Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published November 27th 2014
Wentworth, a tiny town that's tops for tourism
Rivers always end in the sea. So I thought until our Mildura host told us of the confluence of the Murray and Darling. A spare afternoon turns into a trip to Wentworth to see this wonder for ourselves.
We travel around 30 kms from Mildura to Wentworth. Vineyards flank the roads. This is Sunraysia, sultana country. Between Yelta and Curlwaa we drive over the Abbotsford Bridge, the only steel Allan truss-type bridge with a lift span to cross the Murray.
The Crown Hotel was recommended and we seek it out, a quaint corner pub in the main street. We buy the lunch specials, two hearty meals and coffees for only $24 (July 2014). What a bargain, the meals are delicious.
At the 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 today. Time dictates our first stop, the PS Ruby, a 1907 side-wheeled paddle steamer moored alongside Fotherby Park and undergoing restoration by volunteers. Visitors are welcome while the volunteers are on board and although entry is free, donations help fund the work.
The PS Ruby being renovated by a small arny of volunteers
From Darling Street, we cross a road bridge over the Darling River. From the bridge we look down on a dartner sunning itself, wings outstretched. Families picnic by the river. House boats are moored at the bank. We are fortunate to see the bridge being raised and my husband chats technology with a maintenance crew.
Raising the bridge accross the Darling in Wentworth
A quick walk back to the main street and Riverboat Rod's Model Paddle Steamer Display. For a gold coin donation we view almost 30 models. Rod has been building these for 40 years. Each is minutely detailed and authentically reproduced, right down to cargoes of wool bales and tiny logs stacked on the decks.
Some of the models and memorabelia at Riverboat Rod's Model Paddle Steamer Display
Now a short drive to our last stop, Junction Park and the rivers we came to see. We spy a kookaburra, perched on a tree branch, posing for photos. A colourful sign announces "You are at the junction of Australia's Two Greatest Rivers." We climb the viewing tower and look over the Murray and Darling Rivers merging at Junction Island. The rivers are calm today but the different colour of the waters is noticeable for the looking.
The merging of the Darling (left) and Murray (right) at the tip of Junction Island
Hi Gayle what a great article. Lots of interesting information. I am fascinated by water and love the rivers and oceans of Australia. I found the information about the model paddle steamers very interesting. And you said your husband makes model boats? What a great hobby. He must be very patient. Thanks Gayle great article. It's on my list of things to do.