Be it solo, with a group, or in a tour, there’s no better place for a gentle canoe this summer than along the Murray River in Dwellingup.
The Murray flows from the Darling Ranges right through to the Peel Inlet and is one of the South-West’s largest scarp draining rivers. During the winter months, the river becomes an adrenalin junkie’s playground offering thrilling rapids and perfect conditions for advanced canoeing and white water rafting. But for those looking for a more laid-back canoeing adventure the summer months turn the raging river into a tranquil and gently flowing waterway perfect for families and beginners looking to give canoeing a try.
For those who are interested, Dwellingup is a great place to head. Located an hour and a half’s drive south east of Perth, Dwellingup is situated 7km from the Murray and is central to some of the best canoeing sections, swimming spots and riverside picnic areas and campsites. The town is also home to Dwellingup Adventures – one of most experienced outdoor adventure tour companies in the area and experts when it comes to canoeing the Murray.
Lane Pool Reserve, which is the name given to the forest area surrounding the Murray.
Dwellingup Adventures offer a range of options for people looking to canoe. If you’re simply after boat hire and some advice, the Hire and Go adventure is for you. The company has a good selection of one, two and three person canoes, and provide complimentary trailers for anyone hiring three or more. For those hiring less than three canoes, trailer hire is a very reasonable $14, or alternatively, Dwellingup Adventures provide foam pads that are thick enough for most people to transport their canoe down to the river without roof racks.
If you’re travelling with a large group, a canoe delivery service is also available. While you’re still free to explore the river on your own, for $25 Dwellingup Adventures will deliver the canoes to Bayden Powell Water Spout in the Lane Pool Reserve and will transport the boats back to the yard at the end of the day. Bayden Powell is extremely picturesque with relatively easy launching places making it the most family-friendly and popular canoeing destination. From here it’s recommended that you paddle upstream where the river tends to be deeper during the summer months. For those who are unsure where to go, complimentary river maps are available from Dwellingup Adventures. These highlight the best places to canoe along the river and all the picnic and camping locations. Most of the roads are good unsealed 2WD tracks.
All hire fees include your safety vest and paddles. On weekends it’s recommended that you make a booking, but otherwise you’re free to simply wander into the yard and hire a canoe if they’re available. No deposit is required and Dwellingup Adventures will hold your canoe without a bond. Two person rates start at $16 for three hours. There are also different rates for five hours, a full day and group bookings.
For those looking for a little more direction, you may like to investigate Dwellingup Adventure’s self guided supported tours. Here, your car is left at the end of the canoe tour and Dwellingup Adventures drive you upstream to the starting point where you’re free to paddle back at your own pace. The company are there at the end of the tour to meet you and pack up the gear leaving you to casually drive onto your next destination. The beauty of these tours is that you can do it at your own pace and in total privacy, but in the comfort of knowing that the company know where you are at all times. A full day tour covers 6km, full day tours cover 10km and overnight camping excursions cover 19km. If camping is more your style, there are basic camping provisions available for hire from Dwellingup Adventures, but you’re encouraged to bring all your own gear. Call Dwellingup CALM on 9538 1078 for more information on camping in the area.
Finally, there are fully supported canoe tours available from Dwellingup Adventures, but only on demand. Dependant on the size of the group, at least one fully qualified “river staff” will accompany you on your tour and anything from sausage sizzles through to fully catered overnight camping trips can be organised. Tours such as these are very personal, so while any requirement can be met costs and individual demands need to be discussed with the company prior to setting out. Currently, these tours are proving very popular with corporate and school groups.
With all tours, comfortable, casual clothing is recommended, as is soft closed in footwear and full sun protection. While much of the river is beautifully shaded, to cut the occasional glare off the river, polarised sunnies aren’t a bad idea either. For more information on canoeing in Dwellingup contact Dwellingup Adventures on 9538 1127 or visit dwellingupadventures.com.au.