Day 41 – First Lock and Red Cliffs – Robinvale to Somewhere

From: Robinvale
To: Somewhere in the bush
Distance: 44km
Total Distance Travelled: 1412km
Distance to Go: 1077km

Today was the beginning of the next leg of the paddle, from Robinvale to Mildura.

There isn’t any towns or caravan parks between Robinvale and Mildura, so I will be camping remotely on various bends in the river for the next 5 nights. As a result I am not sure how much blogging I will get done this week. I am going to be fairly remote and I am unsure how the 4G will be or how long my laptop battery will last.

Anyway, I had a nice rest day in Robinvale in my strange little cabin (box) in the caravan park. I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this, but Robinvale is a town I don’t really need to go back to. There really is nothing to do (especially on a Sunday) and there really isn’t any shops of interest other than the IGA supermarket. In fact, on Sunday morning I walked into town to get myself a coffee from somewhere and there was nowhere… not a cafe, bakery or anything open. The only things open were the three (yes three) Asian supermarkets and the IGA. Not even the petrol station sold coffee. So I had to settle for an ice coffee Big M from the supermarket.

So this morning I headed down to the boat ramp near the caravan park and was on the water by 7.30am. The highlight of the day was 6km downstream, where I had to go through the first lock (Lock 15) of the trip. I rang the lock master yesterday and he told me to just give them a call when I was 15 mins away and they would open the gate for me. So I did and sure enough, when I got there, he was waiting for me with the gates to the lock open. The lock was a lot bigger than I expected, however they do have to fit paddle steamers in them, so it makes sense they are so large. Once I was in, they shut the upstream gate and started letting the water out. This lock takes about 10 minutes to drain and drops about 4 metres. Once the water has all drained, they opened the the downstream gates and waved me goodbye.

After the exciting lock experience, it then started to drizzle. It wasn’t forecasted but pretty much lasted for the entire paddle. So I put on my Gortex jacket, pull on the hood and plugged into my audio book.

Today the red cliffs started to appear. The area around Mildura (Mallee country) is famous for its large red cliffs along the river, so it was great to see them finally. Having spent the last many weeks looking at the same old mud banks with river red gums on them, it was nice to have a change of scenery.

Around 2pm I found my planned campsite and quickly set up the tarp so I could stash my gear under it. After about an hour, during which time I collected firewood, the rain cleared and the sun came out and treated me to a nice sunny(ish) afternoon sitting by the fire.

Tomorrow I am planning to paddle another 41km to another random bend in the river.

Entering Lock 15
The downstream gates opening. You can see the high water line on the gates.
The reason there is a lock
The red cliffs
Tonight’s dinner – Korma Curry

2 Comments on “Day 41 – First Lock and Red Cliffs – Robinvale to Somewhere”

  1. Seven weeks down…. wow! I didn’t realise there were locks along the Murray River. I have been acquainted with them over here in UK, but never back home. By the sounds of things, there are a few you will need to pass through. Interesting how the river landscape has changed. Richer soils probably coming into Mildura. What about the wildlife? Different birds? Last picture of your campsite looks lovely. Nice warm fire. Lovely vistas. Take care over the next few days.

    • From a wildlife perspective, it has not really changed much. The birds are very similar (ducks, pelicans, greaves, darters, herrons, kookaburras etc.). There hasn’t been as many mammals/marsupials as I thought there would be… probably too cold. I am yet to see the elusive koala, but seen most of the others you would expect.

      The landscape is only now just starting to change. In the last 2 days it is becoming mallee country and the red gums are getting fewer and fewer. Up until then, at the river level, you pretty much get just the river red gum forests. It wasn’t until I walked to the Nangiloc store that I got to see how flat it was (other than from drone footage). The soil/mud has got redder in the last few weeks.

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