Wentworth to Renmark
Murray River, Wentworth to Renmark, 268 km, 2-8 March 2021
Tues 2 March 2021, 41 km
Stay overnight in a cabin at Willow Bend CP in Wentworth after having driven my car to Goolwa then bus to Adelaide and fly with Rex Airlines to Mildura. Launch at 9 am and by 9:30 am I have passed thru Lock 10. The weather is perfect with a light tailwind most of the day and a max temp of 25 degrees. I continue to about the 792 km mark and at 3:30 pm find a camp on the Vic side. Weak phone reception but I can make a call.
Wed 3 March 2021, 34 km
Nice sunrise. Warm night with some cloud. Launch at 8:30 hoping to get to Lock 9 before lunch but headwinds slow my progress. Pass the wreck of Emerald Barge at 787 km. I reach the Lock (770 km) at 11:50 am but lunch for the lockmaster is 11:30 - 1pm. Paddle back upstream for 5 minutes to a boat ramp on the Vic side and have lunch. Weak phone reception. Pass thru Lock. Apparently they only have about one passage per week and it has been quiet since Covid. About 3500 Ml/day passing over the weir. Continue to 758 km and at 3:15 pm find a camp on the Vic side. This is about 1 km downstream of where I camped in 2006. Plenty of easy landing places along here. Set up my tent in the shade of a large gum tree and it is a pleasant afternoon in the shade with a nice southerly breeze. A few flies keep me company.
Thu 4 March 2021, 41 km
Good sleep. Not too cold. Apparently 11 deg in Mildura. Launch at 8:15 am. Light tailwind. See a couple flocks of ducks. There haven't been many birds on this trip unlike the Darling where there were lots. Paddle to Big Rigamy Ck at 737 km and have a break for about an hour so that I can reach the Lock 8 at 1 pm. I have covered 19 km in 3 hours. Some nice sandy beaches downstream of the Lock but some of the ones on the NSW side have Private Property signs on them. At about the 717 km mark at 3:30 I find a sandy beach facing NE that gives me afternoon shade. Weak phone reception.
Fri 5 March 2021, 36 km
Start paddling at 8:10 am and arrive at Lock 7 at 10:30. There is a bit of phone reception so I call the lockmaster. Quite a bit of extra flow coming from Lake Victoria via the Rufus River just downstream of the Lock. Quite a few sandy beaches and people camped for the coming long weekend. Several campers on the NSW side just below the Lock. At about 692 I have a lunch break (25 km in 4 hrs) and continue to Devils Elbow at 681 km arriving at 2 pm. No one else is there. I camped in the shade of some trees that are scattered on the sandy beach. Refreshing swim. No phone reception at the campsite. Nice views of cliffs at sunset.
Sat 6 March 2021, 42 km
Nice sunrise views of cliffs. Launch at 8:15 am. Some nice sandy beaches at first but these disappear before the SA border. Light winds today and I make good progress arriving at Customs House at 1:30 pm SA time. That's 45 km going by river distance signs but since there were two cuttings that cut off bends the actual distance is more like 39 km. I stop and buy some water and an ice-cream. Lots of boat trailers in the carpark. I continue for a few km to 633 km where there is a bit of a landing and clear area with shade and decide to make camp at 3 pm. Nearby is a shelter that says Nelwood Gun Club but there are no private property signs so I decide to camp here. Good phone reception. I phone Renmark Riverbend CP and book a cabin for two nights for Mon and Tues nights.
Sun 7 March 2021, 37 km
Noisy night with kangaroos, emu and something unidentified making noise around the tent (later I think it's an echidna). Beautiful sunrise. Launch at 7:55 am. Overcast calm morning but the sun peaks thru at the right time to light up the cliffs. Reach Lock 6 (620 km mark) at 10 am but have to wait for two houseboats going upstream. Pass thru at 10:20 am. Detour into a backwater at about 603 km mark to go to Woolshed Brewery but it is very busy, being 1pm on a Sunday of a long weekend, so I don't stop. The nice beach at 599 km at I camped on in 2006 is occupied so I continue to just short of 596 km across from Headings Cliffs and make camp at about 2 pm. I get the tent up as a few spots of rain start and continue for some time.
Mon 8 March 2021, 32 km
Warm night and a few drops of rain just before packing up the tent. Launch at 8am just as the sun shines on the opposite cliffs. Day becomes mainly sunny. Quite a few water skiers and tinnies with campers with swags as expected for a public holiday. See a ring tree with a large canoe scar. Arrive at Renmark Riverbend CP at 1:30 pm at 564 km mark just before the road bridge. I have a cabin booked for two nights.