Sunrise at Balonne River

Lower Lachlan

Key Waypoints and Information

The main section of the river is below Cowra. This starts off in the lower inland slopes of the Great Dividing Range but is mostly on the flat expansive alluvial plains of the South West Slopes and Riverina regions that provide fertile agricultural land for many farms.

Key Waypoints

  • 253 km(0 km)


    Distance between locations 253 km Elevation 285 m Slope 1.57‰
    Coordinates 33° 50' 3.5" S, 148° 41' 3.1" E
    Population 9,800 Supermarket(s) Climate
    Gauge: Cowra, BOM; WaterNSW
    Flood: minor: 8.5 m, moderate: 10.7 m, major: 13.4 m
    Flow: no flow: 0.91 m, recommended: 1.2 m to 1.6 m plus

    Flowing river

    On a good flow this section has high banks lined with river gums with a similar feel to areas on the upper Murrumbigie but with more farms. Being a narrower river, you do have to take more care with the willow trees as you head down. It should be good in almost any flow.

    There is an extremely detailed guide for this section by Steve Howard on Waterways Guide.

    I started with a 5.5 kph flow assist for the first 150 km that slowed to about 3 to 4 kph assist around Forbes.

    14 Jan - Corwa
    3.9 m / 8,200 ML/day; Minor flood is 8.5 m
    16 Jan - Forbes
    2.5 m / 11,300 ML/day; Minor flood is 3.5 m
  • 313 km(60 km)


    Distance between locations 59.7 km Elevation 264 m Slope 0.35‰
    Coordinates 33° 36' 22.7" S, 148° 25' 55.2" E
    Population 300 General Store
    Gauge: Nanami, WaterNSW
    Flow: no flow: 0.1 m, recommended: 0.45 m to 1.07 m plus

    Log jams in the river Google Street View

  • 416 km(162 km)


    Distance between locations 102.5 km Elevation 237 m Slope 0.26‰
    Coordinates 33° 24' 8.3" S, 148° 1' 11.3" E Date Lachlan Valley Way
    Population 8,400 Supermarket(s) Climate
    Gauge: Cottons Weir, BOM; WaterNSW
    Flood: minor: 3.5 m, moderate: 5.3 m, major: 6.6 m
    Flow: no flow: 0 m, recommended: 0.36 m to 0.63 m plus

    Slow river Google Street View

    There are two main divides in the river at Island and Bumbuggan creeks.

    Island Creek

    Taking Island Ck is 52.4 km, while staying fully on the Lachlan River is 70.1 km to the point they rejoin.

    Taking Island Ck to Condobolin is 101.1 km, which compares to 74.3 km if you stayed on the Lachlan but followed the flow down Bumbuggan Ck to Condobolin.

    As most flow stays with the Lachlan, I would not recommend taking Island Ck.

    Bumbuggan & Goobang Creeks

    Bumbuggan Ck flows into Goobang Creek and rejoins the Lachlan River in Condobolin. The majority of the flow goes into Bumbuggan Ck and you could easily miss where the Lachlan diverges if you are not paying attention to a map.

    The combined 65.3 km for the Bumbuggan (11.3 km) and Goobang (54 km) creeks to Condobolin is 4.8 km shorter than staying on the Lachlan River (70.1 km).

    I would highly recommend taking Bumbuggan Ck and to follow the flow down to Condobolin.

  • 631 km(378 km)


    Distance between locations 215.4 km Elevation 186 m Slope 0.24‰
    Coordinates 33° 5' 29.4" S, 147° 8' 49.6" E Date The Gipps Way
    Population 3,500 Supermarket(s) Climate
    Gauge: West Condobolin Weir, BOM; WaterNSW
    Flood: minor: 5.2 m, moderate: 5.9 m, major: 6.7 m
    Flow: no flow: 1.35 m, recommended: 1.5 m to 1.8 m plus
  • 763 km(509 km)


    Distance between locations 131.7 km Elevation 158 m Slope 0.21‰
    Coordinates 33° 6' 43.2" S, 146° 28' 34.3" E Date Lachlan Valley Way
    Population 200

    No stores?

    Slow river Google Street View

  • 1,038 km(785 km)


    Distance between locations 275.5 km Elevation 121 m Slope 0.13‰
    Coordinates 33° 29' 0.2" S, 145° 32' 1.7" E Date Swing Bridge
    Population 1,450 Supermarket(s) Climate
    Gauge: Hillston Weir, BOM; WaterNSW
    Flood: minor: 2.4 m, moderate: 2.8 m, major: 3 m
    Flow: no flow: 0.09 m, recommended: 0.49 m to 0.9 m plus

    The river divides at Torriganny Creek (41.9 km) that rejoins the Lachlan 51.7 km downstream above Booligal. More flow seems to go this way, but there are two irragation offtakes and two distributaries on Torriganny Creek that could take significant amounts of the water out of the system. I would advice scouting out the flow along the creek before paddling this.

  • 1,240 km(987 km)


    Distance between locations 201.9 km Elevation 93 m Slope 0.14‰
    Coordinates 33° 51' 44.6" S, 144° 53' 7.1" E Date Cobb Hwy
    Population 100
    Gauge: Booligal Weir, BOM; WaterNSW
    Flood: minor: 2.4 m
    Flow: no flow: 0.16 m, recommended: 0.51 m to 0.75 m plus

    Hotel and maybe a general store.

    Slow river Google Street View

  • 1,494 km(1,241 km)


    Distance between locations 253.8 km Elevation 73 m Slope 0.08‰
    Coordinates 34° 11' 51.0" S, 144° 6' 38.2" E Date Oxley Rd Crossing
    Population 160
    Gauge: 4 Mile, WaterNSW
    Flow: no flow: 0.08 m, recommended: 0.83 m to 2.02 m plus

    Old building standing in a field

    No stores or facilities other than the Telstra payphone hidden at the end of Cunningham Street. The 4 Mile gauge is about 15 km upstream.

    Slow creek

  • Great Cumbungi Swamp

    Distance between locations 253.8 km Slope ‰‰
    Coordinates 34° 16' 34.3" S, 143° 59' 53.5" E
    Gauge: End of System, WaterNSW
    Gauge: SW Floodplain Levee at Wetspot, WaterNSW

    Slow creek

    Good flows will make it into the Great Cumbungi Swamp, but only large floods make it to the Murrumbidgee River.

    The "End of System" gauge is in the main channel of the river within the heart of the swamp. I traversed past this at 0.8 m where the level within the swamp was great, but water was very low leaving the swamp at this height. I believe that the "SW Floodplain Levee at Wetspot" guage is behind the levee in the channel that is chocked with reeds. At 0.35 m there was a slight flow from the swamp into the Lachlan and this guage may be an indication for this.

    Small stream

    As you near the end, the natural river course is blocked by multiple levees and channels. The following diagram shows the course I took. The original natural river course is in red, my track is in orange and the channels and / or levees are in blue.


    Portages around reedy sections become common around the 16 km marker and impassible well before the 15 km marker. By share luck, cutting across towards the meandering curve at marker 15 directed me right to the start of the road along the levee.

    I would estimate that I had about 500 m where I was dragging my kayak through vegetation while in ankle to knee high water. Once I was on the road, I had 2 km portage along dirt roads to where I was able to rejoined the Lachlan. The river was not flowing here until it meet another stream that had managed to bypass the levee.

  • 1,547 km(1,294 km)

    Murrumbidgee River

    Distance between locations 53.3 km Elevation 67 m Slope 0.11‰
    Coordinates 34° 21' 18.0" S, 143° 57' 1.8" E

    As noted, this only flows during larger flood conditions. It is 131 km from Balranald, 235 km from the Murray.

    Log Jam in creek