Deniliquin to Moulamein
Deniliquin to Stevens Weir (30 km)
Wednesday 14th November 2018
We stayed at McLean Beach Caravan Park at Deniliquin and at reception I saw that they sold Edward River Charts book for $5. It covers the Edwards River from about the Lawsons Syphon area upstream of Deniliquin down to Stevens Weir. At the Deniliquin Visitors Information Centre I purchased the Deniliquin 1:250000 map. It covers the Edward River from Deniliquin to Moulemein.
I launched from McLean Beach at about 7:40 a.m. The current was slow but there was little wind. The river is easy to paddle as there are not too many snags and the river is wide. I had two stops along the way to Greg Graham Reserve which is about 4 km upstream of Stevens Weir. The 22 km from McLeans Beach to Greg Graham Reserve took about 4 hours with two short breaks along the way. There is Telstra phone reception at both Greg Graham Reserve and Steven's Weir.
According to the Edward River Canoe Guide there is no access from the river at Stevens Weir however we drove to Stevens Weir and found that it would be possible to disembark from a canoe in Collagen Ck on the left-hand side of the river about 400 m upstream of the weir. The portage around the weir would be relatively easy with a trolley and it seems that it would be possible to launch 100 m downstream of the weir. Whilst camping would not be possible at the weir itself it seems like it would be possible to camp downstream of the weir or at the upstream disembarkation point.
Stevens Weir to Moulamein (182 km)
River conditions d/s Stevens Weir: 2800 Ml/day, ht 2.31, 82.09 m AHD
Friday 30 November 2018
Joe from Moulamein Lakeside Caravan Park had kindly agreed to come with me to Stevens weir where I was going to launch and he would drive my car back to the Moulamein. Sandy and Joe seemed very interested when I told them about our book "Murray-Darling Journeys" so I gave them a copy in addition to a financial consideration for his time in driving with me to the weir and back. Joe mentioned that there were a couple of blokes who paddled down the Edward river sometime this year but he is not aware of their account being published. Joe later confirms that it is my Queensland correspondent Bill M and his mate Derek. They have paddled the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Darling rivers and were looking at doing the Goulburn and Edward River in about May this year. We left Moulamein at 7:30 a.m. and I launched at Stevens weir at 9:30 a.m. There was a convenient launching spot about 200 metres downstream of the weir.
It was a beautiful sunny day weather forecast of 31 degrees and the winds were relatively light. the water in the river was quite high so there wasn't much smarter between the water and drier ground however there weren't any sandy beaches with the best spots to come ashore being where creeks enter the river. The river is not very snaggy and is flowing at 1 to 2 kilometres per hour.
I had a break every 8 km and found a campsite at at 3 pm at 32.95 kilometres from the weir. My moving average for the day is 7 kilometres per hour. My measurements of the distance is on the map match very well with the GPS readings. During the day I saw about 7 or 8 different groups of campers. I found a campsite facing east so that as I sit here and look at the river the sun is at my back filtering through the trees. There is weak Telstra phone reception here
Saturday 1 December 2018
It takes me 90 minutes to have breakfast, filter water and pack up everything and launch. I paddle 41.5 kilometres between 7 am and 2 pm and find a nice shady campsite 74.5 km from weir. My campsite is opposite a shortcut of a sharp bend. My map and GPS distances still correspond closely although for part of the day it was about two kilometres out. The temperature is forecast be 35 degrees so I am spending the afternoon relaxing in a shady spot. It is a good spot but it has very weak phone reception and the occasional whiff of a dead animal. A cool change is forecast to come thru during the night with strong south-westerly winds tomorrow. During the day, as with yesterday, I see several Aboriginal scar trees and a ring tree.
Sunday 2 December 2018
The change came through strongly doing the night and persisted all day with 40 kilometre an hour winds from the south west. Due to the windy nature of the river the winds were only a problem for some of the time but at times I struggled to maintain the line I wanted to paddle. The river was snaggier today than the first to days and there were fewer campers on the banks. Six hours after launching I found a campsite just after Balpool Rd bridge in a clump of small trees at 108.2 km from the weir (GPS measurement - my map measurement is 6 km more). This makes for 33.7 km paddled for the day. There is very poor Telstra phone reception here. Whilst it is much cooler today the winds have brought with them many small pesky flies.
Monday 3 December 2018
Another 6 hours of paddling today. The first few hours were cloudy but then it cleared to a sunny day but the winds were quite strong again from the southwest. I find a south facing campsite at McKenzie Reserve near a massive stump that is over 2 metres in diameter. There is very good Telstra phone reception here. According to my GPS I have paddled 142.7 km since leaving the weir and 34.5 km today. The canoe trail guide estimated 46 km between Balpool Rd and Mckenzie Reserve which is a significant discrepancy to what I have measured. The canoe trail guide says it's another 30 km to Moulamein but my measurement on the map indicates that it might be 42 km but in reality I estimate it to be 37 km (The GPS distance is 39 km - again a significant discrepancy) because my map measurements could be 5 km too high for each day of paddling. In any case I plan to get to Moulamein tomorrow.
Tuesday 4 December 2018
The wind died during the night and it was a beautiful, calm sunny morning. Paddling seemed to be easy without the headwinds and muscles that are getting used to the routine of paddling for 6 hours a day. In several places there are fallen trees that almost go right across the river. I wonder if these are a problem at lower water levels. I pass a number of fishermen who aren't having much luck. Homesteads become more frequent. The only willows I see on the whole trip are near homesteads. The willows seem to be the favoured haunt for the rufous night herons who scatter as I paddle by. Occasionally I also see an azure kingfisher and I have also seen wedgetail eagles and a sea eagle. After 7 hours, 39.4 km for the day and 182.1 km from the weir in 5 days I arrive at Moulamein at 2:30 pm. I collect my valuables in my backpack, lock the kayak to a tree and walk to the caravan park to get my car and return for the kayak. After settling in to the caravan park and a wash I go to the Tattersall Hotel for dinner. I decide that I will not continue paddling down the river tomorrow as originally planned because the weather forecast for the next four days is for low 40s. These are temperatures that I know will drain me and make the journey unpleasant. I remind myself that I do this for enjoyment so I plan to return at a cooler time of year.