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Chowilla NP

Posted on 2 Feb 2009 | 0 comments

This weekend we decided to drive up to the east of South Australia, near Renmark. Chowilla NP is a beautiful area with the Murray river and lots and lots of side creeks. Renmark has the nearest Callipo (ice creams) supply and both the borders with Victoria and with New South Wales are in the NP.

We took the kayaks and the mountain bikes. There aren’t any hills in the area, but we felt we needed to spend at least some time on the bike as we are still training for the Otway Odyssey…

We left on Saturday morning at the crack of dawn – 10AM 😉 This is all due to the fact we need to clean the house for the open homes we are having at the moment ;-(

We stopped at a few places on the way: Blanchetown with Lock 1 and Truro where we had a picnic by the river, next to the Murray River Queen. This is supposed to be a major tourist attraction, but we both failed to see the attraction of the ugly boat.

some wine tasting on the way up

some wine tasting on the way up

beautiful trees

beautiful trees

lake

lake created by Lock 1

not many trees here

not many trees here

driving up to Chowilla NP

driving up to Chowilla NP

Campsite 22 was near the spot where we wanted to launch the kayaks so this was going to be ‘home’ for the weekend. It was an amazing spot (huge!) by the river, with awesome river red gums and our own resident monitor lizard. Shame no camp fires are allowed at this time of year as it had a fire ring too.

unloading the kayaks

unloading the kayaks

our camp site right by the river

our camp site right by the river

goanna up the tree in our camp site

goanna up the tree in our camp site

Around 5pm we finally had the kayaks in the water which was probably a good thing as it had been 44 degrees all day and it certainly wasn’t getting any cooler. There was a nice (hot) breeze sometimes which felt good.

Our plan was to do the suggested day loop via Slaney Creek to the Murray River, aorund the back of the Isle of Man and back via Pipeclay Creek. Slaney creek was upstream all the way and it took us a while to get to the weir just before the Murray. It was an amazing paddle, so beautiful and with so much wildlife to see! We saw 100’s of kangaroos and wallabies (lots of very big reds too!), a monitor lizard, 4 emu’s and heaps and heaps of birds.

a little break on our paddle

finally on the water at 5pm

wildlife next to the river

wildlife next to the river

some emus

some emus

and of course the kangaroos

and of course the kangaroos

Jon on his ski

Jon on his ski

many obstacles in the river

many obstacles in the river

it is an extremely hot weekend

it is an extremely hot weekend

so beautiful

so beautiful

there is even some moving water

there is even some moving water

Jude on her ski

Jude on her ski

stopping to do a little portage

stopping to do a little portage

around this weir

around this weir

re-launching

re-launching

Jude on the wider Murray River

Jude on the wider Murray River

a swim to cool off

a swim to cool off

we had the place all to our selves

we had the place all to our selves

Then it all went a bit pear-shaped – as it does occasionally. The back of the Isle of Man was completely overgrown with reeds and there was no way we could get through there… We spend an hour or so trying to work out if we were definitely in the right spot (yes) and then decided to paddle back the way we came as it was rapidly getting dark now. This meant our 13km paddle turned into a 23km paddle as we had come up the long way 😉 We got to the weir just before dark and then paddled carefully back to our campsite. The limbo tree was the only real obstacle and we managed to find our way past it using the side channel (after Jude got stuck first). We spend half an hour or so just floating and enjoying the stars. There were no mozzies (heaven!!) and it was a gorgeous balmy night!!

sun is setting

sun is setting

trying to find a way back to our campsite

trying to find a way back to our campsite

Jon going to higher ground to try to find the way through as there should be one according to the map...

Jon going to higher ground to try to find the way through as there should be one according to the map…

beautiful sun set

beautiful sun set

a little frog hops on board

a little frog hops on board

paddling back in the dark

paddling back in the dark

Jon watching the stars

Jon watching the stars

At 11pm we had a shower (Lara has a shower!) and a very late quick dinner. More star gazing with port as it was just too nice to go to bed yet.

The next morning we went for a ride in SA and NSW around lake Littra. It’s a good thing we carried the gps as the tracks went absolutely everywhere! Again we saw heaps of wildlife: heaps of birds and kangaroos and another 5 emu’s.

emus on our mtb ride

emus on our mtb ride

colourful parrot

colourful parrot

ruins on our ride

ruins on our ride

back at our camp site getting ready for our shower

back at our camp site getting ready for our shower

We had to get our fix of Callipo’s and drove into town to get some on our way to our last stop for the weekend: old custom’s house. Jon picked up another cool drink there and we asked for some advice for a small kayak loop. The route he suggested sounded nice, so we floated down another flowing creek, paddled around the back of the Murray and portaged the ski’s back to the Murray. We then floated in the water for a while until we paddled back across the VIC and SA border and past Border Cliffs, back to the old custom’s house.

we go for another paddle

we go for another paddle

Jude in the faster moving water

Jude in the faster moving water

Jon going for a swim

Jon going for a swim

Jude going for a swim too to cool off

Jude going for a swim too to cool off

border between South Australia and Victoria

border between South Australia and Victoria

nice!

nice!

the Border cliffs

the Border cliffs

finishing back at old custom's house

finishing back at old custom’s house

We would have loved to come up here more often, it is such a beautiful area. Especially for kayaking and I am sure you can do some lovely rides and walks there too!

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