After more than 70 days of paddling, a South Coast local has successfully completed a once in a lifetime journey while raising money for a good cause along the way.
Paddling solo in a kayak more than 2,200 kilometres from Towong, East of Albury to Goolwa, at the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia, Tathra’s Mark Darby finished his Murray River Paddle around noon on Saturday (October 29).
The Bega Valley local told East Coast Radio the long journey was worth it to raise money for not-for-profit organisation, Trust For Nature, however it’s not something he’d rush off to do again.
“Glad that we did it and glad it’s finished in some ways,” Mr Darby said.
“It’s going to take a while to get out of river time and back into whatever normal lifetime day-to-day routine is,” he continued.
“It’s been an amazing paddle and an amazing journey it became part of a bit of a lifestyle from day-to-day experiencing the river and and the towns and people on it.”
The Bega Valley local raised over $8,000 for Trust For Nature during his paddle but he’s aiming to get over $10,000 and said the area needs support after the recent floods.
“Just feeling for the communities along the river that are looking at the high river levels coming down for the next couple of months,” Darby said.
“They’re a bit stressed in terms of incomes for businesses and capacity for accessing parks and normal things they do in terms of their tourism and leisure along the river.”
“We had a $10,000 target for Trust for Nature and their conservation work at Neds Corner Station which is the largest private nature conservancies in Australia and certainly the largest in Victoria, it’s a 30,000 hectare property on the Murray between Mildura and Renmark and we’re tipping over $8,000, so we’ve got some more work to do to get to that final $10,000 figure.”
Mark travelled with a fellow kayaker, Jeff Hanrohan from the Gold Coast who also wanted to make the trip.
Mark was inspired to take the journey after reading Slow River: A journey down the Murray by Bega Valley author and former Editor of the Bega District News, Steve Strevens.
“I would certainly recommend the trip, if you want to see a unique part of Australia in a unique way, it’s an amazing part of the country and a great way to see three different states.”
Find out more about Mark’s Murray River Paddle HERE.
Images: Mark Darby