Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

1-Dec-2004
   

We have followed the river south and stopped at Murray Bridge for a couple of nights. The vineyards have fizzled out and have been replaced by pastures, sheep and cattle. There are several paddle steamers and stern-wheelers still operating on the river and they look quit old.

Murray Paddle Steamer

This old paddle steamer is called the 'Marion' and was moored up at Mannum. I think their season starts around December as we didn't see any actually running.

The Murray River ends its long journey at Lake Alexandrina before flowing into the Southern Ocean. There are numerous wetlands around the lake with over 300 species of birds living there.

Pelicans and Black Swans breed in the wetlands (not together though!)

Pelicans and Swans at the Murray Mouth
Great EgretAustraian Magpie We saw Great Egrets and Sacred Ibis as well as loads of other birds. (I can recognise the swans but my ornithologist tells me about the rest.) The one on the right is a magpie that wanted to join us for tea the other evening. Well that's what he had in mind. They sound very different to the Maggie's in the UK; over here they have a very distinctive warbling sound.

The wetlands, and the bird breeding grounds, are being threatened because the opening that allows the Murray River to flow into the sea is sanding up and actually closed up a few years ago. To try and prevent this, the government is funding a project to pump sand from either side of the inlet to keep it open.

This picture was taken from Hindmarsh Island looking out through the Murray Mouth. You can just make out one of the sand dredgers on the top right.

The Mouth of the Murray