Murray Bridge, September 2020

C & D Reports and photos on the Murray Bridge Camps

D Grade perspective:

I grew up as  a “River Girl” and after so many years it was wonderful to be beside the River Murray again. To really visit and see what an interesting and thriving town Murray Bridge has become.  I was amazed that there were so many excellent trails already established, for example, the beginning of the Lavender Federation Trail that leads to Clare, and the many local bush and riverside trails very near to the town.
I can’t decide which walk was my favourite. Every day the walks were so different, I’d think “this is the best walk” but then another “best walk” would be presented the next day.

Our first walk left from the beautiful town Riverside Park where many sporting activities are held. We visited the Bunyip that obligingly roared for us, then walked past the wharf, past houseboats, under the two bridges and then eventually to the Rocky Gully wetlands further upstream. A local person, Graham, accompanied us and gave such interesting information about the town and the Trails that he obviously loves and works so hard on. On the way home we visited the “Round House” where we were fed magnificent country scones and coffee/tea seated on the verandah. (The Round House isn’t round! Just looks that way from the boats on the river – it was built for the Supervisor of the first bridge – he would have had a wonderful view of the progress of the bridge.)

On day two we could see the Mobilong Prison which is surrounded by a very pretty bush park, the Kinchina Conservation Park. The trails here were interestingly and topically called names such as Jailbreak Trail, Jailhouse Rocks Loop, Getaway Car Trail (there was an old wrecked car in the gully – don’t know if that was the Getaway car!) The scrub here was beautiful –scenic views and with so many flowering trees and plants – the predominate colour of the flowers was yellow. No wonder the Australian colours are green and gold!

The walk on the third day was on a levy bank path called the Riverglades Wetlands. This was beautiful and so peaceful – water on both sides of a narrow walkway that was lined on each side with 6′ rushes and frogs -although we couldn’t see them, croaked continuously. Pat – our bird expert – says this area is usually a good birdwatching site which I could imagine – but we were too big a party to birdwatch. We did see two very large escaped domestic geese though. Loved this trail! Come to think of it – I loved every walk!

Our walks were about 6.5 to 7k each day and I am proud to say we all did very well. Our grateful thanks Kerry and Pat, Maureen and Rose for all the hard work of organising and leading this camp. It was a wonderful camp in a brand new area.

C Grade perspective

September 7 to 11 were the dates we headed off, and  over 60 people were involved in the camp. Too many for one caravan park, but we all found beds somewhere in town and on Tuesday were ready to walk.

This first day was 2 trails near the river and associated wetlands. Accompanied by a frog chorus we walked through high reed beds flanking the trail and saw a variety of bird life as well as local art works:  fauna in  bright public mosaics and  some fascinating private garden sculptures too. Afternoon tea at the historic Round house with its interesting displays of times when our first bridge was built over the Murray(1870s) and with great river and bridge views, was a special addition to the walking.

Wednesday was in the Kinchina Conservation Park (declared such in 2016 so new to many of us) along single track paths with names associated with the nearby prison facility, eg Jailbreak, Jailhouse Rocks, Getaway Car and Cemetery!  Bright eyes spotted some orchids and all enjoyed the views over the town with the carpet of dandelion flowers and green grass in the foreground. A detour to a ruin was of added interest as it had a round chimney.

Thursday was on the Lavender Federation Trail over numerous stiles (was it 10 or 11 or more?) but it also included some open paddock walking in undulating country passing the splendid Preamimma Mine chimney and  the Adelaide water pipeline, to a pleasant walk in the Monarto Woodlands, where quite a variety of tree species have been planted. In much of this section we were alongside an impressive red eroded creek bed.  Again we found a ruin but this one had an external kitchen with a big bread oven.

Our last walk was on well named Cypress Hill winding up and down on S bends galore to the source of the banging noise. A large area of open paddocks is being used to build a big solar farm. Under the railway line on stepping stones near the reed beds in Rocky Gully and on past larger rock outcrops than on previous walks.

All in all, we found Murray Bridge has some very pleasant walking locations, and we sincerely thank those who gave us the opportunity to discover this. THANK YOU to a great leadership and organising team. As a first time camper, I appreciated the warm and friendly welcome and the opportunity to chat with people at happy hour as well as on the walks.