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The Campfire Is Calling You To The Gannawarra This Winter

13 May 2024

The campfire is calling you to the Gannawarra this winter

Mother Nature has sprinkled her wondrous touch around every corner of the Gannawarra region this winter, painting the perfect backdrop for a forest camping getaway with friends and family.

Who doesn’t love a secluded campsite, sitting around a roaring campfire, under a blanket of stars, where all you need to worry about is what time you put the roast in the camp oven? Or whether anyone remembered to bring the marshmallows?

Discover Nature’s Magic At Gunbower Island

Gunbower Island is a magical place of nature, and the beating heart of the Murray River and Gunbower Creek waterways. It’s also your ticket to slow and chill this winter and is easily accessible from both Cohuna and Koondrook. Discovering this hidden gem of the Murray River region is a MUST when planning your visit, with options to follow the Spences Bridge Forest Drive or River Track, both stunning and leisurely half-day drives through Gunbower National Park and State Forest taking you from Cohuna to Koondrook.

This 26,500 hectare flood plain is internationally recognised as a wetland of significance, is the largest inland island in Australia, and also home to local birdlife, native animals and amphibians. Magnificent river red gums cover 80 percent of this stunning drive, which offers endless exploring and countless opportunities for photos along the way. There is also an abundance of perfect picnic stops, so don’t forget to pack the basket full of local produce.

Importantly, this beautiful drive links a number of historical, cultural and ecological sites, for which you can access a map and route explanatory notes from the Gateway to the Gannawarra Visitor Centre in Cohuna. This centre is also the go-to location for information about road access and forest conditions. The forest is treated to environmental watering from time to time, which can impact vehicle access along the track, so always check before you head off on your adventure.

Find Your Slow, Off The Beaten Track

During your travels, don’t miss the Guttrum State Forest, located between Koondrook and Murrabit. This magical little camping ground, known as the Billabong Tracking camping area, is well and truly off the beaten track, right on the Murray River and surrounded by towering river red gums. This is a place where time almost slows to a stop. Once again, always check track conditions before you travel, as access to our forests are via unsealed roads suitable for 2WD vehicles in dry weather only, and a 4WD vehicle is recommended. Also note that dogs are welcome at most of our campgrounds across the Gannawarra, as well as all regional and state forests, although not in most national parks across Victoria, including Gunbower National Park.

It’s A Great Day For A Drive!

If you’re looking for an excellent way to spend the day in the Gannawarra region, put Spences Bridge Forest Drive on your list. You’ll forget time, and your to-do list, as you drive through the stunning Gunbower State Forest - past many Indigenous, timber milling and early settler sites guided by the Spences Bridge Forest Drive informative CD, which is also free to download via Soundcloud. Find out more about this natural wonderland day trip at the Gannawarra Visitor Centre in Cohuna.

Visit A Gannawarra Local

After all that driving and time spent in nature, you’ll have worked up an appetite and our local pub culture, known for its country hospitality, cold beverages and traditional pub fare, is just the ticket for a carload of hungry travellers. There are so many food and beverage options right across the Gannawarra region.

You’ll also need somewhere to rest your weary head and one of our newest accommodation offerings is The Old Bakery in Koondrook. This charming building, originally built in 1911, has been tastefully renovated and given a new life, accommodating up to 6 people, and is ideally located in the main street. The Old Bakery is an excellent base for exploring the historic town of Koondrook, The paddle steamer history of the township is palpable as you wander the streets and follow the winding river. Take a deep dive into Koondrook’s fascinating steam heritage, discovering the town’s first paddle steamer built in 1881, the 14 that followed, and the last in 1923.

You can also take a wander on the Redgum Statue River Walk for an interactive and very local experience, getting to know many homegrown identities and wildlife native to the region.

The historic Koondrook wharf is also a must during your stay. First built in 1882 to accommodate the hustle and bustle of the riverboat trade era, it was dismantled in the late 1950s following the decline in the local industry. The revamped Koondrook Wharf you see today was officially opened in 2016 and has received international recognition for its design. It is located delightfully close to local cafes and pubs and with easy access to walking tracks and bike trails.

You’d be remiss not to pack the mountain bike or hiking shoes when you visit the Gannawarra this winter, as it’s the perfect time of year to head off on a day of adventure on the trails. The Loddon River Walk in Kerang Regional Park is popular with locals and visitors alike, meandering through the relaxed woodland setting along the Loddon River. Contact the Gateway to Gannawarra Visitor Centre in Cohuna for more information on walking trails in the Gannawarra.