Wagga-Narrandera (20 March 1995, 4 November 2001, 19-21 March 2005, 18-19 March 2006, 204 km)
Monday 20 March 1995
It is about 38 km from Wagga Beach to Kohlhagens Beach and involves at least 4 hours of paddling time. Again the current is slower than the river above Wagga. A nice camping area is available at Kohlhagens but may be used by young locals for drinking parties at night. Kohlhagens is accessible from the Sturt Hwy about 18 km west of Wagga or 7 km east of Collingullie.
Sunday 4 November 2001
Kohlhagens Beach to Currawarna is a lovely section of the river which seems to become a bit narrower closer to Currawarna. The flow was good for the 30 km paddle - probably 3-4 km/hr. The car shuffle takes about 1 ¼ hr. The access from the little village of Currawarna to the river via Reserve Rd is over a dirt track that is more suited to 4WD vehicles especially after rain. There is better access, although it could be a muddy launch at low water levels, to the river via Bidgee Rd (go to the end and drive along the bank downstream for a short distance through a gate). We launched at about 9:40am from Kohlhagens and paddled at a very leisurely pace stopping at about the 10 and 20 km marks for morning tea and lunch respectively. The flies were a nuisance, perhaps earlier than usual due to a dry spring. Along the way we saw a number of Rufous (Nankeen) Night Herons, which are supposedly nocturnal, and Sacred Kingfishers. Each section taking about 1 ¼ hours. We arrived at Currawarna at about 3:20pm. I paddled this section again in November 2004 with a strong SW wind. In the exposed sections of the river the wind cancelled the assistance of the current (about 5000 Ml/day). The paddling time was 4 hours plus 1 ½ hours for breaks.
Saturday 19 March 2005
Rod and I paddled the 81 km Currawarna to Berembed Weir section over the Canberra Day long weekend in March 2005. It involved a longish car shuffle to Berembed Weir where access to the river is only possible on the south side because the picnic area on the north bank is cut off from the river by a 2 metre high barbed wire fence. Access to the weir is via Weir Rd at Galore on the Sturt Hwy. We launched at the reserve at the end of Bidgee St in Currawarna. The water level was high at 8000 Ml/day at Wagga giving us a flow rate of between 3-4km/hr as measured by GPS. This water level was as high as it had been for some time so there were no muddy banks to negotiate. Throughout the weekend the weather was perfect with maximums in the mid 20s, minimums 11-14 degrees and a light easterly breeze as a tailwind. Although there were a few flies and mosquitoes, they were not a major problem.
We launched from Currawarna at 12:10 pm after driving from Canberra and doing the car shuffle. Aided by the good current we paddled 6.5 km and stopped for lunch at 1 pm paddling at a very leisurely 7.2 km/hr. There were not many sandy beaches but the banks were not too steep so we were able to find plenty of places to stop for a break. We paddled onto 17 km for another break and then at 4:30 pm we found a campsite amongst the trees on the southern bank at 25 km. Dinner was spaghetti and peas cooked on the campfire followed by bed at 9:30 pm.
Sunday 20 March 2005
We got up at 7 am and had breakfast by the campfire, packed and launched at 8:50 am. We had breaks at 31 km, 40 km (sandy beach), 49 km (lunch), 59 km and then at 3:50 pm we found a small sandy beach with a nice grassy campsite amongst the trees at 64 km across from a small reserve. We saw quite a few fishermen on the river in dinghies that afternoon and also some shacks along the river. It was good weather and would have been a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. There was a dead cow and sheep near our tents but fortunately they were dried out and did not stink. Dinner was again spaghetti and peas cooked on the campfire. My paddling shirt was at the end of its useful life so I cremated it on the fire. Fortunately I tore it into pieces first and put one piece on at a time. It did not realize that cotton was so flammable. We were in bed by at 9:20 pm. We did not sleep well that night because the possums were very active.
Monday 21 March 2005
We launched at 8:45 am. Shortly afterwards I spotted a platypus in the water. We had a break a kilometre or so before Pipers Reserve. Pipers Reserve had a dirt boat ramp and picnic tables. From this point the current diminished due to the influence of the weir and there were many willows lining the river bank. We arrived at Berembed Weir at 11:30 am. By midday we were all packed up and we left to retrieve Rod’s car from Currawarna.
Sunday 19 March 2006
Five of us paddled the 55 km section from Berembed Weir to Narrandera over the Canberra Day long weekend in March 2006. We based ourselves at the Lake Talbot Caravan Park in Narrandera. We drove from Canberra to Narrandera on the Saturday morning (4 1/2 hrs), paddled 15 km on the Murrumbidgee in the afternoon. On the Sunday we paddled 40 km from Berembed Weir and then on the Monday morning we paddled for a couple of hours on Lake Talbot before returning home. The weather was fine in the high twenties and the flow rate was about 5000 Ml/day with a current of about 3 km/h allowing us to progress at a leisurely 8 km/h.
On the Sunday morning we left the caravan park at 8:00 am. We launched from Berembed Weir (south bank) at 9:20 am. We had morning tea at 10:30 am and then we paddled till 12:20 pm where we stopped for lunch after about 21 km. For most of the way there were dry paddocks on at least one side of the river but occasionally we had forest on both sides and this looked much more attractive. After lunch we paddled for another hour or so and had an afternoon tea break at about 2:30 pm. Unfortunately there were not many sandy beaches to be found on this weekend so we had afternoon tea on a steep bank. We passed Massacre Island via the right hand channel which was a bit snaggy. The left channel probably would have been easier to navigate. We arrived at Buckingbong Reserve at 3:50 pm.
Saturday 18 March 2006
On the Saturday afternoon we launched from Buckingbong Reserve 15 km upstream from Narrandera and on the south side of the river. This reserve has picnic facilities and a new boat ramp. We paddled for about an hour and then had a break along some red cliffs. We paddled for another hour and arrived at the Brewery boat ramp at 4:30 pm and then needed to do a car shuffle to retrieve the cars.