Gunbower Island

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May 21st 2015
Published: May 21st 2015
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The morning we leave Swan Hill for Cohuna begins with bacon and eggs while we listen to our slightly rowdy neighbours, a flock of corellas feeding just outside the caravan.

Cohuna is a town that we have driven through many times on our way to the Australian snowfields but we have never stopped for longer than a petrol fill. So this trip we decide to stay and have a look around for a couple of days, just to see what is here.

The Gunbower Island caravan park sounded promising and we are delighted with our site facing the wetlands of Gunbower Creek. Looking at the black swans and pelicans gliding past we wish that we had packed the kayak. We have a waterbird paradise right outside our door.

After setting up we decide to walk into town to explore. Cohuna is a medium sized country town that services the local farming and dairy community and obviously has a massive influx of visitors during the warmer months. The Visitor Centre is excellent and results in us taking the long way home via a walk along the edge of Gunbower Island.

Gunbower Island is Australia’s largest inland island, with the River Murray on one side and Gunbower Creek on the others. 80% of the island is Red Gum forest that is flooded by the Murray on a regular basis. The combination of Red Gum forest and wet lands makes this a world listed bird sanctuary.

The following day we decide to explore the island in our 4wd. The road into the forest is well marked and the forest is awesome, but suddenly we find that the scenic drive road is closed. Heading into a remote forest with clay roads after a few days of rain means you need to be careful and we debate our options. We eventually decide to follow what looks like a well used track but to be very careful of potential bogs. This turns out to be a good option and we spend a couple of hours exploring the forest tracks. Just as well that Greg has a good memory of tracks and a good sense of direction as there are no maps and it would be very easy to get lost as the tracks meander through the forest. There are many places to camp so this is a spot we would definitely like to visit again.

The Eastern end of Gunbower Island is quite a contrast as it is covered with irrigated dairy farms. Eventually we leave the island and look for a spot for lunch. One of the hotels in Cohuna catches our eye and turns out to be an excellent choice.

Gunbower Island is a spot we will definitely revisit.

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