There is no boat ramp just downstream of the Bitch and Pups reef on the Victorian [western] side. The boat ramp shown on Page 25 of the river access maps is on the NSW side, near the road. It is not a structured boat ramp and is only usable when the river is high. At low river levels there is a drop off that makes it unusable. [Local information verified].
My wife and I have just spent a week travelling down the Murray from Boundary Bend to Mildura. We launched the boat at Boundary Bend and I drove to Mildura, leaving the car in the boat ramp car park. V-Line run a bus to Albury that stops at Boundary Bend. Perfect.
I just wanted to send you note to say how invaluable and accurate your charts were to us. We could not have made it with boat in one piece without them. We hit a rock with the prop just as we were leaving Wemen. Luckily it was 95% still okay. Also we blocked our outboard’s water pump several times in the sand but managed to clear it on each occasion. The water was quite low and there were several stretches where I had to get out and push.
A couple of things we noted. One was the access to Wemen which is absolutely woeful. The ropes that someone had strung between the star pickets have largely come away and a tree had fallen across the path/track. We had to rig up our own rope lines or we could not have carried our fuel and water down. I am a fit and strong 63 year old but getting 40 litres of petrol and 25 litres of water down the bank was a challenge. There may be some less able adventurers who would find this beyond them. It may well be worth putting more emphasis on this.
If we were to do it again we would have taken on more fuel and water at Robinvale and given Wemen a miss. Your book seems to indicate the Robinvale caravan park, with its store & petrol, are 1km away, so this could put people off. Perhaps it might be worth expanding the section to say they are only 100m away while the town centre is 1km away. I would also urge people to stock up enough supplies at Robinvale to get them through the 160km to Nangiloc.
One of the house boat owners at Nangiloc kindly let us moor alongside and use his ramp access to get to the store. Nangiloc does not have any reticulated water supply and, as it is dry in that area, the store/pub people were reluctant to give us any rain water. We had to buy cask water at $8 for 10 litres. I know you can boil the river stuff and use it but not everyone wants to do that on a holiday.
From time to time we get requests for charts and information about the River Darling. Many people have navigated parts of this river. If you would like to share your experiences with those planning a journey, please contact us and we will put you in touch with future travellers. Contact details are on our home page.
In 2012/13 Ken navigated his houseboat Orlando in stages from Murray Bridge to Yarrawonga, juggling river heights and flows to travel over hazards and under bridges.
Here are some observations from his trip using 7th and 8th editions of River Murray Charts:
Map 9 The WDS at Wentworth is approximately 3km upstream of the Murray Darling junction or 1km upstream of the bridge.
Map 26 The clay bar at the southern end of Goat Island, opposite the caravan park, is larger than shown on the charts and extends about a third of the way into the channel.
Map 27 The Murray Downs wharf at around 1413km is a standard public waste disposal station [know locally as perfume point].
Map 38 The 263 mile tree and the 1776 km marker are both missing in The Narrows. This has been confirmed by Benita Cox who runs Kingfisher Cruises through here.
Some recommended sources of information on river heights and flows are:
Murray Darling Basin Authority web site www.mdba.gov.au/river-data/current-information-forecasts/river-flows
www.bom.gov.au/vic/flood then select a sub-area and River Conditions
MDBA River Operations in Canberra 02 6279 0168
If you are using the 7th edition, fuel availability has changed. As well as the note below about fuel at Tooleybuc and Mildura, it should be noted that the shop at Colignan is closed and fuel and supplies are no longer available there. Next stop heading downstream is Nangiloc. [See page 13]
As at December 2013 there is no fuel available at Tooleybuc. A phone call to the shop and post office on 03 5030 5303 is a good idea to check the status if you are relying on fuel here. Nearest fuel is at Piangil, about 3km from Tooleybuc by road.
There are two bridges across the Murray at Cobram [see page 42 of the Charts]. The old bridge is lower than the new by about 1 metre.
Fuel is easily and conveniently available at the Marina at Mildura [see page 10]
There are two mooring pontoons at Picnic Point on page 39 of the Charts. When travelling downstream use the second one [near 1790 mark] if you wish to go shopping or get fuel. The pontoon near the boat ramp is furthest from the shop.