The call of the Murray River’s winding creeks and wetlands
The maze of horseshoe bends in Nockburra Creek, off the Murray River in South Australia’s Riverland region, begs to be explored by canoe or kayak. Time stands still in the backwaters of the ancient inland river, which the nearby Ngarrindjeri people believe was created in the Dreamtime when an ancestral hero called Ngurunderi chased the giant Murray cod, Pondi, in a bark canoe. The fish carved out the waterway with every mighty swish of its tail. Dotted around this part of the Loch Luna Game Reserve are small, basic camp sites from which you can launch your own watercraft. As you navigate the turns of the slow, shallow creek, every oar stroke is a meditation on natural beauty, each scene framed by towering river red gums and shrubby tangled lignum. Be guided by a map of the Nockburra Creek Canoe Trail or follow the cackle of the darter to wetlands abundant with other aquatic birds such as black swans, pelicans, royal spoonbills and white-faced herons. Along the way, you might spot kangaroos and goannas and, if you’re lucky, snatch a furtive glance from a native water rat.