Location: Gadds Bend on the Vic side of the Murray River reserve near Jingellic NSW
Event Name:Upper Murray Canoeing Weekend #5
Leader Tony Marsh
Start Date: 29/03/2019 16:00
Finish Date:31/03/2019 20:00
Member Participants: 6
Guest Participants: 1
Distance/Time: 36km of canoeing over 2 days
Rating:Other Event Type - This was not a bushwalk - see event report for more info
Points of Interest: Superb canoeing in remote area despite challenging weather - lots of rain and strong winds
Mobile phone reception: Very good at Gadds reserve Walwa and Jingellic - non existent once away from the Murray River road on the second days paddle to Burrowye bend
Event Report: Most people planned to travel up on the Friday and setup a base camp at Gadds Bend reserve. Heavy rain made the drive up the Murray River road on the Vic side from Bethanga slow and dangerous - when we arrived at Gadds we learnt that two of the group had decamped to the Jingellic pub and had booked a room for the night. We decided to go and check it out. Dave and Sarah found they had been double booked however and arrangements were made for us to stay overnight at the wonderful Walwa pub which @$40 a person with breakfast thrown in was pretty good value.
Dinner menu at the Walwa pub
Next morning we examined the weather forecast for the day - it was raining still but there appeared a window of opportunity between 10am and 2pm for a rain free paddle. Dave and Sarah decided to give it a miss and headed for home. We drove back to Gadds and setup camp in improved conditions by which time Judy and Pete had arrived
A ray of sunshine
So 3 of us took the plunge and had a very pleasant and dry experience from the Walwa caravan park to Gadds bend while Tracey drove the vehicle and trailer.
Leaving Walwa caravan park
Approaching the old Jingellic bridge
Approaching the old Jingellic Bridge
Dark clouds forming as we shoot the rapids and pass under the Jingellic bridge
Dark clouds forming
After 2 hours of paddling we were happy to reach Gadds bend as thunder had commenced and some gusty wind bursts but still no rain.
Gadds Bend
About an hour after our return a massive storm front could be seen approaching from the south east. We were smashed by heavy rain and wind and took shelter in the cars while Tracey and Sonja did their best to hold the new tent in place!
Packing up at Gadds Bend
The poor old toilet tent didnt fare so well however! No one volunteered to sit out the storm so to speak!
toilet tent
By the time the storm was over Judy and Peter discovered their bedding was wet so packed up and went home. So then there were 3 - and it was wet and freezing and we knew a welcoming and warm fire was awaiting - so back to the Walwa pub for dinner!
walwa caravan park to gadds reserve march 31

So the dawn of a new day - and with two paddlers left and the weather looking ok (but seriously cold) it was decided to go for the second paddle - the distance was daunting (28km) with no known disembark location along the way - but the opportunity was too tempting to ignore. We labored through the morning packing up - a car shuffle was required but Tonys car wouldnt start - an RACV call and a new battery got us going. Sonja and I finally made it into the water at 12_26pm
Departing Gadds Bend
And we were off like startled rabbits. The river had risen substantially overnight and the flow rate was intimidating! we knew it was going to be a fast trip so time became less important - staying afloat was a prerequisite however. Sonja looked supremely confident.
Departing Gadds Bend
We were soon confronted with some serious rapids but carefully negotiated our way around.
Rapids near Gadds Bend
Some interesting and beautiful locations were passed by
Riverside houses
This is Mt Alfred as seen from the river - it was tempting to abandon ship and climb it but its private property unfortunately
Mt Alfred from the Murray
Just past Mt Alfred the river does a big convoluted swing to the north west and passes by the delightful looking Talmalmo Cottage.
Talmalmo cottage on the Murray near Burrowye bend
In preparation for this event I had contemplated breaking the paddle overnight here but accommodation was not available. Anyway I was determined to get to shore and have a browse around - big mistake!

Having secured the boat (or so I thought) and thrown the paddle up on to the grassy bank I stepped out to climb ashore - into a slippery steep bank and into the water while losing my grip on the kayak which promptly took off in the general direction of Adelaide - I jumped to retrieve it and got taken about 100m downstream by the strong current. Sonja brilliantly recovered my paddle and pursued me as I tried to manover the boat and to find something to grab a hold of on the shore. Finally found a log and Sonja dutifully returned my paddle - I was back in business. Only 1 problem - I was very cold - it was warmer in the water than it was in the kayak!
We stopped and I changed clothes - very relieved Id put my down jacket and beanie in the dry bag. The rest of the paddle was just delightful - so remote and peaceful - and fast - we paddled about 28km in 4 hours on the water. Upon reflection retrieving my kayak was critical because it contained my dry clothes and most importantly the spot emergency beacon - and although I had the phone we were in an area of zero reception. In future the Spot goes with me attached to my pfd and not in the boat - just in case we get separated.
Tthe Murray near Burrowye bend
I think this is the best of the sections of the Upper Murray we have paddled so far - just hope we get an opportunity to do it again in warmer weather!
Tthe Murray near Burrowye bend
The next section I would like to complete is from Burrowye Bend to Flaggy Creek - about 23km by river.
Thanks heaps to Tracey for providing the vehicle support - without which we couldnt have completed this section of the Upper Murray.
Tony Marsh
Gadds bend to Burrowye reserve map
Combined total of 140km continuous stretch of the Upper Murray now paddled
Click here for a link to the gps data for the second days paddle
GPSData1: 5ca2fdbaa04e2-Walwa-to-Gadds2019-03-30.gpx
GPSData2: 5ca2fdbaa04e2-Walwa-to-Gadds2019-03-30.gpx
Photos on Flickr: Click here for photos of the March 30-31 2019 paddles