantly.

bark canoe
Creating a traditional canoe was one of the hands-on activities enjoyed by festival-goers.
WaterNSW tent
WaterNSW staff were out busy chatting with paddlers about our successful wombat mange treatment program, catchment protection and IPART pricing proposal.

Published date: 7 July 2023

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WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more