Peter and Jamie headed down this 15km reach of lower Ovens River from Wilsons Bend to Peechelba. This stage, and the remaining length of river down to the Murray River, is a declared Heritage River and also part of the Warby Ovens National Park.
What can we say about this stage:
- Access is very easy at the Peechelba/downstream end off Frost Road. Wilsons Bend is accessed across the floodplain via Francis Lane and Wilsons Track, however, this track should only be used in dry conditions.
- This stage is entirely within the Warby Ovens National Park and the Heritage River section of the Ovens River.
- The river within this stage generally stays close to the right hand side of the floodplain (see map below), with broad native forest/woodland to the west and cleared farming land on the higher plains to the east.
- The native vegetation is dominated by River Red Gums, Silver Wattle, River Bottlebrush and some Melaleuca. The ground layer vegetation is mostly native in many areas with Common Tussock Grass (Poa labillardierei) dominating.
- Woody weeds were scarce long the banks, really encouraging to see! A few Black Willows were seen throughout and a couple of Box Elder near Peechelba. But overall, this reach was really clean, well done ParksVic and NECMA.
- Notable fauna observed in this reach included a Red-bellied Black Snake which swam across the river between paddlers (see video), two Red Foxes (pest species, Vulpes vulpes), a large number of Nankeen Night Herons as well as Azure Kingfishers and Rainbow Bee-eaters.
Click this Video link to see some of Stage 9
The stats were:
- The 9th stage of the Ovens Odyssey was paddled on the 23rd February 2019
- 15 km (Ch:159.7 to Ch:174.7) (note Ch:174.7 = Chainage 174.7 river kilometres downstream from Harrietville Ch:00)
- Time taken 6:45 hrs (a lot of time spent fishing during this stage, without luck!)
- River Gauge Heights - Wangaratta 7.78, Peechelba 126.11
- 2 paddlers (Jamie & Pete) 2 kayaks