The Chowilla Floodplain (between Renmark in South Australia and Merbein in northwest Victoria) is one of the few sections of the Murray River not used for irrigation, thus preserving much of its natural character. Covering 17,700 hectares, the floodplain is an area of national significance because of its unique wetlands in a normally semi-arid environment. The icon site supports many threatened animals and native plants and is an important breeding site for native fish. The area attracts campers, fishers, birdwatchers and families.
Why is this place special?
The 17,000 hectare area of the Chowilla Floodplain covers the NSW, Victoria and South Australia. It is one of the few sections of the Murray River not used for irrigation, thus preserving much of its natural character. The floodplain is an area of national significance because of its unique wetlands in a normally semi-arid environment. The site supports many threatened animals and native plants and is an important breeding site for native fish.
The Lindsay-Walpolla-Mulcra Island area in far northwest Victoria covers almost 20,000 hectares. The forests, floodplains and wetlands, bordered by the Murray River, support many threatened plants and animals as well as several native fish species.
Native fish are common throughout the region’s waterways but a number are listed as threatened. The floodplains and wetlands are major breeding grounds for some native fish, particularly Murray cod and Yellow belly.
Recently constructed fishways on weirs between Mildura (VIC) and Renmark (SA) now allow native fish species to move upstream for the first time in nearly 80 years.
How to get there
In South Australia, the Chowilla Floodplain can be accessed by the Wentworth Road, about 40kms east of Renmark.
Because of the large amount of works being undertaken, it is recommended at the moment that school excursions to the Chowilla Floodplain in South Australia be undertaken in consultation with staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service in Berri.
It is recommended at the moment that school excursions to the Lindsay-Walpolla-Mulcra Island area in Victoria only be undertaken in consultation with staff from Parks Victoria. There are very limited facilities in the area and a tour would need to be carefully managed.
There are limited facilities on the Chowilla Floodplain. Visitors will need to carry their own maps, water and food. Access is not easy as signs are few and the quality of tracks can vary, especially after wet weather. School groups can be catered for in Renmark or on a nearby property – visit the chowilla.com website.
Excursion organisers must take full OH&S responsibility for all acticities. MDBA will not be held responsible for any visits to icon sites as they are National Parks.
For information when visiting the Chowilla Floodplain in South Australia and looking at The Living Murray program, please contact:
- National Parks and Wildlife Service, Berri – 08 8595 2111
- Environmental Water Management Team, Department for Water (SA) – 08 8595 2053
For information on the Lindsay-Walpolla-Mulcra Islands section in Victoria and looking at The Living Murray program, please contact:
- Mallee Catchment Management Authority – phone 03 5022 3041
For assistance to arrange an excursion to the Lindsay-Walpolla-Mulcra Island area in Victoria, please contact:
- Parks Victoria – phone 131 963
The Living Murray
The Living Murray environmental watering program is aiming to maintain and restore healthy floodplain communities.
- For more information, see The Living Murray material on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s website – www.mdba.gov.au/programs/tlm/icon_sites/chowilla_floodplain
- The Living Murray program can also be contacted at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on 02 6279 0100 or via the enquiries form at www.mdba.gov.au/contact