The Murray River has some of the best kayaking and canoeing experiences in the world. We're not talking about rapids, instead imagine the peace and serenity as you silently glide and discover the backwaters, creeks and lagoons on one of the many dedicated kayak and canoe trails along the Murray River. There is so much of the river to explore with its bio-diversity and abundant riverbanks that sustain so much life.
You'll encounter incredible wildlife including kangaroos, emus, koalas, goannas and much more. The river also has an incredible diversity of birdlife that enjoy the lush river surroundings. If you're not up for organising your own kayak or canoe experience, you can take a guided tour where all the equipment is supplied and you'll be led by a qualified guide with canoeing experience. We recommend using a local operator with good knowledge of their region for the best experience.
There are many places along the Murray river where you can to explore the waterways at your own pace. When planning a canoeing or kayak river experience it is important that you always ensure your personal safety. So for the ultimate Murray River experience, that is friendly on our precious river environment consider exploring the Murray by canoe or kayak, it will give you the best sense of this beautiful river system.
The South Australian section of the Murray is classified as grade 1 canoeing. The slow-moving meandering nature of the river is due to its low gradient, in fact it falls only 21 meters in a distance of 642km.
Here are some resources to help you plan your next Murray River canoe or kayak adventure:
Canoeing and Kayaking Safety
Have your craft in sound condition with fixed buoyancy. Keep clear of weirs at all times as they have several inherent dangers:
1. Backpull: A vacuum is created on the lower side of the weir by the falling water rushing to the bottom of the river. The water then rushes back towards the weir and can hold and then push the canoeist upstream under the falling water.
2. A canoe or kayak moving downstream towards the top of the wier can be pinned against the exposed weir. The river pressure can then push the canoe underwater and hold it there.
3. The drop itself is very dangerous. Experienced canoeists give wiers a wide berth.
Trees and Snags are equally as dangerous as weirs. A canoe / kayak can become caught in the branches of a submerged tree (or logs / roots) which act like a large net. The water pressure of the river then pushes onto the craft and forces it underwater. Even if the capsized canoeist escapes from the craft and forces it underwater. Submerged branches can also rip open the bottom of a craft.
Snakes - Twelve species of snakes inhabit the Murray River region, and four are particularly dangerous. These are the eastern brown snake, eastern tiger, mulga and the western brown snake (or king brown).
Do not provoke snakes
- Avoid snakes swimming in the water
- Don't hit them with a paddle as this may flick them into the canoe
- Don't attempt to kill or catch a snake as most bites occur that way
- Walk normally through long grass
- When you surprise a snake, stand still or walk away quietly