lock 4 eckert creek loop trail

This Trail starts at Lock 4 and goes through Ajax/Achilles Lake back to the river then through the following creeks, Eckert Creek, Jarrett creek, Sawmill creek and back via the Murray River to Lock 4. It can be extended to a two-day trip by paddling via the Splash and Katarapko Creek



Berri (245km from Adelaide)

Approx 14 km loop trail.<br> 25 KM with extended paddle

Approx 14 km loop trail.
25 KM with extended paddle



Easy to moderate

  • Paddle Distance

    Approx 24 km return one day or or 44 km for the extended 2-day trip.

  • Weather

    Always check weather and wind conditions before setting out.
    Visit BOM for weather conditions

  • Conditions

    Easy to moderate- Protected waters – river and river backwaters.
    Do the five weather safety checks

  • Facilities

    camping facilities including showers and toilets also available.

  • Parking

    Available at launch point (Secured by gate after hours)

Paddling five checks BOM

South Australian Floodplains Integrated Infrastructure Program videos (SARFIIP)

Paddle SA is the governing body of paddle sport and recreation in South Australia. It leads and supports paddling in South Australia and encourages the safe exploration of our waterways. Paddling Trail South Australia has a range of Paddling Trails to suit different abilities. Know your ability.

Trail 38

Paddling Trails South Australia Avenza mapsIf 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.

Trail Information

Lock 4 Boat ramp Nitschke Rd, Bookpurnong via Berri (GPS 34.3411 S 140.5774 E)

Trail notes
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.


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)

Points of Interest

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.

Show us your photos on Instagram: #eckertcreek
Another portage on the Eckert Creek, this time around a low bridge. Eckert Creek runs off the Murray River near Berri and next door to a section of the Murray River National Park.
#eckertcreek #murrayriver #murrayrivernationalpark #southaustralia #australia #kayaking #canoeing #greatmates #portage #allpartoftheadventure #doitnowtimeisticking #getoutthereanddoit #menwhodostuff #travelwithme


Read this safety information page
before your paddling trip.


How to use maps and contact
Paddling Trails South Australia.

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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.