Swan Hill – Tooleybuc

Swan Hill – Tooleybuc (1-2 March 2004, 90 km)

This trip was performed solo. I had RSI from using the computer which meant that my arms got a little bit sore from paddling. I decided to only do this 90 km section as I did not want to risk aggravating my injury and there were several easy pull-out points along the way in case of problems. Canberra to Tooleybuc is 720 km via Balranald and takes 10-11 hours to drive. The river height at Swan Hill was 1.15 m. 

Monday 1 March 2004 

I camped the Sunday night at the Swan Hill Riverside Caravan Park. It was a cold night of 9 degrees and rather breezy. The day was fine with a cool SE breeze. I got up at 7:15 am, packed the kayak and launched at 8:50 am in the Marraboor River just upstream of the 1410 km mark. I paddled at a leisurely pace to the 1402 km mark at 9:50 am where I had a break. There were some nice houses on the river bank and huge flocks of corellas. I paddled on to 1391 km for lunch at 11:30 am. Lunch consisted of two cups of mashed potato, tea and a muesli bar. The flies are now a bit of a problem. I set off again at 12:35 pm and took the short cut to the south of Beveridge Island (which saves about 6 km). This was a nice part of the river. It was relatively narrow. I stopped for a short break at 1377 km and again at 1368 km for a swim.

The river was wider now and there were flocks of spoonbills. I continued on and the river narrowed and had steeper banks in the Vinifera State Forest. At 4:15 pm I found a sandy beach just past 1360 km on the Victorian side which made a good camp site. I had paddled 44 km from Swan Hill (50 km via the map) at an average paddling speed of 8 km/hr. I cooked dinner over a fire and heard on the radio that it is 27 degrees at 7:00 pm with 7 degrees being forecast for tonight. I went to bed at 8:00 pm with mozzies buzzing between the tent and fly. I rang Christine because there is good telephone reception. 

Tuesday 2 March 2004

I woke up at 1:00 am hearing a herd of cattle going past the tent. I was worried that they would trample me but then the noise fades away. I then begin to think that I might have dreamt it. In the morning I do not find any tracks or dung around the campsite. Perhaps the noise was caused by the possums. It was 12 degrees at 6:30 am. I had breakfast and then launched at 8:15 am. There were flocks of tree martins flying low over the water surface and around me as I paddled. I had breaks at 1352 km, 1344 km and had lunch and a swim at 1338 km. Again it was a nice stretch of river along the NyahState Forest. I continue on and took the main channel around Murphys Island(the short cut looked fine) because I felt strong in my paddling. I had another swim at 1328 km within sight of the Piangil mobile phone tower. The forecast was for 34 degrees today and these swims are welcome relief even though the hottest part of the day is late afternoon. During the afternoon I passed “CampDinkalot” on the riverbank on the NSW side. At 3:30 pm I arrived at Tooleybuc and unload immediately in front of the 1320 km sign. I walked up the bank to the caravan park and find that it is very small with a “no vacancy” sign. Nevertheless I was still able to get a small site near the road for $8.00. At 7:00 pm, after setting up camp and a bite to eat, I caught the bus to Swan Hill to retrieve my car returning at 8:30 pm to Tooleybuc. 

Swanlink Coachlines (03-50329699) runs a service between Swan Hill and Tooleybuc leaving Swan Hill at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm and leaving Tooleybuc at 7:00 am and 7:00 pm.