If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF Map app and have interactive paddling trail maps on hand when you need them. The app uses your device’s built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos, and drop Placemark pins.
Lock 4 Boat ramp Nitschke Rd, Bookpurnong via Berri (GPS 34.3411 S 140.5774 E)
This trail starts upstream of the Lock 4 Boat ramp.
Travel upstream about 100m and enter the creek on the RHS. Point A (GPS 34.3405 S 140.5766 E). This is the entrance to Ajax/Achilles lakes, an attractive bypass to the river.
Paddle about 1.6 km in a northerly direction, avoiding the branch to the right and you will re-enter the river after passing the sunken barges Ajax and Achilles in the next small lake.
As you travel upstream in the river you will pass the attractive Bookpurnong cliffs (Booky cliffs) on the RHS. Proceed for a further 4 km and enter Eckert Creek on the LHS at Point B (GPS 34.3152 S 140.5855 E). You will need to portage around the regulator at this point.
There are often strong currents in this creek.
Travel about 1.25 km along this creek and you will reach a branch at Point C (GPS 34.3193 S 140.5761 E). Take the left-hand branch into Jarrett Creek. After about 0.25 km you will pass a culvert with a road over it.
You will probably need to portage around this culvert.
Continue for a further 2.5 km and you will enter Eckert wide water. Keep left here, enter Eckert Creek and continue for a further 1 km to the log crossing regulator at Point D (GPS 34.3363 S 140.5468 E).
Sawmill Creek is on the LHS just prior to the regulator. It is hidden behind a mass of reeds (but it is accessible by kayak).
The creek is quite narrow in places and there is a strong flow of water and numerous fallen trees to navigate.
When water levels are low this creek is not navigable.
If doing the extended trip you will need to portage around the log crossing regulator into the Splash.
If doing the day trip, travel up Sawmill Creek for 1.5 km and you will reach another regulator at Point H (GPS 34.3457 S 140.5504 E). This regulator is often open and can be paddled through, but if not you will need to portage around this regulator. Soon you will re-enter the Murray River at the point that Katarapko Creek enters the river. Turn left and travel about 3 km upstream to Lock 4.
Note: Lock 4 operating times are 8.00AM-11.30AM, 1.00PM-4.30PM
Ring the Lockmaster on (08) 8582 1388 to arrange passage or alternatively land your craft and go to the lock and speak to the Lockmaster. Only approach and enter the Lock when the red light on the Lock turns to green.
There is turbulent water in the Lock when it is filling or emptying. Raft up with other paddlers for safety and hold on to the ladders on the side of the Lock.
DO NOT TIE UP TO THE LADDERS
Note: there is no easy portage around Lock 4.
If doing the extended trip through the Splash, there are numerous campsites available for an overnight stay along this route. Campsites need to be booked online on the Parks SA website.
When doing the longer trip about 6.5 km after the log crossing regulator you will reach another regulator where the Splash enters Katarapko creek at Point E (GPS 34.3598 S 140.5398 E). After portaging around this regulator, turn left into Katarapko Creek.
Toilets and picnic area including BBQ at Lock 4 (launch site)
Murray River National Park
Murray River National Park is divided into six separate areas: Katarapko, Lyrup Flats, Kingston-on-Murray, Paringa Paddock, Gurra Gurra, and Bulyong Island.
Katarapko Creek and Eckerts Creek are significant waterways that flow through the park and provide great canoe adventuring and are very important habitats for native fish. The Ngak Indau Wetland trail is ideal for viewing wetland birdlife, with a bird hide for the avid birdwatchers. Rilli Island, Media Island and Kapunda Island Conservation Parks are also part of Katarapko.
Katarapko has three entrances: Lock 4 entrance (Draper Road, via Berri), Eckert’s Creek entrance (via Lower Winkie Road), and Katarapko Creek entrance (via Katarapko Crescent). Visitors may access any area of the Park from these entrances.
There are also a total of 55 campsites within this section of the Park. Contact National Parks to book a camping site prior to departure.
Read this safety information page
before your paddling trip.
How to use maps and contact
Paddling Trails South Australia.
Paddling Trail South Australia has a range of Paddling Trails to suit different abilities.
Know your ability
These are easy to access kayak and canoe trails through the Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula, Riverland, Murray River, and the Coorong.
Plans to proceed with the environmental watering at key Riverland floodplains at Chowilla, Pike, and Katarapko along with weir pool raising at Locks 6, 5, 4, and 2 is intended to commence within the next week or two and will continue through to November or December 2021.
Katarapko Floodplain / Lock 4
The planned watering at the Katarapko will raise water levels in the floodplain creeks by up to 3 metres but if flow conditions continue to improve this could be further increased to around 3.2 metres above normal. Lock 4 Weir pool levels will be raised by 30 centimetres above the normal pool level.
If you would like more information on the Katarapko Floodplain please visit the following website: www.environment.sa.gov.au/katarapko-floodplain
The Department will monitor how the vegetation and wildlife on the floodplains respond during the watering. Water quality will also be closely monitored at each site and in the River Murray during the events and will adapt the operations if required. Monitoring stations are set up within the associated creek systems and the River Murray to capture real time water information. This real time water information is accessible via the Water Data SA web-portal at https://water.data.sa.gov.au/
To keep up to date with how the environmental watering progresses you can check the SA River Murray Flow Reports. You can subscribe to receive them by email by visiting SA River Murray Flow Report Subscription.