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The Paddle

Cheerful folk dribbled into Robyn and Dales farm Friday afternoon setting up various ‘homes’ . The farm is in an ideal position, high above the river, vistas all round, shady old trees and plenty of mown flat ground on which to camp. There was even an old shed with power to boil a kettle and space if we needed to shelter from rain which of course we did not.

Sat 8.30 the paddling contingent (14 in all) convoyed down the ‘interesting’ slope to the Nicholson River. Some cars had never tasted these conditions before but it was all a breeze. We made a colourful contingent as we set of upstream. The river level was high and there did not seem to be much of a current in either direction. Most of the river banks had been fenced off from stock and consequently the vegetation was a pleasure to observe. It was a huge contrast to a short section that cattle still had access to - poo, no trees or shrubs, eroded banks, not good!

All day birds were in abundance and it was great to see so many Willy Wagtails. Their population has been declining in recent years. Gippsland Water Dragons were spotted on logs by those with keen eyes. The turn around point was at the bridge en route to Sarsfield with a few stopping a bit short of that. No one recorded the exact distanced paddled but it was around 17 km. A happy day thanks to Roz for the organizing and Robyn and Dale for providing such terrific facilities.

Julie Parker. Paddler and Contributor

The Walk

We were greeted by a fine and sunny Saturday morning with no wind or rain – perfect conditions for an enjoyable day walk.

7 walkers left the farm at 8am and drove approx. 20 mins to our starting destination which was at the intersection of Bruce Track and the East Gippsland Rail Trail. After car shuffling vehicles around, we all reassembled and started our walk along the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail heading toward the Pink Quarry Granite Site. This is where granite boulders were mined in the 1900s-1940s and transported along the specially built tramway line to Lakes Entrance to stabilise and open the entrance.

We continued our walk along the old tramway track seeing remnants of the old railway sleepers and angle iron, following the Mississippi Creek – nothing like the other one that Mark Twain wrote about – before reaching our destination at Log Crossing Campground to where our cars were parked completing our walk of approx. 13kms

This walk was a gentle, easy walk along a solid path through the State Forest that showed lush green growth thanks to recent rains and the historic evidence of bush fires.

Participants: Dale Scott, Robyn Scott, Sue Marriott, JJ Jackson, Jenny Clarke, Michele Prentice, Frithjof Arp.

Robyn, Host, Contributor and Walker

Nicholson river paddling day 2

At 9 am on day 2 of the “Nicholson River Base camp paddle, bike and walk”, 13 paddlers made their way from the beautiful base camp (Thank you Robyn and Dale) to the boat ramp in Johnsonville, to access the Tambo River.
As we arrived there was a group of young men in their “rowing uniform”, looking very professional, just leaving the river.

The river is very wide where we started, and considering it was Sunday, it was not too busy. It was a bit breezy and we were first paddling downstream towards the mouth of the river. The flow was very gentle making it easy, the weather was perfect, sunny. On the way there we spotted eagles, pelicans and a very big and colourful king Fisher.There was also an old fishing boat, but all grey like submarine colour.

When we reached the mouth of the river, one of the paddlers ventured out into the lake but soon came back to join the rest of the group. On the way back upstream, we had a back wind and the water was a bit lumpy and wavy. It was fun to experience that. A big fish was spotted jumping into the water. We were back at the jetty before 11 O’clock and all proceeded to put the kayaks back on the cars, and then share a nibble together before returning to camp.

As an inexperienced paddler, I couldn’t have felt safer, Roz was a great leader always looking out for paddlers and checking on them. All the other experienced paddlers also always there if you needed help. I, got to avoid blisters, and enjoy the paddle thanks to all practical advice and care given. Also, Avenel had fitted me with the right jacket and boat.

Nathalie, Paddler and Contributor

The Cycle

Having spent a day on the Nicholson River, paddling up to the Sarsfield Bridge and back - 20 leisurely kms at around 4-5km/hr , sharing the waterway with fellow paddlers and the local inhabitants - kingfishers, herons, ducks and the occasional "poddy mullet", a change of pace was sought. Five cyclists settled on a more relaxed Sunday morning, waved the paddlers off at 8:00am before leaving around 9:00am.

Hopping on my bike the "occasional peddler" joined the more regular peddlers for a cycle on the rail trail. Heading up the farm drive which was in good condition, we turned right onto the bitumen, cycled 300m and then onto the trail. My experience of rail trails is gravel, sand, sometimes rocks so imagine my surprise to see a path of bitumen spreading out as far as the eye can see - all the way to Bairnsdale. I believe it also continues on in this manner for a short way in the opposite direction heading towards Bruthen.

The trail was very popular with both walkers and cyclists "morning" - "morning" was the common catchcry. Gently undulating up and down along the way, the trail makes for a very easy ride. There are a number of road crossings, including the Princess Highway, the path bringing you in to Bairnsdale near the Mitchell River. Being a Sunday, the Dragon Boats were out - prepping for a competition at Falls Creek of all places!. Being a paddler we stopped and chatted with them for a while before resuming our journey back towards Nicholson with a tail wind. A stop at the Nicholson Cafe for well earned refreshments and some "brunch" before returning to the farm around 12 midday. All in all 26 kms. Would recommend this ride.

Avenel, Paddler, (sometime) Peddler and Contributor

The Participants: 

Roz Spratt (Leader), Dale and Robyn Scott (Host), Julie Parker, Michael and Judy Purbrick, Michael Haynes, Noel Haines, Pat Williams, Nathalie Charles, Alec Stewart, Avenel Casson, Jenni Chandler, Jenny Clarke, Jean Jackson, Frithjof Arp, Michele Prentice, Shane Bright, and Maree Mills

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