Moorook Game Reserve

                                

                                                  Reflections on the River Murray at Moorook.

UPDATE

Now costs $10 a night (per vehicle) to camp at Moorook Game Reserve).

 

There is something about camping beside the River Murray. 

Moorook Game Reserve, about 250 kilometres from Adelaide, is in the Riverland, not far from Barmera.  There is no entrance fee, but $11 a night is required to camp.  Payment is made via the self registration station on site.  I can't recall the exact amount of camp sites available within the reserve, but it's around 15.

All the sites are well separated and all offer plenty of shade.  All sites are on the riverbank.  Careful here because the banks are steep.  A close eye needs to be kept on the children.  The water is very deep, even close in, and if someone goes under, they can't be seen.  There are no facilities at all at any of the sites.  There is a store at Moorook though, and this is only a few kilometres up the road.

There are kangaroos aplenty and many different species of birds.  Butcher birds are common here.  Their haunting cry can be heard most mornings and evenings.  The Kookaburras are numerous and can be very noisy. A large lagoon within the park, Watchels Lagoon, ensures the presence of a variety of water fowl. 

The northern end of the reserve is dominated by swamp lands and creeks.  A boardwalk has been constructed over the wetlands so it's possible to actually walk through this swampy area.  Canoeing is popular here.

The deep water and steep banks offer good fishing for Callop.  It's a nice feeling to be fishing in the Murray and having a fair chance of catching something other than Carp.  Shrimps and worms seem to be the best baits, with shrimps often tempting the better size Callop.

The roads within the reserve are unsealed but are suitable for 2WD vehicles.  A short way in, past the first few camp sites, the road changes from gravel to the grey clay surface.  This is very, very slippery when it's wet.  I was heading back to my camp site during a downpour, travelling very slowly because of the roads.  Even at walking pace, as I negotiated a slight right hand bend, I slid off to the left.  My passenger side wheels became stuck in thick, grey mud.  The old 4WD didn't want to budge.  After about three hours of digging (and swearing), in the pouring rain, I managed to get out.  Wasn't much fun though.  The photo below shows the sky at dawn that morning.  I should have guessed it was going to rain.

Moorook Game Reserve at dawn.  It poured with rain later this same day.

Although Summer can be very hot, it is still not unbearable due to the shade on offer.  The flies might annoy you though, and if they don't the mossies will.  Winters here are relatively mild, so it's quite comfortable, especially with the camp fire going.  (Fires not allowed during Fire Danger Season - 1st of November until 30th of April).  You'll have to bring your own firewood.  Remember though that nights can be below freezing in Winter, so make sure you have a warm sleeping bag. 

Moorook Game Reserve is also open to hunting on certain days, although these are few and far between.  Please contact the Department of Environment and Heritage on the number on the River Murray home page for further details.