Marlo is a little town at the mouth of Australia’s legendary Snowy River. Its small human population, abundant wildlife, and gorgeous natural setting make it the perfect place for a quiet weekend of bird watching, fishing, and of course, paddling.
Snowy River, Brodribb River, Little Snowy River, Lake Corringle
15 kilometres / 4 hours
Beach, Marlo Coastal Reserve, Beach Road, Marlo
GPS: 37°47’47.9”S 148°31’42.8”E / -37.796639, 148.528556
Beach, Corringle Foreshore Reserve, Corringle Road, Corringle
Large car park
Open areas, tidal, light traffic, shallow areas
You would be hard-pressed to find many Australians who haven’t heard of the Snowy River. Banjo Paterson’s poem The Man from Snowy River is beloved and the waterway also lies at the heart of the Snowy Mountains Scheme which generates huge amounts of hydroelectricity for eastern Australia. The estuarine part of the Snowy River at Marlo looks a lot different than the Snowy River picture painted in most people’s minds, but it is a brilliant place to explore with a paddle in your hand.
The easiest place to get onto the river is the beach in front of the small park to the right of the boat ramp on Beach Road in Marlo. This saves you from getting caught up in the action on the boat ramp and it is also close to where the toilets are located.
This section of the Snowy River is tidal and shallow in many places. In order to maximise the amount of water available, the best time to launch is an hour and a half before high tide at Snowy River Mouth, as published on the WillyWeather website. There is also limited protection from the wind so it is preferable if the wind speed is less than 10 knots.
Once afloat, head to the right to go upstream, keeping to the right of First Island and Second Island along the way (see map). It is a good idea to stay relatively close to Second Island because there is a sandbar on the opposite side of the water. At low tide, fishing folk can be seen on the sand flats catching beach worms to use as bait.
Veer to the right at the end of Second Island and then keep right at the next two forks in the waterway to go into the Brodribb River. This part of Marlo is quite agricultural. There is a good chance you will meet more than a few cows and you might even get a friendly wave from a farmer.
The land on the left of the Brodribb River is an island that you are going to circumnavigate. Take the first turn left to go into the Little Snowy River and then go left again at the T-intersection. There is a submerged causeway just before the T-intersection so watch out for that on the way through.
You are now back on the Snowy River and heading towards the coast. When you reach Second Island, go to the right of it, then turn right, and then paddle past the right-hand side of Honeymoon Island to Lake Corringle. Incredible numbers of terns, plovers, pelicans, ibises, egrets, herons, darters, and black swans occupy the lake and it is definitely worth a closer look but the water is very shallow so take care not to become stranded when the tide runs out.
On the way back to Marlo from Lake Corringle, it is nice to refresh the scenery by keeping to the right of Honeymoon Island, Second Island, and First Island. Pretty paperbark trees and delicate saltmarshes inhabit the islands. You may also see the logs which have been placed near the islands to improve habitat for aquatic plants and fish. If too much paddling is never enough, a detour into The Slips (see map) is an excellent way to extend the day. This sheltered inlet is the location of the Corringle Foreshore Campground which is a fantastic place to stay if camping is your favoured form of accommodation.
Black bream, estuary perch, flounder, long-finned eel, luderick, mullet, mulloway, salmon, short-finned eel, trevally
The Marlo Hotel, 19 Argyle Parade, Marlo, (03) 5154 8201
Camping, Corringle Foreshore Campground, Corringle Road, Corringle
Marlo Caravan Park, 10 Argyle Parade, Marlo, (03) 5154 8226
While the river of life glides along smoothly, it remains the same river; only the landscape on either bank seems to change.Max Muller