Sunday 20 March 2016

Sunday 20/3/2016 - Clayton Bay to the mouth

25km - 0km

The climax of our trip happens today. We are all pleased to have the lake behind us and only a short run today down to the mouth. It is hard to believe we started this part of our adventure in Albury seven weeks ago and today it will be finished. 

The excitement has us all out of bed early and getting ready to go. Last night we had a very heavy dew and everything is wet. We will have to dry our camping gear tonight. 

We hit the water at the usual 7:30am, push out from between the reeds and meet up with Peter and Denis who once again join us for the days paddle. The morning is a great Autumn day with a cool tail breeze, we wish we had that yesterday. 

A couple of hours of paddling had us passing under the Hindmarsh Island bridge and then pulling into Goolwa for a cuppa. Judy is waiting for us and Kerryn also arrives. We take the opportunity for some victory photos before heading for the lock at the Goolwa barrage.  The barrages have been built on lake Alexandrina to seperate the salt water from the fresh water. 

Once we dropped the 450mm in our last lock we were out onto the Coorong. It is about 5km to the mouth on salt water.  The dredges at the mouth soon appear. These dredges are used to stop the mouth silting up and to ensure tidal flows enter and exit the Coorong. 

As we reach the mouth and see the waves on the other side we all stop for some high fives and to reflect on what we have achieved. A dream has come to fruition. A few tears may have also appeared. 

We pull up on the beach in the mouth to enjoy the special moment and get some more photos. We say goodbye to Peter and Denis who have been constant companions over the last three days, thanks guys it has been very much appreciated. 

Most of us paddle out to the waves to try a little surfing; however, Tony the true salt water paddler in the group, shows us all up be going out through the breakers. I saw his boat three quarters out of the water at one point. 

Tinky finally got his fish, what a relief. We paddled back to the boat ramp to meet Kerryn and Judy and to enjoy some fish and chips. Janice and John soon arrive from Albury. It is hard to pack the boats up and put them on the trailer for the trip home. 

So ends our journey from the mountains to the sea. Seven and a half weeks and lots of memories. Special thanks go your wives for their support during trip and to all those whom we met along the way that either fed or showed friendship to us. 

I am interested in who has been following our adventure via this blog. If you have enjoyed the trip with us then drop me an email at

We reach the mouth. 

The boys are elated 

Tony shows off

Tinky gets his fish


Saturday 19 March 2016

Special Edition - The boys and their beards

Some of these will soon be removed. 

Tinky the fisherman

Thomo the captain

Sarg the gorilla 


EJ, now known as OJ

Mike the blogger. 

Saturday 19/3/2016 - Wellington to Clayton Bay

76km - 25km

Today is the day that we cross lake Alexandrina.  When you talk to boat people about paddling the Murray this topic always comes up, "how are you going to cross the lake". With the help of Peter and Denis we decide that we will go to Pomanda island for a break and then cross the lake to Point Sturt (24km) for lunch and then on to Clayton Bay. 

We wanted an early start to beat the wind so we are up st 5am to pack up and get on the water 6:30am. Light is just appearing on the horizon and the wildlife is waking up. We paddle through Pelicans getting an earl feed and past three trees full of Corellas. Before long we are in the top end of the lake heading toward the island. Thomo and EJ decide to stop for a piddle but did not notice the duck shooters in their hide. They gave them a full frontal. 

A quick stop at the island before heading out into the lake proper. I have never paddled in open water before and thought of paddling into the water filled horizon was daughting. 

All is going well and the water has been quite good, however with 7km to go the wind picks up quickly and the lake turns on the rough waves in an instant. What should have been an easy 7km paddle turned into a 2 hour ordeal. At times I wonder if we are making progress. Eventually we reach Point Sturt for a dry out and lunch. EJ is not feeling well and suspects sea sickness. We were all excited to have made it across the lake. 

Over lunch the sun comes out and waves ease off. A good afternoon paddle is ahead. Just as we return to our boats and turn the corner another rain squall hits and again the lake turns on the waves. This continues for an hour before things settle again. 

We have been lucky to have had Peter and Denis in their yacht as riding behind them helped to smooth the water and their navigation was appreciated. 

It is close to 5pm when we get to Clayton Bay and find a caravan park to book into. We are cold, tired, and hungry. How good does a hot shower feel?  Today has been the second longest day of the trip, and definitely the hardest.  That is saying something as I thought yesterday was hard. 

We have a great dinner at the local cafe before heading to bed. We all feel like we are still in the boat with our heads swaying in the waves, I hope that goes away with sleep. 

A cracking morning to start the day

Heading out into the lake

Looking back to where we came from at Point Sturt

EJ was a bit hungry at dinner. 

Friday 18 March 2016

Friday 18/3/2016 - Murray Bridge to Wellington

109km - 75km

Last night it rained on and off and a big wind developed. The wind kept us awake in the early part of the morning. Judy and Noel greet us with breakfast. It is really good to have hot egg and bacon rolls, tea and coffee on such a cold and windy morning. Thanks again. 

We wheel our boats back to the boat ramp pack them up and get ready for a difficult paddle. Thick cockpit covers, wind jackets and life jackets are the order of the day. At least we will be warm in the boats, that is until I step on the boat ramp slime and gracefully slide down and into the water. Starting wet was not ideal. 

We head to the marina to meet Peter and Denis, who will be escorting us in Peter's yacht for the next three days through lake Alexandrina. Both are very experienced in boating, the Murray, and the lake. It is great to have them with us. 

The first part of the trip to Tailem Bend goes well as we either have the wind behind us or we can get protection from the willow lined banks. We stop for lunch at a road house before heading to Wellington. 

A change in river direction now has us heading into a very strong wind. At times we are not moving, but persistence pays dividends as we finally make it to Wellington. The final 12kms have been the worst of the trip and took us all afternoon.  Strong wind with gusts over 60km/h and significant waves. 

Peter has organised for us to stay on the lawn at the local hotel.  To do this we need to lift all the boats onto a jetty. They should be comfortable there tonight. Dinner at the hotel and off to bed to prepare for our journey across the lake. The weather will play a big part on how far we get tomorrow. 

Our camp at Wellington with Peter's boat in the back. 

Thursday 17 March 2016

Thursday 17/3/3016 - Younghusband to Murray Bridge

167km - 109km

An interrupted nights sleep for must due to the local visitors and the humidity. We are up a bit earlier for a nice breakfast on the beach. The sunrise is again magnificent with colours changing on the clouds from deep red to orange and yellows. This will be one of the last sunrises that we will see on the river. The sun finally cracks the horizon as we saddle up at 7:20am. 

The morning is still a bit humid and with a light northerly breeze behind us it is quite warm on the water. Our first objective is morning tea at Mannum. The river is now very wide and Thomo measured it at 440m wide. 

We pass more shack towns before we get to Mannum at 9:30am. This town is another jewel and I will be back in the future for a good look and to dig into the history of the area a bit more. The bakery is a cracker and we again fill up on pies and flavoured milk.

Back on to the water again for our next objective of Murray Bridge. We are now coming out of cliff country and more agriculture is evident. Some areas are still very dry and baron.  Each side of the river now has swamps and back waters. We stop at Mypolonga for lunch on the ski beach. 

The wind has increased and there are rain storms about. It is now very humid. We are lucky that the wind is behind us for about 80% of the time as this makes for a fast afternoon. We get to Murray Bridge at 4:30pm and look for the caravan park. 

Judy, Judy and Noel are there to greet us. It is good to see some familiar faces. Even better was that Judy and Noel have organised a BBQ dinner for us all. Thanks alot guys, it went down a treat. 

It is raining a bit tonight so the tent is all closed up and quite hot. There are also two guys opposite drinking and trying to sort their lives out. Oh joy. 

Sunrise from the boat. 

The wide flat river in the morning. 

Last of the cliff country and the storms starting to form. 

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Wednesday 16/3/2016 - Kroehns Landing to Younghusband

220km - 167km

A nice cool night was great for sleeping. Tinky broke out the port cask so the guys went to sleep like babies. EJ slept on a pontoon in the river and was lucky that we did not set him adrift. We had our first real dew for the trip so the tents are a bit wet to pack up. 

A beautiful day today reminds us that Autumn is here; cool morning, little breeze, and warming during the day. Much better than the summer blast we endured for three weeks. 

Away at 7:30am on calm water. The river now is much wider and more of what I had expected at this end. We continue to pass small villages of shacks and in between some more magnificent cliff faces which seem to be getting higher. It is like paddling through a gouged out landscape. 

After a few hours we pass Walker Flat and then the 200km sign, another milestone. We then pass Scrubby Flat and Purnong before stopping at Bowhill for lunch at the general store. Like yesterday a number of us are feeling tired by lunch so a good flavoured milk and hamburger lunch goes down well. 

Back to the boats for a run down the river to Lake Carlet and Younghusband. We hit Younghusband at 4:30pm and ready for a camping spot. We find the caravan park is at the top of the hill so that is out of the question. We settle for a nice no camping area on the town beach.  The locals are accommodating and there is no need to have our own music as that is being provided for us by some young locals. Could be a long night. 

It is hard to find campsites in this part of the river because of the extensive shack towns and private property along the banks.  Victoria has public land along 95% of the river and that is a real bonus for river users. 

Passing one of the many cliff faces

Passing one of the shack towns

Tuesday 15/3/2016 - Blanchtown to Kroehns Landing

274km - 220km

A cool and breezy morning as we get up at 6:30. We pack the boats and wheel them out of the caravan park to the river. We have an appointment with the lock at 8am. 

On the water and off to the lock. Bad news, the lock has an electrical problem and the lock master is waiting for the electrician. We elect to walk around the lock, a bit disappointing for the last lock. After 45 minutes of pulling kayaks up and down hills we are back on the water.

Our aim today is to do 53km as we need to get to Murray Bridge on Thursday. The  southerly wind is still blowing as we spend two hours banging into it. There is no respite from the wind as in other parts of the river as there are no bends and we are heading south. 

At 11am the wind eases and we have a lovely clear day for paddling. We pass the Murray Princess, a big passenger boat. The wake behind the Murray Princess was huge, I hope she passes us going in the other direction. 

We stop for lunch at Swan Reach. A lovely little town that makes Blanchtown look even worse than we thought it was. A hamburger and milk at the local cafe and the owner throughs in some free chips. We must be looking tired.  Another place to come back to for a visit. 

We are now in shack country and they appear everywhere on the river banks. It is quite a culture which has built up on the river. Most of the shacks are nice houses on the river bank that are used for holiday homes. We are also in cliff country and we have been following them all day. One set of cliffs was a nesting point for cockatoos and there are thousands of birds. 

By mid afternoon we are at The Big Bend, a magnificent cliff face. EJ tries the coolness in a cut away section under the cliff. 

The afternoon is getting away and it is 6:15pm when we hit our target for the day. A quick camp set up, dinner, a bath and off to bed. In the middle of this we did enjoy another nice sunset. 

The Murray Princess

The Big Bend