I have done quite a few trips over the years and paddling this 70km section of the mighty Murray in February 2015 has to be one of my all time favourites. When you combine a family adventure with idyllic beaches, perfect weather and Australia’s longest river you will see why.
We purchased this canoe about 12 years ago with the intention of doing some multi-day canoe trips. It has served us well and been on many rivers around Victoria but this was the first time we took it on an overnight trip.
I am hoping the success of this trip will mean the family will be interested in doing another (longer) stretch of the Murray next summer. Who knows – maybe over many years we could cover the whole length of the river.
The boring stuff
We avoided taking 2 cars by catching a local taxi back upstream. I dropped off the family and all the gear at the start point (Yarrawonga weir) then I drove our car to the end point at Cobram (Thompsons Beach). I had pre-arranged for a taxi to pick me up and take me back to Yarrawonga and it was only $80. So then it didn’t matter what time or day we finished the trip – our car was there waiting for us. Contact Cobram-Barooga Taxis on 03 5871 1111.
Average river current / drift speed 2.5km/h to 3.0km/h. Sprint speed 10.0km/h (over ground)
Day 1 – 15.9km. Moving Average 5.4km/h. Total time 4 hours
Day 2 – 36.1km. Moving Average 6.4km/h. Total time 9 hours
Day 3 – 16.0km. Moving Average 5.8km/h. Total time 4 hours
While paddling on the Murray isn’t very demanding – you need to have some decent skills especially if taking kids with you. The most challenging situations are dealing with wash from ski boats and avoiding trees in the river and submerged logs etc. A current of 2.5km/h doesn’t sound fast but it is very unforgiving if things get out of shape. When I was younger I saw a Canadian canoe hit a tree side on, then capsize upstream and fold in half around a tree with one of the paddlers feet getting caught in the folded boat. He was very lucky not to drown.
We took about 24 litres of drinking water plus 4 litres of frozen/bottled water in the esky. With the warm weather we only had a few litres left over at the end. If we had to spend another night/day on the river we would have had to get some drinking water from one of the riverside campers.
Our canoe is Coleman branded but I am not sure you can get them anymore in Australia. It is actually made by these guys:
One could argue that you don’t need a map if you are just paddling downstream – but we used Spatial Vision’s Murray River Access map and found it pretty handy.