Murtho Forest

 

Murtho Forest is a lovely little spot right on the banks of the Murray River.    The area is also known as Headings Cliff.

It's situated along the Paringa-Murtho Road, about 15 or so kilometres north east of Renmark.  (Renmark is about 230 k's from Adelaide - roughly).  It's easy to find - head to Renmark and turn right towards Paringa.  Cross the Paringa bridge, enter the township of.......Paringa and almost immediately you'll see a sign "Murtho" indicating left.  Keep following this road and you'll see a sign "Murtho Forest" on the left.  A sealed road leads to the entrance of the reserve and then it's a reasonably well maintained dirt road down the hill and into the reserve proper.

Above photo shows the entrance to the reserve

This lookout is located just outside the entrance and........

..this is the view from the top of the lookout.  (The view is as good the other way too - imagine these photos in good light).

This area is a narrow plain with the orange/red sandhills to the east and the river to the west.  The tracks in the area vary from soft sand to the dreaded grey clay.  Needless to say, when it's wet, the grey stuff is horribly slippery - like driving on ice.  When it's dry, it would be no problem for a conventional vehicle to get a caravan or camper trailer to a suitable site.  Be mindful that the hill on the way out is fairly steep (dirt road), so make sure your vehicle has a bit of grunt to haul the caravan out again.

The vegetation here is more abundant than at some other places, which provides shade at all sites.  There are numerous places to camp right at the rivers edge.  The spot reminds me a little of Ramco Point, although the banks are not quite as steep.  However, the water is still quite deep close in.  All sites are typical Murray Floodplain consistency, so pegging is easy and secure.  The sites are not marked, but they are obvious.  They vary in size, but all are close to the track that takes vehicles in and out.  I don't think this will be an issue though, as there are tracks all over the place and it is not possible to go too fast due the bumpy nature of the tracks and the numerous twists and turns.

 One of the larger sites.  Nice and flat with plenty of shade.

Fishing is quite good along this stretch as there are snags and reed beds surrounded by deep water.  Callop, or Golden Perch, are not too hard to find at the right time of year.  Of course, a few carp will always show up.  When river levels are falling in the latter part of Summer, yabbies are a possibility, sometimes in good numbers.

There is a boat ramp here and launching a canoe from the bank at any of the sites should be easy enough.  All sites that I saw offer some degree of access to clear water.

The boat ramp.  That's algae in the water.  Easy enough to get through and not present at all times anyway.

Camp fires are allowed outside of Fire Danger Season.   Dogs are allowed too - any season.  There is no self registration station here, so please call the Renmark Visitor Information Centre on (08) 8586 6704 to enquire about camping fees.

This spot can really be visited at all times of the year.  There is plenty of shade for the warmer months and the cooler months are generally quite mild - except for those crisp, clear nights when the temperature dives below zero.  Minus 4 is not uncommon.  Make sure you have good quality, warm bedding if visiting in winter.  Insect repellant is a must for summer.  (And don't visit when I do 'cos it'll rain - always does when I travel to Murtho Forest). 

In terms of wildlife, birds are ever present - pelicans, cormorants, rosellas, ringnecks, fairy-wrens etc etc.  Kangaroos are never far away and, in the warmer months, neither are snakes.  Maybe the varying types of vegetation and the different soils have something to do with it, but snakes certainly seem to be more numerous here than other Riverland Parks.

Although it's a bit further from Adelaide than other areas, Murtho Forest Reserve is a unique spot and provides excellent camping opportunities. 

Another camping spot and, below, the track in.