Other things about the Murray River and surrounding area
Water is a very good servant, but it is a cruel master.
There has been a series of weirs and dams built on the Murray River to ensure boat navigation and secure water supplies within the basin. Barrages were also built across the entrance of Lake Alexandrina. All of the weirs on the lower sections and two of the barrages (Goolwa and Tauwitchere) have locks that allow boats to travel up and down the river. Hume Dam and Yarrawonga Weir do not have locks and portages are required.
I have compiled key information about each lock along with some other useful information in the table at the bottom on this page. Lock opening hours and operator numbers can be found on signage located near the locks with the exception of the Tauwitchere Barrage Lock that is self-operated.
Updated information for SA maintained locks and the barrages can be found on the SA Water website or by calling the SA Water Berri office on 08 8595 2222. General enquiries for the rest can be done by calling the respective Lock Masters for each lock or NSW Water on 1300 662 077.
Portage for the dam is up the public boat ramp prior to both the caravan park and the dam. It is a long portage, nearly 2 km up and over the hill at Lake Hume Village and down Trout Farm Road to the park at the bottom of the hill.
Expect to take up to an hour for the portage depending on your setup. Trolleys are recommended if you can't organise anyone to give you a lift!
This is the second of the two portages on the Murray River, 700 m. From here you will have locks on all weirs.
The portage is on the left, on the Yarrawonga (VIC) side. Follow the road around and across the train tracks / channel and keep going straight into the Yarrawonga Caravan Park. A public boat ramp can be found just past the camp office. Considering the length of this portage, a trolley or a pre-organised lift are recommended!
All of the lower weirs have locks, and you can access these during operating hours for 364 days a year, closing only for Christmas. There is no charge for accessing the locks during operating hours.
At Mildura, they use a formal schedule of down on the hour and up on the half hour. Other weirs are much less busy and you can call though on your mobile once you get close and you usually will be let down without any significant delay. Three prolonged blasts (4 seconds each) on a whistle or horn can be used if you can not ring the Lock Master.
The general procedure for all locks are to:
On the Telstra network in 2020, the only lock where I couldn't call on my mobile was lock 8 but the Lock Master saw me coming and let me through.
Barrages at the river mouth prevent an influx of salt water into Lake Alexandrina. There are a number of barrages, but only two locks are present and operational.
Goolwa Barrage is similar to all of the other weirs on the river, with a Lock Master letting you down.
Tauwitchere Barrage has a lock that is self-operated, thus open 24 hours.
|Hume Dam||42 m||Required, see notes above||212 km||71 m||0.33‰|
|Yarrawonga||8.0 m||Required, see notes above||218 km||30 m||0.14‰|
|Torrumbarry||6.2 m||26||03 5487 2900||8:00-12:00
|Left? Via Torrumbarry Weir Road.||348 km||32 m||0.09‰|
|Euston||5.0 m||15||03 5026 4005||8:00-12:00
|Right, steep bank downstream||480 km||34 m||0.06‰|
|Mildura||3.7 m||11||03 5023 1396||8:00-12:00
|Left? Through the park or a much longer way along the road.||218 km||10 m||0.04‰|
|Wentworth||3.4 m||10||03 5027 3190||8:00-12:00
|Right? Steep rocky bank.||54 km||0.3 m||0.01‰|
|Kulnine||2.8 m||9||03 5028 2235||8:00-11:30
|Left?||61 km||0.4 m||0.01‰|
|Wangumma||2.5 m||8||03 5027 8231||8:00-11:30
|Unknown||39 km||0.3 m||0.01‰|
|Rufus River||2.8 m||7||03 5027 8225||8:00-11:30
|Right? Exit back to Murray or Rufus rivers.||29 km||0 m||0.00‰|
|Murtho||2.9 m||6||08 8595 8025||8:00-11:30
|Unknown||77 km||0 m||0.00‰|
|Renmark||3.1 m||5||08 8595 5114||8:00-11:30
|Left? Possible long portage along Lock 5 Road.||57 km||0 m||0.00‰|
|Bookpurnong||3.4 m||4||08 8582 1388||8:00-11:30
|Unknown||46 km||0 m||0.00‰|
|Overland Corner||3.7 m||3||08 8588 7005||8:00-11:30
|Unknown||85 km||0 m||0.00‰|
|Waikerie||2.8 m||2||08 8543 2246||8:00-11:30
|Unknown||69 km||0 m||0.00‰|
|Blanchetown||2.5 m||1||08 8540 5001||8:00-11:30
|Right? Along The Parade to below lock.||88 km||0 m||0.00‰|
|Goolwa||Lock||0408 813 729||8:00-12:30
|Right, 750 m. Boat ramp in the complex has a path leading to the road (upstream) and around the fenced lock complex.|
|Tauwitchere||Lock||n/a||24 hrs||Left has a short rock wall. Right has ramps. Lock is self-operated|