We’re pretty excited about some new developments in the paddling scene in Berri, thanks to the recently opened Inlet Regulator on Eckert’s Creek. This is part of the whole Katfish Reach project, and it means that Riverland kayaking has just improved.
The new regulator and fishway is located where Eckert’s Creek leaves the river 3km downstream of Berri. It replaces a pipe protruding through a filled-in bank. This improvement allows more water to flow through Eckert’s Creek, South Eckert’s Creek (also called Jarrett Creek) and allows the flow to be controlled to mimic the natural raising and lowering that would have occurred before the locks were built. More importantly, it allows native fish to enter the system of side creeks to breed, and will improve the health of the system.
The fish aren’t the only ones to benefit from the structure. Before the new regulator, South Eckert Creek had little or no flow for maybe 60 or 80 years. Now it’s flowing freely, making for a fascinating kayaking trail – narrow and winding with something different around every corner. The flow is faster than in the river, with some obstacles, so we would recommend it for experienced kayakers who are confident in their ability to steer a kayak accurately. If traveling downstream, the flow gives plenty of assistance so it’s not a strenuous trip.
We’ve already enjoyed a few outings along South Eckert’s Creek, excited to explore “new” territory. Previously South Eckert’s Creek has usually had very limited flow, sections blocked by reeds, and areas too shallow to paddle through, but now South Eckert’s Creek is a great addition to the collection of existing Riverland kayaking routes.
(We have, of course, enjoyed the whole Eckert’s Creek region during the high flows at the end of last year, and it’s novel to be able to paddle through and remember how it looked when it was significantly higher, with water over the banks and rushing everywhere. If you took part in one of our “High Flow” tours last year, I think you’d really enjoy coming and having another look)
The Berri Kayaking Group enjoyed their first outing along South Eckert Creek on Saturday, excited to explore new territory. They agreed that South Eckert Creek is a great addition to the collection of local Riverland kayaking routes.