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Kayaking on the Glenelg River

Home > Melbourne > Beaches | Boating | Camping | Views
by Andrew Burton (subscribe)
I am a Freelance Writer-Photographer and Novelist. I travel to find inspiration, wherever the distant horizons lead.
Published April 19th 2015
Limestone cliffs lining the Glenelg River, a hidden jewel
If you love nature, peace, quiet and tranquility, and if you are into distance sports, you can lose yourself in the constant rhythm of paddling and soon you will be in another world. The fabulous thing about outdoor sports is you can choose the scenery, and that for me outshines going to gym.

Kayaking can give you a new perspective, and when set against some of the most magnificent back-drops in Australia, you can create some wonderful lifelong memories. The landscape adds a wonderful dimension that can make you hunger for more. Those who love the total relaxed feeling of having worked until you are spent will love it. Regular sights across Victoria's waterways include sea eagles, cormorants, pelicans, corellas, black swans, and fish jumping near my boat. Along Tasmania's southern coast I have had seals swim past my kayak.

Wooden shelters, tables and pit toilets for kayakers only!
Camp site for kayakers only.

When it comes to a world class kayak venue that is not that widely known, just take a trip to Nelson, a hamlet town on the Victorian border. It is a long drive, being just short of Mount Gambier, but well worth it. Here you will find the stunning Glenelg River with towering limestone cliffs running for miles. For all your boating hire needs click here.

The river has over 30 kilometres of cliffs, and if you have enough cars and people, a car shuttle and paddle down stream over two to four days would be ideal. Of course, this all depends on fitness levels, and whether you have all the small light-weight camping gear to go with your kayak. There are a number of kayak-only camp sites that you can book and Pattersons has little wooden cabins, a bush toilet, wooden tables with bench seats, and a camp fire with cast iron grill plates.

The surrounding area includes Discovery Bay Coastal Park, Lower Glenelg National Park and Cobboboonee National Park.The National Parks Office & Information Service is run by helpful staff who can tell you everything you need to know about the area. They are situated beside the river in the Nelson township. To see what the area is all about click here. It would take a good week or two to explore the bulk of these areas. Another major attraction is the Princess Margaret Rose Caves, which are limestone caves ranking amongst Australia's finest. For more information click here.

Cliffs feature prominently; Glenelg River
Stunning scenery along the Glenelg River.

The cliffs are stunning and the river is wide with many quiet sections. Please note that there are areas assigned to water skiers, and kayakers must keep within 15 metres of the designated bank based on signage along the river bank. This creates a safety element not seen at most kayak venues shared with powered and unpowered craft.

The Nelson township and its Glenelg River frontage.
The Glenelg River flows through Nelson.

Nelson has good facilities with a service station, general store, and lovely old pub for meals too. Another option is to take a river cruise and sit back to watch the scenery flow past. To find out more click here.

The Glenelg River mouth, safe swimming.
The Glenelg River mouth adjacent the surf beach of Discovery Bay Coastal Park.

There is a safe haven for the kids to swim at the river mouth, as it empties into the ocean. It is shallow, and protected and there is plenty of room to spread out. Play equipment can be found near the bridge in the reserve as you enter the town.

Put Nelson and the Glenelg River on your to-do list if you want a sea-change and a quiet place not over-run with tourists.

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Why? Kayaking and canoeing.
When: Spring, summer and autumn.
Where: Glenelg River, Nelson, Victoria
Cost: Camping
Your Comment
Sounds like just the perfect place for kayaking. Thanks for the review.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4211) 2348 days ago
Have to agree. This is one of my favourite places to escape from the world. Have walked and camped and kayaked this beautiful river
by omaru (score: 0|2) 911 days ago
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