This is a truly wonderful section of the river. One of Australia’s greatest treasures and one of our last wild rivers! It took us fourteen hours (paddling and portaging) to make it from Meyers Flat (15 minutes below Waterford by canoe – but easier to put in) to the first take-out point at Angusvale. The car/bike shuttle took 50 minutes each way. We began the trip when the Waterford river height was 1.72 metres and finished it at 1.67 so would confidently say it would be fine at 1.65, probably even good at 1.6 with a few portages over pebble races. If you wonder whether you too can do this trip, may I remind you we are both retirees. PS: I know most of this journey was on that part of it called the Mitchell River.
This is our rig. We spent the first night in the camper. I have arranged a simple drop-in frame which carries the motorbike on one side of our 6 x 4 trailer and the two canoes on the other. I will perfect this and do a separate post about it
We begin the journey.
Many beautiful European trees in this first third.
The first two days were all just pebble races or Grade 1+ rapids. Really enjoyable. We never had to get out of the boats.
A heron watches us pass. The birdlife on the river is rich and varied. Unfortunately it is not possible to get very good photographs with a waterproof pocket camera.
Castleburn Creek confluence about half an hour in. It would be easy to put in here. there is also a lovely car camping spot. The dogs enjoy playing in the sand.
Leaving the Castleburn Creek confluence.
A splendid long race.
Lots of fun Grade 1 rapids.
These wood ducks were playing ‘hide the duckling’.
Some willows needed here.
Spot keeps a close check on Della’s progress. Tiny is just’ grocking’!
These relict brachychitons (kurrajongs) are a feature of the river (as are bee-eaters!)
Spot wondering whether Della is going to ever make it down this easy race. Here she comes.
The Dargo River confluence, lunch stop for us on a beautiful beach. The willow haters have been at work here.
Della powers along.
Spot surveys with distaste the kilometres of dead willows and wonders, ‘Why?’
We usually approached complex rapids (eg this one with its many rocks) carefully, even getting out to check whether it was safe if necessary. This one is fine.
A pair of blue cranes sombrely watch us pass.
A dead tree kangaroo. Possibly a victim of the willow spray!
Just so many beautiful, easy sections of river. You could go to sleep. But don’t!
This old-timer had a delightful garden. A good crop of prickly pears there. For the first 5-6 hours there are occasional patches of private land interspersed with bush on either side of the river.
Lichen has taken a lot of trouble to paint these cliffs. The deer are keeping the grass well mown.
I had stopped to look at something when Tiny (faintly) saw Della go past. Thinking she had been abandoned our 17 year old heroine Jack Russell (centre) swam clear across this mighty river to ‘save’ Della. Six hours in. Time to make camp, perhaps.
And what a delightful river bank camp it is. This is my ‘Honey I Shrank’ tent (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/honey-i-shrank-the-tent/). Della enjoys a well-deserved cuppa. Spot keeps her company. Tiny hits her bed. I quite agree with Ratty, ‘There is simply nothing quite like messing about in boats’!
Right behind our camp (<20 yards away) there was this monstrous wallow, so you can be sure we were serenaded by sambar by moonlight! No cast antlers found unfortunately!
First Published 27 Jan 2017.