Day 12

Today was the last day of the Easter weekend and we were sort of prepared for a very busy river.

We arrived back at Bow Hill and before we hit the water there were already a couple of boats out.

As luck would have it, we had a great day – only a small number of other boats on the river – they must have seen the clouds and decided to head home early!

Bow Hill

You can see the dull grey skies in all the photos from today.

As we left Bow Hill we noted that there was a decided chill to the air – the first time we had really felt it.  Winds were very light when we set out and we saw the last of the holiday makers

Bow Hill Shacks

The view across the river to Bow Hill is pretty typical of the river shack communities we saw all the way since about Morgan.

The river again was decidedly wider – and even as we approached the cliffs it was not narrowing as much.  It was very obvious today that we were no longer in the Big Cliff part of the river – the Teal Cliffs were the last of the big ones – everything else was much smaller for the rest of the day – both in height and length.


Approaching Teal Cliffs

After the first couple of boats, we almost had the river to ourselves other than an occasional ski boat.  We expected to see a procession of houseboats returning to Mannum but only saw a few.

We followed one down the river and just past the Teal Cliffs we passed one – well sort of!

Teal Cliffs

We caught up to this one, and rather than race past, Brad decided to paddle right in behind it between the 2 engines and wash-ride.  I jumped onto 1 side of it sitting around  3-4m out to the side on the wash and  we literally just had to steer and take a very small stroke to keep on the wash.  We did this for about 1km or so, just relaxing and being pulled along at around 8km/h.

We did make a move and paddle past after taking a rest and proceeded down to Younghusband where we met our land crew,

After we passed the Younghusband boat ramp there was a big change in the scenery


We had the wind drop, and the decided lack of any sign of cliffs – we were in the lowlands and the river was now up to 200-300m wide in places.

lowlands approaching Noa No

We planned to meet our land crew at Noa No Landing, about 6km before we arrived in Mannum.  We saw a few river markers and all we could see was nothing but the river stretched out in front of us – it just seemed to go on forever.

We were very grateful that there was no wind – as there were no cliffs to break it up and it could have been a very bad day if it was windy!  We could see something in the distance, and sure enough, it was Noa No – the distance was deceptive – we kept paddling and paddling and it never seemed to get any closer!

After a short break, we were back underway down to Mannum, where we expected a lot of boat traffic, but again, only a couple of boats to contend with.


We spotted the 154 Marker – it is a significant one for us – it signifies we have now paddled 500km on our way from the Border to the Beach.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of both the Mannum ferry’s running, which is the only place on the Murray where there are a pair of Ferry’s in operation.  I missed the photo because as we were about 200m out both Ferry’s were stopped, 1 on each side of the river, so we dug in and made a run for it, otherwise we would have had to wait for about 5 minutes before crossing.

After a short break we were back and paddled past the Paddle boats tied up at the Jetty.  Right beside the Murray Princess which passed us yesterday and we realize just how big she is!

PS Marion

The Marion is a much smaller boat, but still impressive!

As we left Mannum, we were leaving behind again a westward path and again heading on the run south.   Within 1-2km, there were some low cliffs as we made our way.

It was not too long before we saw the Township of Caloote on a bend.

Approaching Caloote

We too a short break, even though it was only about 4 km to our final destination for the day and weekend.

We finished up at Zadows Landing, about 45km for the day and around 180km for the weekend, with only 140km left until we reach the Beach.

It is both exciting and a little disappointing to realize that we will only paddle for another 4 days to reach our destination.

Day 11

Well, today again was a little late starting and after the 55km from yesterday, we decided early to consider our options at around the 40km mark,

Again, fairly good autumn paddling conditions, mostly light winds in the 10-15km/h mark, with some longer sections into it.

Today, was a day of hopping around 10km between river shack communities – or in a lot of cases River McMansions!

Leaving Kroehnes Landing

It was rather nice when we left to get underway, and after yesterday, Brad said I was setting a cracking pace – and he was working hard to keep with me! So yes, I did back it off just a bit and we were treated to some great sights along the way.

The first leg down to Walker Flat consisted of a mostly wider river, then narrowed as it turned


The cliffs were noticeably lower than yesterday, and as the sun started to hit them, we were greeted with some great views with the contrast of the river gums on the other bank.

We had a good hour or more of almost still water before the wind started coming up a bit.

Approaching Walker Flat

Another cliff indicated a change of direction, a narrowing of the river, and increase in the wind and the inevitable boat traffic!  This was an interesting bit of water, as we were paddling along into the wind near the cliffs, and there was a bit of other boat traffic being very generous with their wake (not) and of course – not just the wash, but the rebound off the cliffs.

Walker Flats

The end of the cliffline the boat traffic picked up yet again as we approached Walker Flats, where we stopped for a few minutes to stretch the legs.

After getting underway again and crossing the ferry the boat traffic eased up somewhat – most of the other traffic tends to stick to the side of the ferry where the boat ramps are.

We had a decent run for the next section and the river widened out once again.Wide open river

The river at this section was well over 200m wide, possibly even wider.

We were sort of in the zone, a very light headwind and a very wide section of the river and in the distance at the upcoming bend we saw one of the Majestic River Boats coming our way.

Murray Princess

The Murray Princess was a sight to see, a large paddle boat heading up river.  You coud have almost thought that you slipped into a time-warp!

Murray Princess

The paddle steamers are an interesting River Boat – and surprisingly the wake that they throw out is very small.  However, following the paddle, in a very narrow path that is barely wider than the boat it develops a very large standing wave that is probably up to 2m high.  This series of waves following the Paddle Boat stays there for several hundred metres before they start to dissipate.

Wide River

After the Murray Princess passed and we turned the bend, we were again into another long straight that again was quite wide.

Changeing cliffline

The end of the cliffline with the river widening again and we were almost at our next stop at Caurnamont – another small shack community.

Unbeknownst to us, the Murray Princess had turned around, probably in the very wide section just after we passed her.  We pulled over for a stretch of the legs At Caurnamont and a few minutes later we saw her pass again, this time heading downstream.  I was sort of grateful that it passed by while we were not on the water!

Purnong Ferry

Before we knew it we saw the Purnong Ferry.  Now, this was the closest call yet with boat traffic – and to the boat “legend” well, I have a new name for you – it is wanker!

Actually, I should apologize to him for even contemplating being on his river in the first place!

Here we were paddling along, and a boat went passed us heading downstream, about 40m away. Yeah, the wash was big but OK.  Then the hero, decided that he didn’t want to be in the wash of the other boat and came very close to us – it was probably less than 10 meters away, doing about 40km/h and dropping a wake nearly 1m high!  If it wasn’t for the fact I really needed to brace and ride it out, I would have offered him a 1 fingered Aussie salute!

The only good news was that we were really close in to the willows at this point – and the willows really are a blessing for us when paddling – they totally absorb and break up any wash – so you don’t have any rebound wash like near the cliffs.

After we passed the ferry the traffic almost totally disappeared and we were again paddling into the wind in mostly wider river.

Approaching Bow Hill


The last cliff for the day as the river narrowed directed us around to Bow Hill.

When we got out, we decided that even though we had only done about 35km, we would call it a day.  The next river access was on the other side and our land crew would have about a 40km drive to get to the landing and the next landing on the “correct: side of the river was a further 19km.  Not quite as far as we would have liked but a good day out.


Day 10

After yesterday, we were again blessed with better weather – 10 to 23 degrees and the wind was next to nothing for the first couple of hours, then came up to 10-15km/h  and we only had a few shortish sections where it was a headwind.

We were a little late hitting the water for our first leg today.  The run from Blanchetown down to Swan Reach, a 27km stretch that both Brad any myself know only too well – from the MCC Xmas Race.


The first 5-6km was pretty hectic with boat traffic at just 8am in the morning, we had a day of particularly long straights and the first 5 or 6 was beside the cliffs before it opened up a bit

Opening up

We had the first 16 or 17km that was almost millpond, once we were away from the other boat traffic – it was spectacular

Short break

We had a short break to stretch the legs on a nice sandy beach where there were a few people camped before we continued on our way.


Again this 27km stretch is one where again neither Brad or myself remembered much detail – as when you are paddling a Marathon you tend to not notice the scenery.

I must say, that it was much nicer than I really remember – without the wind that usually came with the Xmas race.

It consisted of fairly longs straights, slight bends and clifflines that went for quite a way and most of the time is fairly wide, with the odd narrower section.

Before we knew it,we had turned the corner

Swan Reach Ferry

and in the distance was the Swan Reach Ferry.

With the Ferry came an increase in boat traffic, but most of it was downstream.  We had a lunch break at the boat ramp, and while we were there about another 5 or 6 boats were launched!

Yes, the next leg was a bit slow – and a lot of boat wash.  It seemed like every bend brought with it another landing, more jetties and even more boats.

Swan Reach

You can’t really see it, but coming towards us in this photo there was at least 10 boats and jetski’s

It was a welcome break at Big Bend boat ramp after dealing with nearly 10km of feeling like we were in a washing machine!

As we left Big Bend, we soon reached the Bend itself, a left hand bend with some of the most impressive cliffs so far


We had a very gentle left hand bend and a cliff that is somewhere around the 30-50m tall mark that gently curved around for nearly 4km, before falling away.  This is the final leg of our trip south where we are going the wrong direction – as this is a North-Easterly leg.

Big Bend

At the end, we took a right hand turn and again had about a 5km leg with the cliffs on the other side.

This time the cliffs were initially in shadow, but as we progressed we saw the light come back onto the cliffs again.

Big Bend

At the end of the cliffline, we again took a short break out of the boats at Greenways Landing. As we were still feeling OK, we decided that with Nildotte only 2.5km, we could go a little further and set out for our final leg for the day.

Approaching Kroehns Lnding

With the cliffs falling away it was only a matter of a km or 2  before we made Kroehns Landing, for a 55km day and now with about 220km left of the journey.

I have to say that as much as I love the scenery between Overland Corner and Waikerie and Lock 2  and Morgan, the 10km leg between Big Bend and Greenways Landing is probably right up there as my favourite part of the river.

Day 9

Well, the season has turned, along with our bend in the River last week.

We arrived at Morgan nice and early, and it was about 12deg with a light to moderate wind from the South – a bit ominous as that is the direction we are now pretty much heading!

Morgan Ferry

We passed the Morgan Ferry just before 8am. and started making our way into about a 15km/h wind.

I didn’t take a lot of photos for the next 10-15km, but this was a remarkable bit of river for a brand new reason – Houseboats galore parked up for the first 6-7km – must have been well over 100 of them.  The River Shack – I don’t think that there is enough room on the eastern side to fit another shack with river frontage!

We found the wind took it’s toll and kept us at a pretty steady pace – while working pretty hard to make some progress.

Cliffs and wind

We did have the odd bend with the cliffs and this was about where the River Shacks started to make way for the typical lowlands – but if you look carefully, on the bend, yes, a shack!

Distant Cliffs

We started seeing some cliffs that were not directly on one bank of the river, but if you look at a map in these parts, there are quite a few lagoons that are not visible when paddling, but over the river bank and between the cliffline.

It wasn’t too long before we experienced a bit of other boat traffic – but being the Easter Weekend – it was always going to be there!


Just past Murbko, we had a small reprieve out of the wind, but up ahead, a cliff signifying a bend in the river – and of course more wind!

The river varied quite a bit, with some narrow sections as we came around bends to much wider sections as well.


296 – was not the first marker we saw today, but they were few and far between – of course, I was on the lookout for 300, but alas didn’t spot it.  This was both a good and bad marker to see – it meant we had only done a bit over 20km so far and at least another 20km for the day!

Sinclair Landing

At the 30km mark we were looking for somewhere to stretch the legs for a few minutes and I had a call on the radio literally a minute later from the land crew telling us where they were.  This little spot – Sinclair Landing was a most welcome couple of minutes standing up and getting the blood flowing again.

Roonka Cliffs

After we left the landing, we both commented that the wind seemed to have dropped a bit and was under 15km/h – very pleasant, but another cliffline, and other bend, and yes, more wind in our face!


As we progressed down the river our land crew was able to access the cliffs – and this photo puts the size of the cliffs into perspective – see that “little person” standing on the clifftop – yes, somewhere between 40 and 50M high as we passed the 280 Marker.

The boat traffic was increasing as we approached Blanchetown – a few close calls, but we (well I) made it and kept mostly dry!

Blanchetown Bridge

With the Blanchetown bridge in sight, and the Lock only another 1km downstream, we just had to get past the boat traffic – lots of ski and wakeboarders and jet-ski’s to contend with.

lock 1

Under the bridge as we approached our last River Lock – Lock 1.  Today, we dropped 2.4m and the Lock Master asked us about our journey for his log and informed us that we only had 274km to go to reach the mouth.

Exit Lock 1

The as the Lock opened scene today revealed the Town of Blanchetown and a river-front house.

By this time, we again did a review of the river access and we knew that the next 27km doesn’t offer very much – as it is a section we have both paddled several times – this is where the Marathon Canoe Club Christmas Race used to be run.

We made an executive decision, and after 6hours of paddling into the wind, mostly in the 15-20km/h (more in gusts) speed range we decided to call it a day with a bit over 47km for the day.


Special Edition

I found a small amount of time to pull out a bit of video from Day 8.

I wanted to share a small snippet of what we see as we come around a bend in the river, not really knowing exactly what we will see, then watching it unfold over a few minutes as we paddle past and on down the river.

If you look carefully, you might notice that the 2nd photo from my day 8 blog post features the same cliffs.

Take a moment to experience the river how we do.