Wonnangatta: Waterford to Angusvale Day One:

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.

Just cruising.

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.

See Also:





Section 1: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-kingwell-bridge-to-black-snake-creek/

Section 2: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-black-snake-to-hut-creek/

Section 3: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-hut-creek-to-waterford-bridge/






For River Heights: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/canoeing-the-wonnangatta-catching-the-wave/





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5 thoughts on “Wonnangatta: Waterford to Angusvale Day One:”

  1. Love everything you are doing and have done ! My wife and I are 56 and also have a little 17 year old dog called Tank ! ” breed unknown ” we think her mother was a whore ! ?.
    About to purchase canoes and start some alpine river safaris as you have done.
    Wondering what you think of inflatable 2 man canoes x2 for us.
    Will be following your foot steps on the Wonnangatta and Mccalister when we do a couple of small test trips first.
    Cheers Muzza. Email [email protected]
    Thanks again ! You have short cut a lot of trouble for us and many others I suspect.

    1. Thank you very much, James. You will have to wait for rain, and watch the river heights. At the moment only the Latrobe (and the Tyers yesterday) has enough water. Both need substantial clearing. Correction: the Thomson has just enough this morning. I wonder why you want 2 man canoes each? They will be a lot heavier and bulkier to portage, get around corners, etc. Our Pack Anglers are just about perfect in the rigid category. We have a pair of Sevylor svxK1s a tough sit on top inflatable which will carry eg a 60 litre drum. They have been very good. Canoes Plus are good sellers in Melbourne. These days I would find anything other than a pack raft quite heavy in an inflatable. The Fiord Explorer might be a good size. They weigh just over 2 kg, so you can carry them in a pack to a begin point. There are quite a lot of one man rigid polyethylene single person boats which will also carry enough gear for a few days. Do get one which has a large enough hole (below your knees) to safely fall out of though. We have Perception Minnows – which now have many cheaper knock-offs. Have fun, and take care.

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