Yarrawonga to Barmah

Yarrawonga to Barmah, 220 km, 6 days

Sunday 15 Oct 2023, 47 km

Camp overnight at Yarrawonga Holiday Park close to the boat ramp. Concrete ramp has been scoured out by the recent floods so it's either the ramp or stony sides for launching. Leave two cars in the storage area at $20 per car per week. Launch at 8:40 am on a flow of 16000 Ml/day, 2.8 m. Clear skies become cloudy and cool, 19 C max. The river has dropped 2.5 m in the past week after the rains before that. Roy rescues a cockatoo from the water and deposits it on the nearby bank. Presumably a fledgling that flew into the water. It looked to be very weak and probably would not last long. Paddle at 8 km/h, have a break every 90 min. Have done 24 km by midday and 36 km by 2:15 pm. Since strong winds are forecast for tomorrow we go a bit further and at 4 pm at 47 km (GPS measured) find a good beach with lots of open area. Some beaches are sandy but often there is a thin layer of mud on the recently inundated areas. Need only to paddle 25 km tomorrow to remain on schedule of 36 km/day to arrive at Barmah on Friday. Weak phone reception.

Mon 16 Oct 2023, 24 km

Windy with some light showers during the night and pack up time. Launch at 8:35 am with quite a strong SW breeze but make good progress as we are generally heading NW. Cold at morning tea time but at least it is becoming sunny. We continue to the 71 km mark (Big Tom's Beach) a few km beyond Cobram and make camp at midday. Nice afternoon for drying things and warming up. Koala near camp in the afternoon and grunting during the night.

Tues 17 Oct 2023, 37 km

Cold night of about 3 deg but beautiful morning with light winds. Launch at 8:35 am, have one break and reach Tocumwal just before midday. June, John and Raylee leave us here and Craig joins us. Do some shopping and buy lunch and coffee. Launch at 1:40 pm. Paddle for 13 km and camp on a beach on the NSW side. Good phone reception.

Wed 18 Oct 2023, 36 km

Lots of koala grunting during the night. Beautiful morning. Two members of the party decide to pull out and return to Tocumwal as a medical precaution. It's a sensible decision as the next two days will be through a remote section of the river with vehicle tracks closed due to the recent rain and high water. We all decide to paddle 500 m upstream to where there are campers who agree to drive them to Tocumwal. We help get their kayaks to solid ground and the remaining three of us depart at 9:45 am. We have two breaks, and at morning tea at Paddy Henessy Cutting we see two koalas. We make camp at Boss Beach (48 km from Toc) where there is mud over the beach. There is reasonable camping but it has a swampy feel due to recent inundation. No phone reception at our campsite and mozzies come out at dusk.

Thu 19 Oct 2023, 42 km

Launch at 7:45 am, drifting with current at 3 kph. After paddling 27 km and a break for morning tea, have lunch at Sapling Landing Camping Area at midday, nice little harbour for easy landing and plenty of dry ground for camping. Warm day with no wind. At 2 pm, make camp at Thistle Bend (NSW side) a few kilometres upstream of Picnic Pt. A small muddy beach for our kayaks but plenty of dry land to camp on although shade is a bit sparse on a warm afternoon. Weak phone reception.

Fri 20 Oct 2023, 32 km

Launch at 7:30 am, paddle to Kings Log Landing for a break. Current diminishes. Barmah Lake campground is under water but it is probably 50 cm lower than Sep last year. Find some grass to have a lunch break. Downstream of the lake the current is zero as the floodwaters are backed up by Barmah Choke and the water is amongst the trees on the floodplain. Current picks up just before reaching Barmah at which we arrive at 1:15 pm. Rosemary takes Craig to his car in Tocumwal while I look after the gear. Craig returns and takes me and our gear back to Yarrawonga Holiday Park where my car is in storage.