Corowa – Yarrawonga
Corowa – Yarrawonga (29-31 March 2002, 73 km)
Friday 29 March 2002
This trip was conducted over the Easter weekend in 2002. At the end of March there is still a high demand for water for irrigation and the releases from the Hume Reservoir were only just beginning to be reduced from the peak releases. As a result the water level in the river was high and there were very few sandy beaches along the river. Photos from the trip down to Corowa two years earlier showed that the water level then was about a metre lower. Four of us drove down to Corowa on the Friday morning leaving Canberra at 7:00 am and arriving at Corowa at 1:30 pm after travelling via the quiet country roads through Lockhart and Rand. We packed up the kayaks at Ball ParkCaravan Park next to the John Forde Bridge at Corowa, performed the car shuffle to Lakeside Caravan Park in Mulwala and then launched from Corowa at 3:50 pm. The area upstream from the bridge is a water ski area and the river was somewhat choppy from the wake of the boats. Corowa is at the 2080 km mark and we paddled for about 11 km before finding a campsite across the river from a large group of campers. In the last half hour the wind strengthened to be rather gusty almost forming standing waves as it blew against the current. The wind continued through the night but eased the next morning.
Saturday 30 March 2002
We launched at 9:00 am on Saturday morning and took the short cut on the right a kilometre or so after the 2060 sign. We also passed around SnakeIsland, stopping for morning tea just across the river from the Riverina Hwy. Once back on the main Murray channel there were some water skiers about but they were not much of a problem. About 5 km after Snake Island we took the right hand channel heading towards Shanty homestead and stopped for lunch. The highway again passes close to the river along this channel. Just before the channel rejoins the Murray it passes underneath a low bridge. Care needs to be taken when the water level is high as there is not much clearance for the kayaker to pass underneath. The best spot was along the left bank as there was little current here. Once back on the Murray we had to put up with a constant procession of water skiers until at 4:10 pm we found a campsite on a point on the left bank opposite the 2026 mark. That made a tally of 43 km for the day at a rate of about 8 km/hr. At this campsite CDMA reception was borderline making SMS messaging feasible but voice calls kept dropping out. The late afternoon was pleasant at this site since the water was on three sides and we had good views of the water skiers constantly passing by.
Sunday 31 March 2002
The next morning we started packing at sunrise (7:00 am) and were on the water at 7:50 am in order to beat the water skiers. After about an hour we reached the Ovens River confluence and then passed Thompson Island which had many campers along its banks and followed the northern shore of the lake. At 9:00 am we stopped for breakfast on an island at grid reference 240145. This island had a large clearing in the middle and would make a suitable, peaceful campsite since the speed boats kept to the main channel on the southern side of the lake. At 10:00 am we set off again and soon reached the main body of Lake Mulwala. For the next two hours we paddled through the dead trees taking care to avoid the many stumps that were just below the waterline. At 12:20 pm we arrived at the boat ramp across the road from the Lakeside Caravan Park making a tally of 19 km for the morning.