Finniss River Trail

A scenic trail down the Finniss River, its backwaters and return. The Finniss River flows roughly east to its mouth in the Goolwa Channel of the lower Murray River, opposite Hindmarsh Island. A relatively safe paddle for novices along the reed-protected river.

Murray River, Lakes and Coorong

Murray River, Lakes and Coorong

Goolwa (82 km from Adelaide)

8km loop trip

8km loop trip

Paddle Time Allow 4 hours



Easy – moderate

Paddling five checks BOM
Paddle SA is the governing body of paddle sport and recreation in South Australia. It leads and supports paddling in South Australia and encourages the safe exploration of our waterways. Paddling Trail South Australia has a range of Paddling Trails to suit different abilities. Know your ability. Kayak hire & guided tours through the amazing natural beauty of South Australia’s Coorong National Park near Goolwa. Just one hour from Adelaide.

Trail 01

Paddling Trails South Australia Avenza mapsIf you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF Map app and have interactive paddling trail maps on hand when you need them. The app uses your device’s built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos, and drop Placemark pins.

Trail Information

Launch Site: 
Wallys Landing, Tonkin road, Finniss GPS: 35.4076 S; 138.8312 E

Trail Points:
The trail starts at Wallys Landing Reserve at the end of Tonkin road and heads down stream to the junction with the lower Murray River opposite Hindmarsh Island.
There is no point in going up stream very far from Wallys Landing as it rapidly becomes choked with reeds.
Immediately after leaving Wallys Landing take the branch to the right (The left branch is short and ends at a bridge). About half a kilometre downstream an opening will be seen on the eastern side of the stream into a lake (Point A: GPS: 35.4103 S; 138.8358 E). There is usually plenty of bird life to be found here. The lake can be followed downstream to where it re-enters the Finniss River.
From here conditions can be weedy and algal blooms may be encountered, so keep to the middle of the waterway where it is clear. The cause of the algal blooms and the weed can at least in part be attributed to the extensive farming in this area, with large areas of bordering land under irrigation for grape and wine production.

Once you reach Point B GPS: 35.4343 S; 138.8500 E (The junction with Tookayerta Creek) the water will generally be clearer of weeds and the river widens out.
Check weather conditions before entering this more open area as the conditions – particularly the wind – may prove difficult for novices.
It is suggested that novices turn here and return to Wallys Landing via the main stream.
If the weather is fine you can paddle a further 5 km to the junction with the Murray River at “The Hedge”.

Parking available at launch site

Points of Interest

  1. Wineries at Finniss and in the Langhorne Creek area
    why not visit a local winery after completing the paddle trail and enjoy the local food and wine.
    See the Finish River Vineyard and Salomon Estate both located in or near Finniss.
  2. Watchalunga Nature Reserve
    Watchalunga comprises approximately 92 ha of low-lying Fleurieu Peninsula swamp area on the Finniss River. It is a very important patch of remnant habitat containing highly significant South Australian biodiversity. It was acquired by the Nature Foundation SA in 2014.
    Watchalunga contains a habitat for the critically endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren and the waters of the nature reserve provide important aquatic habitat to support freshwater fish.
    Encouragingly an early survey of the area has revealed a relatively diverse fish community with reasonably low numbers of non-native fish. Flora surveys have identified 31 indigenous species and it is hoped that with more thorough inspections more will be found.
    The Nature Foundation is working to restore this critical habitat and create a sanctuary for at-risk wildlife, and in the future, the property will be made available to groups interested in monitoring and studying this important biodiversity.


Read this safety information page
before your paddling trip.


How to use maps and contact
Paddling Trails South Australia.

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Paddling Trail South Australia has a range of Paddling Trails to suit different abilities.

Know your ability

These are easy to access kayak and canoe trails through the Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula, Riverland, Murray River, and the Coorong.