Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published November 22nd 2014
See the Murray and Darling Rivers as they merge
When does a river not run to the sea? When it merges with another river. At Junction Island in Wentworth, around 20 minutes' drive from Mildura, the Darling and Murray Rivers join. They are Australia's two longest rivers and together are said to be the world's fourth largest river system. Our Mildura host tells us the waters are different colours and we set off to Wentworth to see this spectacle for ourselves.
The Darling River (left) and Murray River (right) joining at the tip of Junction Island
At the Wentworth Visitor Information Centre a photo shows the Darling in flood, a torrent of frothy brown water pouring into the Murray, a rare sight and not one for us, the waters are calm today. A friendly staff member marks Junction Park on a town map and we are on our way.
The viewing tower overlooking the confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers
Junction Park is in Cadell Street. It is a tidy grassed area in the shade of towering gums with a BBQ, picnic tables and a children's playground. We have barely left the car when we spy a kookaburra on a log fence. It flies to a nearby gum tree and perches quietly there, posing for our photos. A noisy minor lands on the grass nearby. A pair of Muscovy ducks are resting by the river bank. A skittish, purple swamp hen dashes past and a pelican soars low over the river.
A colourful sign declares, "You are at the junction of Australia's Two Greatest Rivers." We climb the viewing tower, a metal structure with a corkscrew staircase. I don't care much for heights but I make it to the top and the view is spectacular. The Darling is to the left of Junction Island, the Murray to the right. The different colour of the waters is noticeable for the looking. The Darling is a clay based river, its colour milky against the more vibrant Murray. Both Junction Island and the banks of the Murray across river are clothed in a forest of gums. If only we had brought binoculars. A pelican lands on a green buoy, sits there like a king on his throne.
A kookaburra at Junction Park poses patiently for our photos
Below us at the water's edge, dead tree trunks weathered to interesting shapes are fodder for our cameras. We hear the twitter of small birds in a patch of reeds but they are well camouflaged and we are not treated to a sighting. A house boat is moored upriver, a couple stroll through the park. This is indeed a tranquil place.
We top off the afternoon with a drive just 440 metres along Cadell Street to Loch 10 and the weir.
Wentworth is just over 30kms or twenty minutes from Mildura along the Silver City Highway. Junction Park is in Cadell Street, Wentworth. Details can be obtained from the Wentworth Visitor Information Centre at 66 Darling Street, Telephone: (03) 5027 5080 or at the Wentworth Visitor Information Website. The park has public toilets, an off-road car park, BBQ facilities, picnic tables, a children's playground, plenty of shade and a viewing tower. Entry is free.