Travelling Australia - Journal 2015c




5 July 2015
Wentworth, Darling River


Today we had booked two places on a barbeque lunch cruise from Wentworth on the Darling River. Weather was bright and sunny, pleasant but with a cold wind spoiling the apparent pleasant day. We drove to Wentworth and parked near Wentworth wharf where the boat was waiting. The barbeque was already cooking our lunch.

cruise boat

Cruise boat alongside Wentworth wharf.

The boat sailed a few minutes after 12:30 initially heading down the Darling River to the junction with the Murray River then turning upstream for a short way to look at some dead trees being used by pelicans, cormorants and darters for roosting. Then we returned to the Darling River and headed upstream past Wentworth, under the road bridge, then further upstream. The Darling River has stopped flowing because of insufficient rainfall and the water level in the part of the river we were on is maintained by Weir 10 across the Murray River near Wentworth so the water is not flowing and there are no currents to complicate boat handling.

Wentworth's residential area stretches along the Darling River upstream from the road bridge (where the Silver City Highway crosses the Darling River). There were several attractive-looking properties set in lawns running down to the river bank, often with a substantial houseboat moored at the bottom of the garden. Although the question of flood levels is always relevant when looking at river-front properties.

Eventually we reached the end of the residential areas (speed limit is 4 knots, less than 10 kilometres an hour, so it takes along time to get anywhere) and were then travelling along a typical Australian outback river with River Red Gums lining the bank with an understory of bluebush and saltbush. Pelicans were prominent in trees along the bank as well as drifting on the river surface.

We continued up the Darling River for five or six kilometres. The western side of the river was predominantly a sheep station and many sheep were grazing in the scrub along the bank. The sheep took no notice of the boat; one drinking from the river with her lamb beside her was so unconcerned that she did not even raise her head as we passed. Yet those same sheep run from a motor vehicle on a road going past them.

5 July 2015 - Wentworth & Darling River, page 2


Tip of the island between the Darling River (on the left) and the Murray River. The green buoy is part of a group of buoys marking shallow water.

river bank

Bank of the Darling River north of Wentworth.


Pelican watching us go past. Many Pelicans were in trees or on stumps (like this one), others were swimming/drifting in the river.

5 July 2015 - Wentworth & Darling River, page 3


Sheep taking a drink from the Darling River; her lamb is behind her. She was entirely unconcerned at our passage and didn't pause in drinking while we passed.

road bridge

Road bridge carrying the Silver City Highway over the Darling River at Wentworth. There is a central lifting span so high vessels can pass under the bridge but our cruise boat had a lowering mechanism on the upper deckhead so it could fit under the bridge.