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Planning an exploratory paddle of the Snowy from Woods Point Camping Ground down to Orbost (about 20km) had taken many hours of research for maps and descriptions, conversations with DELP and the Orbost Caravan Park for local intel as to obstacles, stream flow and potential exit points.  All was in order when Murphy stuck his head in the door.  More rain needed in East Gippsland, such that the DELP recommendation was defer the paddle.   Not one to be defeated I completed a reckie by car  over the weekend of the 20th/21st November and I am very pleased to report it was worth every moment.  Water levels had dropped but the Snowy was still  running at approximately 6knots – about 11km/hr; paddling would have been exhilarating.  Forecast rain stayed away enabling a leisurely  Saturday morning cycle along the East Gippsland Rail Trail 32kms was more than enough for this occasional cyclist.

Snowy River Reckie 2 20.11.21 Orbost Caravan Park – the recent rains had left half the camp ground rather soggy – such that unpowered sites were not available – visitors confined to the higher sites.   There is access to the Snowy River adjacent to the Caravan Park just before the bridge over the river (car distance not kayak trolley distance).  Access is via a steep track which had been partly washed out due to the recent rains but was most navigable on foot (not car).  This leads down to a sandbar – most suitable for entry/exit

Woods Point Camping Ground

The original plan was to load kayaks onto the club trailer, travel to Woods Point and paddle back to Orbost.  Mixed messages had been provided around the road in from “4WD only” to “2WD and camper trailers, not suitable for caravans”.  Bearing in mind that there had been considerable rain over the previous days the road in was not too bad.  Heading out of Orbost on “B Road” this is extensively potholed from approximately Lynns Road to Garnet Track.  From there the road climbs quickly, winding and narrow in places such that passing with a 6m trailer on the back would be quite a challenge;  before dropping down into Woods Point Camping Ground.  One small section was greasy with clay – 4WD required but under dry conditions this would not be an issue.  Given the length and weight of the Club Trailer with no brakes and the high number of kms on my Pajero, I would not be prepared to travel this road with this set up. 

Woods Point Camping Ground – half a dozen free camp sites, all with fire places and cooking trivets, overlooking a sweeping bend of the Snowy River, enshrined with nature at its best – massive trees, rocky outcrops, peace, serenity at its best.  Follow this link .  I understand it is best not to visit during school holidays, long weekend and Public Holidays

It did not take long to realise that Plan A needed to be replaced by Plan B - camp at Woods Point and paddle down to Orbost.  With this in mind ongoing conversations are being held with the Orbost Caravan Park to enable a car(s) to be left there for 2 nights, and kayaks over night with the plan to paddle upstream and back from Woods Point on Day 1, paddle down stream to Orbost on Day 2 (leave kayaks, pick up car from Caravan Park) and return to Woods Point.  Kayaks collected the following day on departure.

Day 2 of exploration took me to Marlo and exploration of the lower Snowy.  What better way to do this than to be “Press Ganged” – yes you read it correctly – “forcibly enlist (someone) into service in the army or navy”; in this case into the “Da Mirrie Dancer” a replica of a Shetland Islands Rowing Boat.  The boat name translates to “The Northern Lights”.  

Walking along the Jetty at Marlo – admiring her – “need two more rowers, want to come?  In you get”.  Before I knew it I was on board rowing under the orders of “Butterfly” with fellow rowers Dale, and Andrea and guided by Coxon Dave (the owner and builder).  If you would like to crew on this boat they paddle from Marlo every Sunday morning at 10am – cost your hard work and lots of laughter.  We paddled up the Snowy, around the first island and through the Corringle Slips before heading back to shore.  The afternoon was spent exploring the Brodribb River for launch sites, Cape Conron and the beautiful Yeerung River and Gorge resulting in numerous options for paddles.

Snowy River Reckie 20.11.21

Country hospitality was at its best when arriving back in Marlo mid afternoon with no power, an invitation was extended to join the local Footy Club Breakup at the Marlo Pub.  Help yourself to a BBQ lunch – no cost.  A perfect way to end a perfect weekend – on the balcony, overlooking the Snowy with a G&T in hand.  

Love where we live!!  Watch out for up coming paddling events.