Tweed River Cruise

Tweed River Cruise

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Tweed River cruise
Tweed River Cruise reveals a view of Mt Warning. Photos: Irene Isaacson.


When holidaying in the Tweed Valley in northern New South Wales, most Tweed river cruises take you along the huge Tweed Valley, which opens to the ocean at Kingscliff. If you want a different experience try a Tweed River cruise on the Rous River instead.

Tweed River Cruise Experience

tweed river cruises
A Tweed River Cruise on the Rous River is a relaxing way to spend a few hours.

The Rous River

The Rous River is a perennial tributary of the Tweed River and stretches for 25km, almost as far as the Natural Arch.

It extends down to where it meets the Tweed at the lovely historic riverside town of Tumbulgum.

The name comes from the Aboriginal translation for ‘the meeting of two rivers’.

It is a much shallower and narrower river than the Tweed. Cruising is thus quiet,er and spotting birdlife much easier.

In fact the tour operators brag to have seen 38 species of birds in a two-hour trip.

The tours are run by only one innovative boutique company, Mt Warning River Cruises.

Mike and Robert were our hosts and tour guides.

They were a lot of fun and full of great information.

Late afternoon Tweed River cruise

tweed river cruise at the dock
Our Tweed River cruise was in the late afternoon.

We chose a late afternoon cruise hoping that it would not be as hot, with more wildlife activity than in the heat of the day.

A resort pickup took us to the Tweed River’s edge at Tumbulgum where we boarded the pontoon boat.

The Rous River varies from one to three metres deep but this craft had a draft of only 0.7 metres cruising for quite a way up stream.

Leaving a small wooden jetty and crossing the Tweed River we set off up the Rous.

We passed an old cemetery built in a rainforest between 1860 and 1930, mangroves and cattle farms.

tweed river cruise mangroves
Tweed River Cruise magrove ducks

The old road to Murwillumbah ran alongside a short stretch of the river before leading up to a coffee plantation and wineries.

Flora and fauna on our Tweed River Cruise 

tweed river
Rous River Cruise eagle nest close up

An eagle’s nest high up on an electricity pylon was home to a mother eagle and her noisy baby.

Crab pots were scattered everywhere.  

tweed river cruise wildlife
Tweed River Cruise spoonbill cormorant

We spotted a spoonbill, with a pied cormorant as an unusual friend, as well as azure and sacred kingfishers, a brahminy kite and the odd snake in the water.

The boys handed out books to help us identify the birds.

Tweed River Cruise termites nest
Tweed River Cruise termite nest

A termite nest high on a tree trunk hosted a kookaburra as we passed close to a $180,000 rock wall constructed to combat erosion by a local landowner.

The boys show us a map on our Tweed River Cruise
Tweed River Cruise map information

The river accessed forest areas with red and (more rarely) white cedar, hoop pine and bunya pine.

These had been extensively logged years ago, the logs floated down to Kingscliff for milling.

The local flora also encourages the rare Richmond wing butterfly.

Flora and fauna spotting alternated with eating nibbles and drinking wine. Along with a setting sun over Mt Warning in the distance, it was an extremely relaxing experience.  

We slowly meandered our way back to the jetty after a good two hours cruising.

The historic town of Tumbulgum 

Old Bakery in Tumbulgum
Our Tweed River Cruise takes us to Tumbulgum, where this Old Bakery is a lovely building.

The trip ended in a short heritage tour of some of the historic buildings of Tumbulgum along the river edge.

We all headed into the old Tumbulgum Tavern where a seafood platter was awaiting us.

Tumbulgum Tavern
Tweed River Cruise Tumbulgum Tavern lunch

Fresh Moreton bay bugs, mussels, prawns and locally caught fish served with the best deep-fried crispy chips I have ever tasted.

Tweed river cruise
Tweed River Cruise Tavern seafood feast

The sun set behind the caldera whilst we feasted, basking us in its glory as it reflected off the river into the tavern.

Tweed River Cruise river sunset
Tweed River Cruise river sunset

What a glorious end to a wonderful afternoon.

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Tweed River Cruise

Tweed River Cruise 2

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