Wagga to Narrandera, 210 km, 5 days
Tues 2 Nov 2021, 40 km
Leave home at 8 am, arrive at Wagga Big 4 Holiday Park at 11:05 am. Take 1:15 hrs to load up kayak. Good spot to start the trip. The Park has water frontage and I can drive to the waters edge. Good spot to stay also if passing thru because it is next to an Apco service station that has a large supermarket attached. Launch at 12:25 pm with 19 days food, enough to get to Hay easily. Warm sunny day. Find that the kayak is a bit tipsy due to the 10 litre water cask on my rear hatch. Stop just past Wilks Reserve to put it under my legs in the cockpit. Much better. Flow of about 2-3 km/h. Boat ramp at North end of Wilks Reserve looks good for bush camping. Continue at about 8-9 km/h and stop on a sandy beach on a sharp Bend after about 20 km from the launch or at about the 18 km mark on my map at 2:40 pm. Launch at 3:05 pm. Feeling a bit hot. Temps in the high 20s. Usually I would have made camp by now but want to get to Kohlhagens this afternoon. Rain forecast from tomorrow night so want to find a good camp and be set early tomorrow afternoon. See a couple kingfishers flying to a bees nest. I get a few photos. Reach Kohlhagens Reserve at 5:15 pm making it 40 km for the day. One other couple at the Reserve. I thought there might be more people. Nice evening light. A few flies and no mozzies until sunset. Reasonable Telstra phone reception.
Wed 3 Nov 2021, 46 km
Nice sunrise with orange sky. Launch 7 am. Moderate NE breeze which usually is a tailwind. Still good flow of about 15000 Ml/day. Sandy beaches disappear after Beavers Ck (an anabranch) leaves the Murrumbidgee a few km north of Collingullie. River also seems a bit narrower. Have a 50 min break after 20 km from about 9:40 am. Can charge my phone 25% under a weak sun with the new solar charger. Want to find a good campsite after 40 km but need to go to 46 km (1:10 pm) for the day to find a small sandy beach on a south facing bend. There is good grassy areas that are not under trees. It should be a good spot for the 20-35 mm rain forecast. Weak phone reception. Rain starts at 4:15 pm.
Thu 4 Nov 2021, 46 km
Rain thru the night but only drizzle by 7 am. Launch at 8:20 am. Cloudy, warm with a good current. Perfect conditions for paddling. I seem to be paddling at about 10 km/h. I start to see ring trees, possibly two natural grafts first then some modified grafts. The clouds start to clear but those remaining look dark so the possibility of rain remains. Some small sandy beaches start to appear, no doubt much larger at normal water levels. A sea eagle snatches a duck but drops it. Small kingfishers are common. At 1:30 pm I find a campsite with a sandy beach on an east facing bend at 62 km d/s of Currawarna (46 km for the day). The clouds clear some more and it is a pleasant afternoon for drying my tent. Weak phone reception.
Fri 5 Nov 2021, 39 km
A bit of rain overnight. Launch at 7:25 am. Cows visit. Water rose 15 cm overnight. River becomes narrow as I approach Berembed Weir. Current is still good and swirls on the bends. Reach Berembed at 9:40 am. Disembark on the left bank about 20 m before the boom across the river. Easy portage to large sandy beach just below the weir but nevertheless takes an hour. Good phone reception. Relaunch at 10:55 am into the turbulent waters being released from the weir at 13000 Ml/day. People camping just downstream on right bank, first campers I've seen since starting in Wagga. Make camp at about 17 km from the weir where there's a small sandy beach and open space with long grass just behind the first line of trees. Thunderstorms are forecast again. Flies are a nuisance. No rain and pleasant in the late afternoon when the flies are less active. Hear grunting at night which I think is a koala.
Sat 6 Nov 2021, 41 km
Water rose 10 cm overnight. Launch at 7:55 am. Sunny morning with moderate NE breeze. See spoonbill and nankeen night heron. Pass Old Man Ck confluence (an anabranch with Beavers Ck adding 3000 Ml/day) and several sets of red cliffs which clearly show the high water mark. Pass a couple sets of campers and a fisherman in a dinghy but still the river seems very quiet for a Saturday. Every km there is a marker for the distance from Berembed Weir. It measures 53 km at Narrandera compared to my map measured distance of 54.5 km. That's a 3% discrepancy which is good for such a windy river. I arrive at the Narrandera boat ramp just after 12 noon, dispose of rubbish and get some water from the tap at the picnic shelter. Just downstream at the old Brewery building there are lots of broken bottles, glass and ceramic that have been dumped down the bank long ago. I pass the road and old railway bridges and find a camp 4 km downstream of the boat ramp on an easterly facing bend. Soon after setting up the tent there is a brief thunderstorm with heavy rain for a few minutes. Just before the rain I see three superb parrots in the tree near the tent. Cooler after the rain and very few flies. Flow at Narrandera is about 16000 Ml/day. Red rump parrots come to drink.
Gundagai to Wagga 125 km, 4 days
Wagga to Narrandera 210 km, 5 days
Narrandera to Hay 315 km, 9 days (including 1 rest day)
Hay to Maude 107 km, 3 days
Maude to Balranald 180 km, 6 days
Balranald to Murray River 116 km, 5 days