Advice for clueless newbie

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Advice for clueless newbie

Postby midlifecrisisjase » Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:25 pm

Hi everyone, I had a fairly horrific knee injury in January and as I was a pretty active guy (for a 50 year old) I wanted to give Kayaking a try. I've bought myself a basic sit inside kayak and have been taking it for short trips around Garden Island and West Lakes in Adelaide. I'm really enjoying myself and have decided that I will do a 5 - 7 day trip down the Murray sometime early next year. I've been watching a lot of youtube videos and talking to various people but I thought this forum might be a good place to ask a few questions I have.

Firstly, I'm looking at purchasing a Tsunami 145, which is rated to 159 kilograms. I've been keeping a spreadsheet of items that I plan on taking, with the weight of each item recorded. At this point I'm at around 170 kilograms (including myself), which is exceeding the weight rating of the kayak. So, am I going to have to reduce my equipment, or is the weight rating simply a rough guide that can be exceeded in certain kayaking conditions?

I do plan on doing some training prior to the trip, but if I'm planning on doing a fairly leisurely pace how intensely should I train?

My main questions relate to kayaking and camping on the Murray, and this is where I really just don't have any idea. For example, if I plan on gently kayaking 6 - 8 hours / day, what sort of distance would you expect that I would cover / day? If I wanted to end my trip in Mannum, what would be a good starting point for a 5 day trip?

What sort of current should I expect? I plan on doing the trip in either February or March (not sure if this makes any difference!).

What are the rules to camping? I plan on simply finding a convenient spot and pitching my tent, then moving on in the morning. Are there plenty of spots to choose from?

What are the rules / guidelines for negotiating locks on the Murray?

Given that I'm heading off in the middle of summer, I want to ensure that I carry enough water - but not too much due to weight concerns. Can anyone suggest how much drinking water I should take / day?

Lastly, I'm looking into solar options for powering my phone / gps and Ipad - would anyone have any effective lightweight suggestions?

Many thanks everyone

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Re: Advice for clueless newbie

Postby Camanche73 » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:42 pm

How much of that 170kg is equip? Seems rather heavy.
No need for water. On the Murray I just use water purification drops and drink the river. 2l bottle to keep it handy in. Should save a lot of weight there.
From memory last time I paddled the Murray it was flowing about 3km/h

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Re: Advice for clueless newbie

Postby sandym » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:21 pm

We did Yarrawonga to Echuca over 7 days last summer as that section of the river seemed to have the most parks and reserves along the length and the least development. Also very simple to take a bus back to the car. We did around 40 km a day which took longer than we would have thought - the current seemed sluggish. Camping is pretty much open most places, except private property. The whole river is lined with camp sites, some are a bit ghetto/boganish so choose appropriately. We took water to drink and filled up at towns along the way as the dead cows etc floating in the river make drinking the water less appealing. Maybe allow 5 or so litres a day. I will say it can be baking hot on the river in the sun. To keep cool we would wet our shirts in the river then put them on. In half an hour they would be bone dry again.

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Re: Advice for clueless newbie

Postby FreckledAvenger » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:43 pm

Hi Jase.

I have only done the upper Murray (Brigenbrong Bridge to Albury) although I head off again tomorrow from Albury. A little different from the lower Murray where you are thinking of but I thought I chime in.

While it can be subjective, I suspect if you spend a leisurely 6-8 hours on the water that you would probably easily average 35+kms a day. While the flow this year should be better than it has been in some time, I am not sure about how much current this translates to in the lower Murray. You also have to remember that you may get some days where the winds may be against slowing you down. I myself am planning on doing around 35kms a day (when factoring in a rest day about once a week).

As for distances (and other things) a helpful planning website is for QHover ( The website has information on the locks (although you may have to check that the phone numbers are current) as well as page with all the distances along with accompanying photographs taken from many of those points. If you were going to do a five day trip to Mannum, maybe starting from Morgan would be best?

As for camping, I have stuck to designated camp sites so far. I have been using the Murray River Access books from Spatial Vision which have most of them marked. I also have used sites like as well. In theory the Victorian side of the river is supposed to be a reserve however it is not really that simple (there are warnings in the MRA books about not camping on licensed water frontages).

As for weight, I am not sure what you are taking but remember that you will probably be passing through towns on your way where you can grab food/water etc so depending on which part of the river you decide to paddle you may be able to save some weight that way. I plan on stopping in towns/caravan parks every few days to refill with water and hopefully buy any items. I have a couple of smaller drom bags and Nalgene bottles to carry water and if I run out I have a Sawyer Mini plus Katadyn tablets for filtering/treating water.

Lastly, I am powering my electronic items using a Anker PowerPort Solar Lite folding solar panel (15W) and also have a 10000mAh USB rechargable battery that I keep topped up in case I run into a few rainy days.

If you can move your trip up to January when I hopefully will reach down there, maybe we can paddle a section of the Lower Murray together? If you are interested PM me ...


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