Western Districts

Want to know where to go kayaking, canoeing, and stand up paddling in the Wimmera, Mallee, and South West districts of Victoria? These guides are free for Global Paddler members and yearly memberships are available now from the Global Paddler online store. To download a detailed trip description for a great paddling destination with photos, paddle map, GPS coordinates, and recommended places to eat, drink, and sleep, simply click on its name in the table below.

Trip Locator Map for Western Districts

1. Cohuna Cohuna is awesome because it has its very own paddling regatta where the winner gets to call themselves The Big Cohuna for a whole year. The town’s cows were also used to make high protein food for astronauts in the Apollo space program and we’re not just talking about Big Cohuna Burgers.
2. Gunbower Forest Gunbower Forest is home to a wide variety of native flora and fauna including the second largest river red gum population in Australia. It is a key part of an area that has been called the ‘Kakadu of the South’ and it won’t take long for you to appreciate why.
3. Nyah There’s no place like Nyah when it comes to good old fashioned Murray River hospitality. Who else can guarantee to have both the first female paddle steamer captain to ply these waters and an expert woodpile cutter on hand to wish you bon voyage every time you set sail from their shores?
4. Bumbang Island Bumbang Island is a lovely wildlife sanctuary and historical reserve embraced by the gently flowing waters of the Murray River at Robinvale. It holds precious middens and canoe trees so permission from its Koori owners is required before landing, but anyone can paddle around and peek inside.
5. Red Cliffs The stunning Murray River cliffs that inspired the name of this town are the reason that most tourists visit this area but those who stay a little longer also find two historic pumping stations, a billabong wildlife refuge, the biggest winery in the southern hemisphere, and two great places to paddle.
6. Mullaroo Creek Mullaroo Creek meanders through the middle of Lindsay Island in the Murray Sunset National Park in the remote north western corner of Victoria. It is a wonderfully secluded waterway that links the Murray River on the northern side of the island with its Lindsay River anabranch to the south.
7. Lake Wartook Nestled high among the densely wooded hills and magnificent sandstone landforms of the Grampians National Park, Lake Wartook is the oldest irrigation storage in Australia, an important water supply for 72,000 Victorians, and an incredibly scenic place to go for a paddle.
8. Rocklands Reservoir Rocklands Reservoir is a long and comparatively narrow lake in beautiful state forest on the western side of the Grampians. An excellent selection of campgrounds on its 400 kilometre long shoreline makes it a fantastic destination for a long weekend of paddling and camping.
9. Glenelg Bushland The verdant Lower Glenelg National Park bushland that cloaks this part of the Glenelg River is a rare and exciting potpourri of plant life in which typically western Australian flora blends with vegetation more characteristically seen in the eastern regions of the continent.
10. Glenelg Cliffs There are few paddling destinations in Australia that can rival the Glenelg River estuary for sheer visual splendour. Spectacular white cliffs decorated with striking splashes of orange and grey rise up to fifty metres high above the water waiting patiently for their daily time in the sun.
11. Glenelg Coast Major Thomas Livingstone Mitchell became the first European to float down this part of the Glenelg River when he was here in 1839 during his Australia Felix expedition. Ride his historical bow wave and you’ll find that nothing much has changed in more than 175 years.
12. Lake Bullen Merri Imagine yourself in a volcanic landscape where multiple eruptions have thrown huge amounts of rock and ash into the air and left behind vast circular craters in the surface of the scorched earth. Now fast forward 20,000 years and you might just find yourself on the shores of Lake Bullen Merri.
13. Yambuk Lake Yambuk Lake is a place that reminds you that the world in which we live is not one that is comfortable with being restrained by walls, fences, and double-glazed windows. It is refreshingly capricious and spirited, and at its best when allowed to run free.
14. Hopkins River See the City of Warrnambool in a new light with a captivating cruise on the heavenly Hopkins River. Discover 650,000 year old basalt lava flows, cliffs made of the same limestone as the Twelve Apostles, and the enigmatic Blue Hole created by the shifting sands of the Southern Ocean shore.
15. Princetown There is no doubt the reason most people visit Princetown is to meet the Australian rock stars that live just down the road at the Twelve Apostles. However, this is also where one of Victoria’s most ecologically healthy rivers hits the coast so you would be mad not to bring a paddle.
16. Aire River Set up camp among the koalas of the Great Otway National Park and launch onto the Aire River for an exploration of an alluvial basin that is described by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries as part of one of the major physiographic features of the Otway Ranges.
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