Lock 1 & 2 on the Murray River

After leaving Waikerie we set off to check out Lock & Weir 2 on the northern side of the river. We had to cross the river on the Waikerie Ferry to get to the other side.

The Lockmaster at Lock 2 is to be congratulated for the beautiful grounds. They are a credit to him. He is obviously a gardener and has the most gorgeous roses in front of the lock house. I am always amazed at some people. There is a sign at the top near the entry to the carpark that says no caravans as there is a steep road down to the lock and not a lot of turning space. So we left our motorhome at the top and walked down. When we arrived at the bottom we found a car and caravan parked at the bottom. They were sitting in their chairs eating their breakfast. They’d obviously used the free BBQ but for heavens sake, can’t they read!! No caravans means no caravans.

Lock & Weir 2

Our next stop after Lock 2 was the lovely riverside town of Morgan.

We spent about an hour wandering around the Historic Port & Railway at Morgan where remnants of the wharf are still standing. Morgan was once an important inland port where goods were brought down the river and then loaded onto trains at Morgan. Ups to 8 trains a a day went to Adelaide carting tonnes of cargo each year. Historic Paddle Steamer Cannaly built in 1907 is moored up at the wharf and she is in the process of being restored so she can once again take passengers on the river. The Morgan Visitors Centre is house in the original Railway Station Masters home.

On the opposite bank are lots of lovely homes with green grass all the way to the water many with their own jetty’s. As it was Sunday there were quite a few ski boats in the water as well as a couple of jet skis buzzing around, fishing boats and kayaks. Morgan has a caravan park right on the riverside and along further is the houseboat mooring area.

We crossed the river on the Morgan Ferry and headed towards Lock 1 at Blanchetown. We stopped for a brief time at Pelican Point Lookout. What a spectacular view of the river from that vantage point. At Pelican Point the river below is on a huge bend with high sandstone cliffs on one side and low river flats on the other. Below on the opposite bank were rows of holiday shacks with their own jetties poking into the river. It is obviously a popular spot for water sports and there were a few boats towing skiers and kneeboarders as we watched.

Pelican Point

I can’t imagine what the early explorers thoughts were as they came across the river on their explorations. As you approach the river from up on top of the cliffs you are in mallee desert country. It’s very dry with Saltbush and scrubby mallee trees in sandy soil. Then all of a sudden you arrive at the steep cliffs and down below is the sparkling river. I’m sure they would have been amazed.

We stopped in the small town of Blanchetown where we crossed the river over a bridge. Away to the left we could see Lock & Weir No 1. After finding a spot to park we made our way down to the lock just in time to see it being used. As you approach the lock you come up against a pool fence that prevents anyone accessing the lock from above. As I passed the lockmaster I asked why they have these fences as they don’t have them in Europe. You can’t see a thing as you cant get close enough. He was very friendly and said I could come in at the gate but to stay away from the moving lock gates. Thanking him I was able to go inside the fence and look over the concrete barriers to the boats below. To my surprise I found there were 5 boats inside the lock waiting to go upstream. From outside the fence you could only see one boat. The friendly locky went along and made sure each boat was tethered properly with a crew member holding a rope and once he was satisfied they were all ready he released the water into the lock to raise the water level up. Once the water level was the same as upstream the gates opened and all the boats were able to motor out and head upstream.

We got chatting with a lady who was holding the rope on one boat. Their boat is just like our motorhome, just on the water. They sleep on board and have a shower and toilet. They were from Adelaide but they moor their boat at Murray Bridge and use it often to cruise the river. They asked about us and we pointed out our motorhome. When they found out we were heading to Goolwa the pilot stuck his head out and said to do a cruise when we get to Goolwa on the PS Oscar W. His cousin Dennis is the captain. We might just do that.


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