Calm waters pre-dawn on Lake Alexandrina


Best time of year to tackle the journey

They say, timing is everything. But then they say, there is never a perfect time for anything.

Anthony Liccione

Mt Kosciuszko

Hill covered in snow

The standard hiking season is roughly from mid-November to the end of April. Remember to check with both the NSW and VIC park pages for status and closures.

The Thredbo resort site will only list the trek to Mt Kosciuszko as open when there is minimal risk to the average walker. It is likely to be safely traversed by experienced hikers much earlier, in fact any time of the year with snow shoes and navigation tools. Up to 4 m of snow could be covering the track.

My trip was unnecessarily delayed waiting for this to change, but with hindsight while the increased flows would have assisted me, these were likely still too low for a pleasant trip, and I would have been caught out with the late snow sometime in my trip that is pictured here.

Murray River

These refer to the sections above or below Bringenbrong Bridge.

Upper Murray River

Barely running river

The upper section has the higher flows August to October, but that will also mean much colder water and more variable weather. I roughly estimate that you would want a water level of at least 0.5 m at Biggara, and historically this is normally seen in November and December. Leaving your trip till mid-Dec or later will significantly increase the chances of a low flow.

The sweet spot is likely at the start of December where the temperature starts to rise, but historically still above my calculated minimum if you are traveling light, but maybe consider a late Octomber start through to November if you're considering a full source to sea trip and you are wanting to catch the end of the spring flow relases.

Lower Murray River


When I first planned my trip on the Murray River, I was advised it was best to travel during summer due to the water release for irrigation. However, after looking at the historical data, I found that the peak in flows occurs throughout spring and summer, gradually tapering off into early winter. This means that you can enjoy both the high flows and cooler spring months. Unlike other inland rivers, the flow is generally okay all year round, so you have the luxury of doing this trip almost any time that you choose to.

But there are a few other things to consider when choosing the best time to travel. The first is the weather. Inland Australia can get very hot in summer and very cold in winter, so many people find spring or autumn more pleasant. You can refer to the climate pages for a detailed rundown of what to expect.

The second factor is the human factor. Summer is the peak holiday season, so the lakes and weirs can get very crowded, especially around Echuca, Torrumbarry Weir, Robinvale, and many of the South Australia holiday towns. It's also the peak houseboat season, and it can be difficult to find a decent spot without cramping up with other campers. On the other hand, during winter, the river can be deserted, which can be both a positive and negative thing. I have done the river in winter and never had a full day without seeing somebody, but it can feel isolated at times.

Considering all these factors, spring is likely the best season to travel, but if you want to do a single source to sea trip, early summer would be the optimal time to ensure you get the optimal conditions along all sections of the river.