taking a boat down the Darling

Submitted: Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:47
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Hello forumites,
Its been a time since I have been on the forum, work keeping me city bound since I was last here enquiring about my Simpson crossing last year.
I have always had a dream (and don,t we all need dreams) about boating down the Darling river.
Some would say "why bother", I was thinking that because of the floods out that way this year might be a good time to give it a go.
I know about 2 men and a tinny but the show didn't go into the logistics. (not that I saw anyway).
Has any one an idea on the feasibility of such an adventure, especially water levels, weirs etc..
Awaiting your input,
William
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Reply By: George_M - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:56

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:56
Well how about that!

A mate and I are planning to put his boat in at Barmah on 5 February, and motor slowly down to Swan Hill. It's about 300k, and should take us a week. Just hope it's not tooo hot.

If you're serious abut a trip like this there's a truck-load of information available. I started with the "Murray River Access" booklets, and the "River Murray Charts", by Maureen Wright. The only thing that may stop us is the water level at the Torrumbarry Lock - the Lockmaster (Terry) said we could use his trailer to get around the lock if it's too low.

I think that the floods will only impact the Murray downstream of Wentworth where the Darling comes in.

George_M
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Follow Up By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 22:09

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 22:09
Hi George_M,
hope all goes to plan with you and your mate.
I was thinking of starting around Brewarrina or Bourke (which is technically the Barwon) and travelling down from there.
Starting at Bre because I used to live there when I was a pup and how far down depends on how much time it will require.
I know there is a weir at Bre but at this time am unaware of others.
William
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Follow Up By: Wilk0 - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 22:55

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 22:55
Hi George,

I dont think the flood waters will make the Murray, The lakes around Menindee will swallow a lot (which is a political football @ the mo). There is a weir just south of bourke as well one @ Louth and one @ wilcannia.

It would take some portage of the boat to get around them.

William did you know Pam Neale when she was in Bre?

Cheers Wilko
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Follow Up By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:00

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:00
Hi Wilko,
Pams name is not familiar but will ask Dad.
Thanks for the info re: the weirs.
William
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Follow Up By: Wilk0 - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:06

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:06
No worries William and I'm sorry.

Cheers Wilko
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Reply By: Member - Vince B (NSW) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 22:00

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 22:00
Hi William.
Sorry I can't answer your questions however the trip would be a great adventure considering that Menindee is starting to receive the flood waters.
We did the Darling River run a few years ago when the river was a series of ponds & I couldn't imagine seeing Tilpa & Louth in flood.
I hope you get to fulfill the dream.
Cheers.
Vince
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Follow Up By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 22:17

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 22:17
Hi Vince,
thanks for your thoughts,
My wife and I will be doing the Darling river run with my father and his wife in the July school holidays.
Dad will be 80 by then and the river run should be a easier trip for him. Mind you he did the Simpson crossing with us driving his Prado 2 years ago and had a ball.
William
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Reply By: Kim and Damn Dog - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:33

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:33
Gidday

Pity you didn’t take advantage of the water in the ‘Paroo’ last year. They had a very good winter, and the country was as lush as I’ve seen it in many a year.

Don’t limit your interest to iconic rivers. Eyre Creek through Boulia down south, when in flood, produces some of the best wild life I’ve ever seen.

From what I’ve seen in the last few years the Darling is buggared! Went through a good length of it 7 months ago.

Use to be a time not all that long ago, when the Menindee was full to the core, and the over fill was flowing down the river.

Some people argue it’s because of a long term drought, but I reckon that’s only part of the reason. Perhaps a bit of mismanagement!

Regards

Kim
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 07:27

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 07:27
There is plenty of truth in what you say Kim.
My wifes family came from Bourke and we went there are toured the area and with the water they pump out for irrigation its got me stuffed how any water gets to Menindi let alone to the Murray and thats only one bit of many places isnt it.
Ian
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Reply By: Volvo driver - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 08:10

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 08:10
Don't bother ...it's been done before LOL

sorry, couldn't help myself, had to put it that way after reading the "why bother" comment,
The Leyland brothers did it in the early 60's, well before they had TV shows, wrote a book about it, read it in the sixties, (yes, l'm old )
you might find a copy in the local library if you're lucky or scrounge through the op shops for one if you wanted to do some research,
maybe even contact the Leylands production company, they may have one sitting around

good luck with your trip anyway, as they say 'just do it'

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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 12:57

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 12:57
I have a copy of that book and I'm only 37.....is that considered old?

Having read the book in detail...there's not much useful info for the modern day river explorer. River levels have changed significantly since then and areas which they list a smooth sailing are nothing but sand bars and hazardous these days. The book is called Great Ugly River.
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Reply By: Member - Richard H (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 09:25

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 09:25
Will,

Take a sharp ax with you, as there are a lot of trees in the water, and you will find that you'll have to chop your way through in places.

Also if you are using a outboard, make sure you have a couple of spare props and lots of sheer pins.

You will encounter weirs at Wilcannia, and most certainly at Menindee, where you will have to portage your 'vessel' around the regulator.

But hurry up if you want to take advantage of the high river, because it ain't gonna last.


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Reply By: bennyzbit - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:18

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:18
Hi,

We did a similar ask about going down the Murray about 2 years ago. We didn,t want to go from the upper reaches to the mouth in one hit because the towie and the boat trailer would be still in the upper reaches when we got to the mouth Our mindset was "going down a section by boat and going back for the towie but how ?

Clever forumites solved our mindset problem. Launch the boat lets say 50 km downstream of the most upper reach you intended to visit and motor up and then motor back to your towie and trailer and drive towards the mouth a bit and repeat.

We didn't do the trip because forumites said the water levels in some places were appalling and since then we have sold the boat so it will never be done by us now.

Good Luck on your quest.

Benny
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Follow Up By: TTD - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 13:12

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 13:12
William,
A mate and I did from Pooncarie down to the mouth and back up to Mildura in 96 when it was pretty low but had no trouble apart from two or three portages over man made stock crossings, It took four days and we used about 50 litres of fuel in a 15hp Merc on a 11ft flat bottom punt.
Great trip

Regards
TTD
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Reply By:- Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 19:48

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 19:48
William,
As with TTD/TDD a mate of mine spoke about doing the run frm Pooncarie to the Murray, and mentioned quite a few spots where the boat required manhandling due to lack of water/crossings/weirs. Said it was very hard "work".
He had a Mildura mate who had some knowledge,
This was about 6/7 years ago.

Sundown..........
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Reply By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 14:58

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 14:58
Hello,
Thanks to every one for their replies, as always I am amazed at the amount of knowledge the forum readers have.

I think me hasty idea about boating down the Darling will take some more research.

I will be travelling the Darling river run from Bre in July and will have a good look at things re: the boating trip then.

There certainly needs a bit more research and planning on my behalf.

I Just hope when I finally get sorted out that there will be water in the system.

Its good to have dreams, in the meantime I will start thinking of another trip for April.

Regards William
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