River folk – Swanhill to Robinvale

by May 11, 20221 comment

A rare barista coffee and bagel started my day in Swanhill, before launching my boat and paddling away from this urban landscape. Feeling clean and fueled by town food, I set out paddling solo and eager to return to the sparsely populated river realm I had become accustomed to. After days of winding around, long river bends draped with redgum and the only conversations distracting from my peaceful thoughts being “Gday, caught any fish?”. Towns and small rural cities tended to be overwhelming, and no later than having finished shopping I was again keen to return to the river and float through the world in my own company and at a pace that seem right.

I was not far from Swanhill when I was caught up by two kayakers, a father and son paddling in elegant looking kayaks (kevlar Mirage 582’s for those who know kayaks). Dave and Flynn were paddling from Hume weir at Albury to Tooleybuc, four weeks of Murray river kayaking before returning to work and school. However, Flynn would have happily kept paddling and at a decisive pace if other commitments didn’t call for him. Great company they were for the remainder of the day and most of the following before they prepared for their departure. Having heard of several other people paddling this great river during the period I was travelling to the ocean, I was very glad to have crossed paths with these fellow paddlers and will hopefully paddle together again.


This section of the Murray is interesting, as many rivers streams and anabranches flow into or return into the Murray. The Murray grows in size and the array of deltas, line the landscape like the wrinkles of a travel-worn man. Bush-stone curlews, Murray cod, and whistling kites all share in the rich diversity and quality of this country.   


Approaching Robinvale, I noticed the telltale signs that I was nearing a major town again; fisherpeople grew in numbers, houseboats began to appear moored to the banks and finally building on the banks and a bridge! I floated into town, wondering how best would I resupply? where could I leave my boat? And where would I stay that night? As I was pondering and floating past the riverside caravan park, a call and waving came from the banks. My caravaning comrades from Swanhill had found the best spot in the park, right by the river, so I pulled up for a chat. They had just proved to be the answer to all my questions and more so I was in the presence of great company for the night, including a few drinks, food and the exchange of stories and banter.

I left Robinvale in the same fashion I usually leave a major town; clean, full tummy and again with a heavy boat full of supplies.

1 Comment

  1. La La

    How good are the grey nomads to you! Glad to see you encountering the good folk along the way, eating good food and nice vino. You have gone so far now!!! 😀


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