Murray-Kulkyne National Park - East of firemans bend

Friday, Sep 26, 2008 at 00:00

Mick O

Friday 26th September 2008
Murray-Kulkyne National Park.

It’s dusk on the Murray River in the Hattah-Kulkyne state park. The sun has set, a stillness has descended upon the land and the first of the spring cicadas are chirping in the river redgums about us. The birds are returning from the days foraging, galahs, corellas, sulphur crested cockys, crows, parrots of every color and above them, the birds of prey doing a last cruise of opportunity in the fading light.

Hugh (Hugh the wise, veteran of the Canning Campaign, 2006), as if proving he could, arrived at Chateau Rosedale at 7.00 a.m. sharp. Now that was a half hour early so he took me unawares. I had just finished loading the last of the food into the Engel. The Fluffster was still dozing and the house looked like a bomb had hit it. We had a bit of brekky and then piling the last of the gear into the car, departed at about 8:00 a.m. It was Hugh’s first intro to the computer mount in the vehicle and the computer based Track Ranger program. Having occupied the passengers seat for 14,000 km last year, he was suitably impressed. Especially when I knocked up a quick map from a Google Earth image prior to leaving home!

It was great getting away and we comfortably settling into the driving routine. We offed the mighty eastern at the Chandler and sped north to Bell Street, Hugh’s old stamping ground of Murray Road. Then onto the Tulla and Calder and north. We stopped at Harcourt for a snappy pie for morning tea. At Ravenswood we veered left and headed for Marong bypassing Bendigo. We breezed through Inglewood, Wedderburn and Charlton. Just north of Wychiproof, Hugh took the wheel while I punched out some zeds. A snappy sandwich at Sea Lake and then on to Ouyen where we invested $12 in a month long NSW fishing license and fifty cents on a half an ox tail for the shrimp net. Unlike many of the smaller country towns we passed through these days, Ouyen seems to be a picture of prosperity.

We opted to take the scenic route into the Kulkyne via Hattah Lakes National Park much as we had done last year. The park does look great. At Mournpool we turned right and headed out on the Cantala Track winding our way past McMahons lonely grave and in and out of the Chalka Creek. At one point we spotted a white emu who turned out to be very camera shy. Well he was very light coloured. We were also stopped dead by two bearded dragons lazily sunning themselves in the middle of the track. I actually had to carry one to the side of the track to ensure they would not be endangered by the vehicle as we passed. Lazy buggers.

We reached the River Track at about three bells and headed into Retail Bend to find a camp of large proportions already set up. Thus our quest for a decent camp extended from there. It is the middle of the school holidays and the grand final weekend so… We finally found a nice spot on the eastern end of a very large sandbar somewhat east of Fireman’s bend. We’re down on the sand for the camp site. The roo’s have been idling past us to drink at the eastern end of the sandbar and the wildlife has been spectacular. Timber for the fire is plentiful, the shrimp net is in. Hopefully some bait for tomorrow. The fire is away under the supervision of Hugh. It’s steak tonight as is only fitting. The galahs are arguing over the best roosting place in the trees. Life’s good.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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