We have moved on from Waikerie and are making our way down the Elbow’s arm towards Mannum. For much of the way the road tracks close to the River giving great views of the River cliffs. These are the ones you see on TV and in magazines. The most dramatic is at Swan Reach where the Murray goes around a Big Bend, up against dramatic limestone cliffs. There is a great lookout that allows a panoramic view of the Bend. The panorama option on the camera slightly distorts the middle of the Bend but it is pretty true representation of this iconic place.
Further along we decide to have a free camp night at Walkers Flat, this was a spur of the moment decision. Walkers Flat is on the other side of the River and we cross over on the Boobook ferry with a great view of the cliffs from the ferry. After driving around a bit we settle on a spot beside the River at a boat ramp, the area is known as Swamp Hen after the wide spread and fairly common water bird.
The weather has not been that good for the last couple of days, windy with squally rain showers off and on. We do get the sun from time to time though and get big patches of blue sky to contrast with the clouds. The wind adds a chill factor as well, it gets down to 5 or 6 degrees overnight. Chilly in the van for us Queenslanders. Wind and threat of rain discourages a fire, so we huddle in the van rugged up. Our heating doesn’t work without mains power.
But we survive and are awakened by horn blasts as the Murray Princess paddles past. Allthego braves the early morning air and charges out for a photo. The things one does for a photo. The Murray Princess is the biggest paddle wheeler on the Murray and does cruises for several days and nights from Goolwa up as far as Banrock Station and back. It is also different to other paddle wheelers on the Murray because of the rear paddles, the other boats we have seen have paddles on each side. Side paddlers are more manouverable as one side can be set to go forwards and the other side backwards aiding turning in the confined spaces on the River. A great way to see the River! Maybe one day!
Later in the morning we head back across the River on the Boobook and up the quite steep road to the top of the cliffs and set off on the short 32 km drive down to Mannum for our next stopover, passing by another great view down the cliff line and across the River to expansive billabongs and farmlands.