Punyelroo Loop Trails South Australia

Two loop trails from Punyelroo Public Boat Ramp; the first via Punyelroo lagoon to the Punyelroo Cave then the option of a second loop downstream to Big Bend, returning to launch site

Paddle overview : Punyelroo Loop Trails

Punyelroo Loop Trails (including Big Bend)

Region Murray River, Lakes and Coorong
Nearest Town Swan Reach (178km from Adelaide)View in google map
Distance Two loops: 8km and 12km
Paddle Time Half day for each loop
Difficulty Easy
Facilities Caravan Park (with facilities) nearby with its own boat ramp
Conditions Visit BOM for weather conditions
Conditions River and river backwaters
Parking Limited near boat ramp

Trail Notes

Launch Site:
Punyelroo Public Boat Ramp. GPS: 
34.6038 S; 139. 6032 E)

Trail Points:
The entrance to Punyelroo lagoon is almost opposite the Punyelroo Caravan Park.
The Punyelroo Cave is located at Point A (GPS: 34.5943 S; 139.6112 E) in the lagoon. The Punyelroo Cave extends for about 3 kms but exploration of it is not advised except for experienced cavers.
The trail then continues further up the lagoon to Swan Reach to Point B (GPS: 34.5730 S; 139.5940 E). The town centre can be reached by a short (400m) walk along a path. This spot makes a good lunch stop. There is a short creek alongside the path but it may not be navigable.
The canoe trail returns to Punyelroo along the same route.
A second loop downstream extends the trail to view the magnificent cliffs at Big Bend at Point C (GPS: 34.6463 S; 139.6233 E). This section adds a further 10-12km round trip.



Always check weather and wind conditions before embarking (see Meteye)

Trail 09


Punyelroo Caravan Park has all facilities including picnic area and its own boat ramp

Points of interest

  1. Big BendBig Bend
    Big Bend in South Australia is the longest single bend in the Murray River. The area is known for its spectacular riverside cliffs, which are the tallest along the Murray River. The limestone cliffs are rich with millions of ocean fossils and are home to colonies of bats. Caves in the area have been continuously occupied for at least 8,000 years and are sacred to the local aboriginal community.
    Views of the bend in the river are observed from near the road between Swan Reach and Nildottie which runs along the top of the cliffs.
    The river turns northwest just past the south eastern end of the row of shacks, passes a lagoon, then makes the sweeping Big Bend to the right through approximately 180 degrees. Then after an almost straight section, continues the right turn through another 90 degrees before the left turn round Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park.
  2. Ngaut NgautNgaut Ngaut Aboriginal site
    is located on Hunter Road, Nildottie, Murraylands. The Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Site offers a walk through Aboriginal dreaming and culture. Join the guides on a tour through Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Site and experience Aboriginal culture as you journey through the ancestral home of the Nganguraku People. Further information can be found by visiting the website.
    Come and explore the picturesque landscape of the Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park and discover a unique insight into the traditional landowners, the Nganguraku people. This culturally and historically significant conservation park is best accessed through a guided tour with an experienced guide from the Mannum Aboriginal Community Association. The guided tours aim to promote cross-cultural understanding and school groups are welcome.
  3. Punyelroo CavePunyelroo Cave
    An extract from an article about the Punyelroo Cave which appeared in The Mail, Adelaide (10 Dec 1927) by TP Bellchambers.‘I was reminded of an old aboriginal legend in regard to that natural phenomenon at Swan Beach. The native who told the story stated that long before the coming of the white man a crow and a goanna had a big fight, and the crow by means of ‘quoree’ or magic, won. He chased the goanna into a hole in the cliffs, and blocked him in with plenty of stones, because that country belonged to the crow and not the goanna. After a long time the goanna came back, and the crow making search found a ‘big feller’ hole where the goanna came out.


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TrailsFull DayPunyelroo Loop Trails (including Big Bend)

Paddling Trail South Australia has range of Paddling Trails to suit different abilities. These are easy to access kayak and canoe trails through the Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula, Riverland, Murray River and the Coorong.