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Photo Friday Essay: Murray River Expedition

Today’s Photo Friday essay showcases Dave Cornthwaite’s source to sea walk and kayak along Australia’s Murray River. Here’s a little insight into the second of his 25×1000 mile journeys (find out about his first one here).

The Murray is as much an irrigation channel as a river, and dead River Gums are a telltale sign that a dam is just downstream. The trees were killed in the post-dam floods in the 1930’s.


This was my first journey on water, and it took a while to work out exactly how to get all of my stuff into the kayak!


Dusk was my favourite time, everything peaceful, kangaroos sipping from the lake, and the calm surface providing perfect conditions for the famous ‘Murray Mirror’


Of course, waking up on my own private beach every morning for two and a half months was quite pleasant…


There were surprises every day, who knew that emus could swim? (At first glance, I thought an obscenely large snake was lying in wait…)


Apparently, despite a heavy population of poisonous snakes in the Murray basin, even little birds don’t seem to mind them (I must say, though, that the skull made me think twice about getting closer to this Red Bellied Black snake)


As usual, by far the biggest danger on this journey was man. Drunken boat drivers terrorised the river one long weekend, one wakeboarder even tried to nick the camera off my kayak deck at 60kmph!


But it’s hard to hold anything against Australians. They have a brilliant way with words…


And they’ll do anything to make sure a pub is nearby…


The perfect birthday!


This was my Australian Christmas.


I paddled the Murray before the 2010 floods, when the river had been in drought for nine years.


The red cliffs of South Australia provided this backdrop for days.


And, naturally, it was far too hot in the middle of the day to paddle…


The journey was wrapped up on a lovely note. After 2479km of walking and kayaking, I was barely 100 metres from the mouth of the river when this chap came to say well done.


Find out more about Dave’s adventures at

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  1. Lucas Johnson Posted

    Awesome trip, mate – shame I didn’t here about it when you were down here in Oz.

  2. Sitting in my dull office dreaming of Murray Mirror moments. Jealous. Good on ya.

  3. Jane Rogers Posted

    How much were you in the wilderness on this trup – did you have to carry all of the food for the whole way? And how did you charge up your batteries for the cameras>?
    That final picture of the seal really made me smile. What a perfect end to the trip!
    Well done David



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