Gannawarra News

Bird watchers paradise at Kerang
2012/08/08 | Sophie Bruns

The Middle Lake ibis rookery near Kerang is a popular destination on the tourist calendar for both nature lovers and bird watchers alike. The rookery has been recognised as the largest breeding ground in the world for the ibis and with numbers exceeding the tens of thousands, two species of ibis have made the lake their home and favoured nesting ground. The White ibis and the Straw Necked Ibis are the most common species found although the Royal Spoonbill does nest amongst the ibis in smaller numbers. Other spectacular birds which can be found at the site include pelican, swans, egrets and ducks. In fact there has been around 260 different species of bird documented in the area. The wooden, elevated bird hide allows visitors to openly study the birds without any disturbing impacts while barbecue and toilet facilities make things just that little bit more comfortable. The most popular viewing times are sunrise and sunset when thousands of birds take flight. During a good breeding season large colonies can be seen nesting on islands of lignum and reeds which have been bent over and trampled to form nests. The irrigated pastures in the Kerang area attract insects including crickets, grasshoppers, grubs which are ideal food sources for these hungry birds. They can travel 30-40 kilometres in search of food which is fed to the chicks partially digested. When the breeding season is finished the While the ibis disperse widely across Australia except for the inland of Western Australia. This species is extremely nomadic and can travel vast distances – the CSIRO placed bands onto the legs of some of the middle lake species which were returned from New Guinea. Within the 40 km between Kerang and Lake Boga there are 57 lakes. The river channel has branched numerous times, creating a maze of meandering tributaries which are home to thousands of birds. Many of these lakes are frequented by duck shooters and holiday-makers, seeking to relax and enjoy the many water-based recreational activities

National Parks draws tourists in
2012/08/08 | Sophie Bruns

The majestic towering river red gum forest of the Gunbower National Park is a major attraction for the Gannawarra shire. The Murray River, Gunbower Creek and associated tributaries which snake their way through the 8892 hectare National Park provide an environment for a myriad of waterbirds, wildlife and aquatic plants. Over 200 different species of birds frequent the park, along with 195 species of native fauna and 200 different varieties of plants. Around 30 threatened species have made a home in the park including the Inland Carpet Python, Squirrel Glider and the Broad shelled Turtle. There are only 100 breeding pairs of the White Bellied Sea Eagle remaining in Victoria, and these too can be found within the sanctuary of the Gunbower National Park. Every year thousands of people camp along the banks of the mighty Murray making the most of this beautiful and unique water environment. The numerous sandy river beaches provide popular swimming spots over the warmer summer months, while walking tracks and picturesque drives also feature throughout the park. Recreational fishing is very popular amongst enthusiasts with the river being a well known breeding ground for native fish species including Murray Cod and Golden Perch. A current NSW freshwater recreation fishing license is required for the Murray River while a Victorian recreational license is required for fishing in waters south of the Murray River. Both boating and canoeing feature highly on the list of recreational activities and are very popular amongst locals and tourists alike. A 5km canoe trail has been established at Safes lagoon near Koondrook which allows visitors to take in the serenity and highlights of our local waterways and wetlands. The park has a rich and colourful history. It was frequented by two indigenous clans the Barapa Barapa and the Yorta Yorta who called the area Kanbowro- (twisting and torturous like the neck of a swan) There are shell middens, burial sites and scar trees frequented throughout the area and these are Australian Heritage sites, protected by law. The first Europeans settled at Gannawarra station to graze sheep and cattle. It wasn’t long before they realised the value of the red gum timber which grew so prolifically in the area. A timber industry was established in the 1870’s initially providing railway sleepers for the railway network. The industry grew into the next two centuries but was closed down when the forest was declared a national park in 2010

Iconic Koondrook offers visitors the lot
2011/11/30 | Sophie Bruns

The Murray River town of Koondrook nestled amongst towering red gums in the Gannawarra Shire has grown quite significantly from the days when it was a remote timber harvesting outpost into a bustling riverside town supporting 800 residents. In 1843 Edward Green acquired a lease of 114, 656 acres and named the station Barham. At the end of the gold rush selectors began occupying land on the southern bank and Koondrook was born. A post office opened in 1879 followed by a school and hotel in 1880. The ready supply of timber from the mighty red gum forests was an attraction and it wasn’t long before the timber industry took hold of the area. Other developments included the construction of the first irrigation pump in 1890 which made way for a thriving dairy industry and creamery. In 1904 a lift bridge was constructed to allow paddle steamers to pass through on their way to Echuca. The natural beauty of the mighty Murray and the associated fishing and water activities that go along with it are of course a significant attraction. The boat ramp provides easy access to the water and fish species including Murray Cod, Golden Perch and Catfish can be caught by any keen angler. Visitors to the area can explore the unique beauty of the Gannawarra wetlands - home to over 160 different species of bird while the Gunbower Island Canoe Trail explore s the wetlands of Safe’s Lagoon. Walking tracks zing zag there way along and take in the magic of Australia’s most important river. Rich in history and heritage, food and wine and agriculture, Koondrook has much to offer visitors to the area. Located in North West Victoria, Koondrook is only 3.5 hours from Melbourne. The Gannawarra Shire has released a commercial tourism Investment prospectus on the area and for more information visit

Government funding improves fishing for the states anglers.
2012/01/11 | Sophie Bruns

Improving boat access, signage and upgrading and installing new boat ramps are just some of the plans the state government has for waterways in both the Gannawarra and Campaspe shires.   Water Minister Peter Walsh said the government is spending $16.2 million over the next four years to improve recreational fishing opportunities.   “The Building Northern Native Fisheries will focus on sections of the Campaspe and Loddon Rivers, Gunbower Creek and Kow Swamp,” Mr Walsh said.   Works include seven new boat launching ramps- two each on Elmore Weir, Gunbower Creek and Loddon River and one at Kow Swamp, while upgrades are planned at Box Bridge and Gunbower Creek near the National Channel Road.   Shore based anglers haven’t been forgotten either with better access planned for the Barnidown Pool and Axe Creek junction on the Campaspe and a fishing platform at Kow Swamp.   In addition to improving both boat and shore based access, 100,000 Murray will be released into Kow Swamp over the next three years.   Other rivers in the Northern Native fisheries area will also benefit from the release of 365,000 Golden Perch and 645,000 Murray Cod.   Recreation Fishing Improvements manager Brian Mottram said the improvements and increased fish numbers should become a major drawcard for attracting anglers to the region.   “There are some fantastic fish out there already,” Mr Mottram said.  

Visitor Centre comes up trumps.
2011/11/02 | Sophie Bruns

A new cutting edge visitor and information centre in the township of Cohuna is set to wow guests to the town.   The recently completed Gateway to Gannawarra Education, Cultural and Heritage Centre is located in the picturesque Garden Park and focuses on the many attractions of the area including the myriad of business and lifestyle aspects of the region.   The centre is expected to be a major drawcard for the town and includes toilet facilities, car parking to accommodate 24 vehicles and an outdoor display and promotion area.   Inside the centres feature a recycled red gum table, a smorgasbord of tourist information, display units showcasing the artistry of local talents, maps and a television which will feature presentations of the local river, bush and lake attractions.   An integrated sound system will also make the centre the perfect place to host community functions.   Gannawarra Shire Council Director Infrastructure Planning and Regulatory Services Geoff Rollinson said the centre focuses on presenting the tourism, environmental, business and lifestyle aspects of the region to visitors and residents, with a significant and ongoing flow-on benefit to residents and businesses within the Gannawarra Shire.   The centre will be staffed by one full-time officer and community volunteers.   “The volunteer roster is under development and planning for activities to train volunteers is well underway,” Mr Rollinson said.   Landscaping of the facility isalso underway with planting of indigenous species, laying of turf and mulching almost completed.   The official opening of the Gateway to Gannawarra project is expected to be in late November or early December.  

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