Goulburn Confluence – Lower Goulburn River to Torumbary Weir

by Apr 26, 20222 comments

From Goulburn Weir (the dam that forms Lake Nagambie), the River that flows out, I refer to it as the Lower Goulburn, whether this is technically true, I’m unsure. However, there is a distinct change in character; the banks are much higher, the water swirls slowly around snags, flowing down the constantly meandering riverbed and the trees on the banks are old and gnarled with age and weathering.

From Goulburn Weir I continued travelling solo, drifting down the river as my mind wandered through thoughts and memories. The way your mind processes and contemplates ideas while you are paddling is wonderful. With your mind and body focused on paddling, the remainder of your attention, which tends to be a lot, can sieve through thoughts and ideas you didn’t realize were in your head.

At Murchison, my first companion of the journey joined me, Alana. My partner, and a best friend; Alana paddled with me from Murchison to Shepparton over a cruisey six days. We found amazing campsites and saw heaps of great birds and beautiful trees. We also treated ourselves by staying in a hotel in Shepparton, where we drank wine and had a hot bath. Check out ‘Lower Goulburn River – A Mountain perspective‘ article for a beautiful account of those times.

Along the lower Goulburn, below Shepparton, there are a number of weirs; not large dam walls that regulate flow for irrigation but weirs made of stone. The stones are pilled across the river, forming a rapid that holds most of the water above it, and the water is then mostly diverted into the old river channel with some flowing quickly over the rocks forming a whitewater rapid.

As a river meanders through a landscape, finding the path of least resistance, over thousands of years the meanders regularly break through forming a straight path again. These stone weirs keep water in the old meanders, which is great for farmer’s pumps and erosion control, maybe. However, it means I either have to paddle around the old meanders or try my luck at navigating the rapids, which have been known to snap boats… This time, I paddled around most of the rapids.

At McCoys Bridge Anina (aka rowdy) joined me for four days. We cruised down the last sections of the Goulburn River together, catching up on each other’s lives and taking in the slow flowing deep meanders of the river that I have been paddling down for three weeks now. 

At camp, we made good fires and cooked delicious meals and spent the evenings carving spoons and talking about the goings-on in our lives and the happenings of our days on the River. 

On the third day of Rowdy’s presence, we passed through the confluence where the Goulburn river meets the Murray River. From the slow meandering lower Goulburn we passed onto the mightly Murray which seemed to triple in size. Onwards we paddled into Echuca where we resupplied and enjoyed a longneck while sitting on the Port of Echuca. 

The Easter long weekend was beginning when we left Echuca. Peter, a season Murray river paddler joined us for the morning and we all share some stories and took in Peters river knowledge. Peter sent us on our way and for the next three days, there was not a moment when I didn’t see or feel the presence of people in speed boats, jet skis, houseboats, caravans, dirt bikes and every other long weekend toy you could imagine. It was great seeing so many people out enjoying nature and camping. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit frustrated by the wakes from boats flooding my kayak, the blasting of music that was trying to overpower the sound of their boats fanging down the river and the lack of care for the river. I was greatly pleased once I made it past Torrumbarry weir, and things changed! The banks of the river were high again, river redgum forests clad the banks as far as I could see, and the only people on the river other than me were an occasional fishing boat. Off into vast forests I paddled. 

2 Comments

  1. Tracey Ukosich

    I’ve been amongst those speed boats on the Murray for many a year. I can only imagine how busy it must have been this Easter after two years of lockdowns., and can empathise with your frustrations. Looks like an amazing journey. You write beautifully Leigh. I admire your love for nature.

    Reply
  2. Alana

    Love this, darn those pesky river fiends!! Keep floating along Leigh Bee <3

    Reply

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