These trips provide opportunities to explore the area on foot as well as by kayak or canoe. The suggested routes outlined below refer to the River Murray Canoe Guide – Chowilla. Please go to Canoe Guide Retailers for a listing of where these maps can be purchased.
Hypurna Creek (2.5hrs)
From Border Cliffs Customs House canoe launching area (961406) north of the boat ramp paddle upstream for approximately 1 km to the portage point at the 638km river marker. (972397) At this point you will need to carry your boats along the foot track to Hypurna creek (100m). After completing the portage, paddle upstream (departing to the right/south) in Hypurna Creek for about 1.5km, where you will find the creek becomes more difficult to paddle, due to reeds. Return to the portage point, carry back to the main river and paddle back to Border Cliffs. Hypurna Creek is an interesting and varied backwater on the floodplain, with abundant birdlife. As one paddles along the creek, fallen trees will be encountered in the water and will need to be negotiated.
Isle of Man (4hrs)
From the canoe launching point (as above) paddle downstream on the River Murray for 3.5 kms. Enter the lagoon surrounding the Isle of Man via a small opening in the reeds in the eastern branch (938416). Explore the backwater as far as the weir in Pipeclay Creek. There should be abundant birdlife in the lagoon. Return to the starting point at Border Cliffs via the same route. Allow at least 4 hrs depending on wind, as the open sections of the Murray can be choppy. This could be an overnight as there is a nice campsite at the weir.
Slaney Island Loop (min. 6hrs or overnight)
From Border Cliffs Customs House canoe launching area (961406) paddle upstream to the portage point at the 638km river marker. Carry over to Hypurna Creek and paddle downstream (to the north) on Hypurna Creek past the intersection of the Chute (not named) to the junction of Hypurna and Slaney Creeks (1.3Km). Be cautious as there is often significant flow coming out of the Chute. This flow continues to the junction of Slaney and Chowilla Creeks. At the junction turn left (west). Follow Slaney Creek northwest for 6km to the junction of Chowilla Creek (C). Turn left and follow Chowilla Creek 3.3km to the west to the junction of Pipeclay Creek (D). Turn left onto Pipeclay Creek. You will now be paddling against the flow, which can be significant. Paddle upstream for 3 km to the weir. A line of buoys marks the danger area below the weir. You must now carry (portage) past the weir using the steep track on the eastern side of Pipeclay Creek. As there is abundant birdlife in the lagoon, allow some time to explore in this area. To enter the Murray you must use the eastern branch (938416) of the Isle of Man lagoon. Turn left at the Murray and paddle upstream for 3.5km to Border Cliffs. Although this is can be completed in a day by experienced paddlers, or it is a nice overnight for those who like to have a look around. As it is nearly 20km, it is wise to plan for an overnight and carry the necessary provisions. Possible campsite numbers are 22-25.
Monoman Island Loop (day trip – 5hrs) (892422)
A recommended full day trip would be the 15.3 km circuit around Monoman Island incorporating Chowilla and Monoman Creeks for those with an appropriate level of fitness. Starting from any of the Monoman Creek campsites (8-17 which are accessible from the Old Coach Road), paddle downstream in Monoman Creek to the southern junction of Monoman and Chowilla Creeks (this distance will vary depending on the starting point). Turn north at the junction, paddling 6.5km to point E, the junction of Boat Creek and Chowilla Creek, then a further 1.8km along Chowilla Creek to the northern Monoman Creek. Turn left and continue along Monoman Creek to the starting point. Allow a full day for this trip depending on your speed. Be aware that you will be paddling against the current for some of the time. In general, touring speeds are around 4-5km/hr and can vary significantly with the current. Variations of this loop can be made, for example, overnight stops at any of the marked campsites or the trip can be shortened.
The other rivers which are designated permanent watercourses on the Chowilla Canoe Guide are generally navigable. In some cases they may be shallow, subject to fast currents or require lifting the canoes over snags. Particular care should be taken in the vicinity of weirs and footbridges. Canoeists must get out of their canoes well before these hazards and determine the best way to carry their craft around them. It is worth obtaining the Old Coach Road Historical Trail brochure from the Renmark Visitor Information Centre and visiting the various sites while paddling in this area.
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