Ovens Odyssey Stage 2 - Wangaratta to Warby Range Road
Updated: Jan 5
The second stage of the Ovens Odyssey was paddled on the 29th December 2018.
The stats were:
- Wangaratta (Frank Garth Reserve) to the northern end of Warby Range Road
- 22.4 km (Ch:130.6 to Ch:153) (note Ch:153 = Chainage 153 river kilometres downstream from Harrietville Ch:00)
- Time taken 5:10 hrs, overall average 4.34 km/hr
- River Height - Wangaratta Gauge 8.05m and steady (falling very slowly)
- 3 paddlers (Jamie, Pete and Megs) in 3 boats
Jamie, Pete and Megs set out from Frank Garth Reserve at 7:30am, it was going to be a hot day. Frank Garth Reserve is located on the right bank of the Ovens River (the convention for left and right bank is when looking downstream) in the middle of Wangaratta, immediately upstream of the main road bridge crossing (old Hume Highway/Parfit Road). Access is very easy as you can drive into the reserve and enter the water from a sandy inside bend beach. This sandy beach is located at the confluence of the King and Ovens Rivers. If you look to the opposite bank you can see where the King River finishes its journey and hands over its precious water to the Ovens River, having flowed from its headwaters well to the south under Mt Cobbler.
The journey took a bit longer than anticipated due to the low water and abundance of snags (instream large wood) to negotiate. Despite the number and complexity of snags, we were not forced to portage, other than at the weir in Wangaratta, less than 1km downstream from Frank Garth Reserve. There is no public access to the river once you leave the Wangaratta urban areas, that is beyond Cambridge Drive/Estate around Ch:137km. It is expected that passage down this reach would be more difficult and slower under lower flow rates (i.e. lower than 8.05m at Wangaratta) due to the exposure of more snags.
The adjacent landuse is variable within this stage, from urban development, urban park, riparian reserve to grazed farmland. Regardless of the adjacent landuse, River Red Gums line most banks with River Bottle Brush also common. Woody weeds are also obvious throughout this reach with seeding Plane Trees, Black Willow and Box Elder the main culprits.