[ Shoalhaven ][ Clyde Coast ][ Eurobodalla ]
Rising in the rugged coastal mountain ranges, the river system flows south through these spectacular mountain regions, through three National Parks and no less than ten State Forests in the Clyde Valley, widening into a broad, navigable estuary and finally reaching the Pacific Ocean at Batemans Bay after a journey of around 125 kms.
But this is no Mississippi, Nile or even River Murray. Indeed, during extremely dry periods, the Clyde is, in its upper reaches, reduced to merely a trickle.
So, why is it so special?
The quality of this river is becoming widely recognised, with favourable support being received for the local application for listing on the National Estate of "The Waters of the Clyde" - such a listing recognising the need for this important natural asset to be protected for future generations.
There are the landmarks of Pigeon House and The Castle standing as sentinels over Monolith Valley while the names of Shrouded Gods Mountain, Byangee Walls and the Ettrema Wilderness create their own special images.
This is the Clyde for the "true blue" ecotourist. Access to these wonders is by foot (after your vehicle reaches the end of the access roads) and may involve some steep and arduous treks, depending on which of the many trails that you take. But the rewards are rewards that only a trekker, bushwalker or lover of Australian nature in the raw, can appreciate : the feeling of achievement and of solitude, as well as the chance to experience landscapes of nature's splendour, almost untainted by human imprint.
The Clyde opens to its estuarine state more than 30kms from its mouth at Batemans Bay and from here it is navigable for larger craft. And indeed the history of the region and its development after British settlement was based on water transport on the Clyde estuary between the towns of Batemans Bay and Nelligen.
Today it is a focus for recreational use in these towns. Sailing, river and ocean fishing, pleasure cruises, sailboards and the outboard motor boat all find their place in the extensive waterways of the estuary.
Oyster farming in the estuary is also an important industry to the local community. This is the home of the "best oysters in the world" - a claim based on the quality of the waters in which they grow, as well as the breed of oysters grown here, namely Sydney Rock Oysters, widely considered by the connoisseur as the best of the best.
The estuary also provides the main focus for the town of Batemans Bay. The river reaching the sea by way of the Tollgate Islands provides a backdrop to the most attractive town on the NSW south coast. Many restaurants, motels and coffee shops have been sited to make the most of this beautiful estuary, which many consider makes the Bay remain in their memories.
After you visit the Clyde and drink from its waters, next you need to visit our wonderful, unspoiled beaches .......... but that is another story.