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  • Writer's pictureRiver Rambler

Ovens Odyssey Stage 1 - Tarrawingee to Wangaratta

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

The first stage of the Ovens Odyssey, to paddle the full length of the Ovens River, began on the 3rd February 2018.

The stats were:

- Tarrawingee (River Road) to Wangaratta (Frank Garth Reserve)

- 19.6km (Ch:111km to Ch:130.6km) (note Ch:111 = Chainage at 111 kilometres downstream of Harrietville)

- Time taken 4:18hrs, overall average 4.56km/hr

- 10 paddlers in 9 boats

Ten paddlers set off from the Ovens River Streamside Reserve Tarrawingee, on the southern bank just upstream of the River Road Bridge. Good access and entry point here. It should be noted that the first real exit point is 13km downstream at 'The Billabongs' just downstream of the Hume Freeway. Most of our paddlers exited at 'The Billabongs' while a few carried on into Wangaratta. Note that there are good entry/exit points from public land at The Billabongs (Ch:124), Yellow Creek (Ch:128) and Frank Garth Reserve (Ch:130.6).

This reach is characterised by a meandering, relatively large river channel with sandy inside bends and steep outside bends, mostly lined by River Red Gums, while the dominant adjacent landuse is cattle grazing.

Our colourful party of boats negotiated numerous snags and debris jams along the way with only two portages around impassable blockages. As with most of the lower Ovens, there is loads of instream wood in this reach, which is terrific habitat (notes on woody habitat to follow in future blog), but does require reasonable paddling skills to safely navigate your way through. No one fell in, well done team, and no fish were muscled during the journey, although limited time lure fishing was had.

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Justin Tilson
Justin Tilson

This is one of my favourite parts of the river. I did this section back in November 2017 but started at Pioneer Bridge paddling through to Frank Garth with a camp at Tarrawingee Reserve.

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