Shepparton - Yambuna Bridge
Shepparton - Yambuna Bridge (120km)
19 November 2017
This trip was timed to coincide with a release of water (I like the official term "pulse") from Goulburn Weir to facilitate fish breeding in the Goulburn River. See here.
I launched just below the rocky weir on the northern outskirts of Shepparton at about 9 am. This is at about the 387 km Mark on the maps in AFN's Goulburn River book. There was quite a bit more water flowing over the weir compared to two years ago. The river height at Shepparton was 3.3 m which was up 80 cm from a few days ago. However the current assistance was only about 1.5 - 2 kph once past the initial fast flow from the weir. It wasn't long before I spotted two dollar birds ( i. e. a dollar bird twice) and numerous kingfishers. I paddled for about 90 minutes and had a break on a rare sandy beach at about 399 km. At about 406 km there is a shortcut but it has a rocky weir that I would have paddled through if there were no snags just downstream in the deepest channel making for a tricky route. I played it safe and paddled the extra couple km around the bend. I had lunch at 410 km and sent a text message to Christine that I would be at the prearranged pickup point (415 km at the end of Dougan Rd) in about an hour. Soon I came across the third TV for the day that had been dumped down the river bank. Peter Phillips commented on the numerous televisions that seem to be dumped into the river around Shepparton, many of which make their way down to Echuca. I pulled out on a steep bank just past a burnt out car which was just above water level and by the time I had pulled the kayak up the back Christine arrived right on time at 1:40 pm after 30.5 km for the day according to my GPS. We then checked out tomorrow's pick up point which took quite some time to find a track that easily lead to the rivers edge. We then returned to our "featherbed" at Tongala Caravan Park about halfway between Shepparton and Echuca.
20 November 2017
The water level have risen perhaps 30 cm since yesterday. I launched at about 8 a.m. Just before launching we were passed by a group of six paddlers from the Adelaide Canoe Club who are on their way on a 6 day journey from Shepparton to Moama. Their trip report is available here. Just before the 420 km mark I was able to take the shortcut without any problems, along the way I saw a fox and a wallaby. Eventually I caught up to the Adelaide paddlers and whilst talking to them a branch fell off a tree behind us and a koala swam ashore. It appeared to be un-injured and climbed a tree. I had a break at 425 km and the Adelaide group passed me. I caught up to them and spoke to Don Mc who knows Ros W and "the flare incident". I paddled to 432 kilometres for another break and send a message to Christine for a 12 noon pickup at our pre-arranged point at the end of Rathbones Road after paddling about 24 km for the day.
21 November 2017
I launched just before 8 a.m. from the ramp at the end of Rathbones Road. On the way to McCoys Bridge I was able to take every shortcut that is shown on the map. This totals about 8 shortcuts. The shortcut just before 465 km involves quite a drop. At first I thought I would line my kayak around the edge but once I was out of the kayak I could see it was a clear run through the middle of the weir so I got back in my kayak and passed through safely. A few minutes later I caught up to the Adelaide paddlers some of who took the long way around the shortcut. It was about another 40 minutes of paddling to my pick up point at McCoys Bridge. Along the way I passed another TV and a dumped car on the riverbank. I arrived at McCoys Bridge at 11:45 after paddling just under 26 km for the day. That means I was able to cut off about 11 km by taking the shortcuts.
22 November 2017
The river level at McCoys Bridge this morning was 3.1 m. this is 1.9 metres higher than a few days ago. It seems that it takes about 5 days for the water from Goulburn Weir to reach McCoys Bridge. I launched at 8 a.m. and paddled the 27 km to Yambuna Bridge (not marked on the AFN maps) by midday and disembarked at the boat ramp just before the bridge. The weather for the past few days has been hot in the low 30s but by paddling in the morning I avoid the heat of the afternoon. There have been very few flies and mosquitoes about. My elbow has been sore so I'm not sure that I will continue paddling tomorrow. I need to make sure my elbow is OK for the Murray Top 150 expedition in a few weeks time.