Ord River Canoe Trip with Maka at gowild.com.au

We left Kununurra early to do a two day self guided canoe paddle on the upper Ord River. We did the trip through Maka and his Eco-noeing http://www.gowild.com.au which we can highly recommend. Maka showed up with the biggest green Toyota troop carrier we have even seen. It was called the “hulk” for obvious reasons and I can’t believe I didn’t get a photo of the beautiful beast! We liked Maka because of his obvious love of nature and happy/easy going nature and Maka loved green, so his car matched the colour of his canoes. The trip left from the boat ramp we had visited 2 days before 75km away at the Lake Argyle Dam Wall.  We were driven up and after a failed attempt to buy beers at the resort at 10am, we had a look at the Lake Argyle Lookout. We were then given a topographical map book marked with where we would find certain points of interest/camps etc over the next 2 days. We then got a briefing on what to expect over the next 2 days and a mini paddle lesson. We  loaded up and we were away down the gorgeous gorge on the Ord river. M

Ord River at the boat ramp
The boat ramp on the upper Ord River
canoe set off
Getting ready to set out

We had no idea what to expect on this trip, except that friends had done this same trip 16 yrs ago and loved it. There were 6 of us on the trip. We traveled with a gorgeous family of 4 from the Mornington Penninsula. Virginia, Mark, Wren and Saul kept us entertained the entire 2 days. It was lovely spending time with them. Mark had their trip “spreadsheeted” with every second filled with something fun to do! And I mean every second! We just worried they wouldn’t survive all the driving out on these roads at night. Go well Akester family! Maybe we will meet again, if we can keep up with Mark who happily gets through his day as if he is taking caffeine IV!!! M

The Akester family trying to decide who has the ugliest toes
The Akester family (Wren, Mark, Saul and Virginia) at Cooliman camp deciding who had the ugliest toes!

We were told there were thousands of “Freshies” but no salt water crocodiles in the river this far up. Then we were told about the 3 “challenges” on the trip. These are where the last 2 groups had capsized. Great! Virginia and I were a bit worried about these. I had no problem with the crocs, but it was cool and windy and there were very few places to pull over and dry out wet gear if you went in. Thankfully, Maka overstated the challenges, so we all got through these narrow fast flowing areas of obstacles without a problem. M

canoe 1
Setting out into the gorge with a good flow of water coming from the dam.
Lake Argyle pumping
A bit of Lake Argyle being pumped through. This helped us move along on the first half day of the canoe trip and made for an exciting (and easy) first section! Nothing like a dam upstream to make your life easy. We were complaining a bit on day 2 when we actually had to paddle!
white browed crake
Bird 290, a White Browed Crake seen just after setting off. We didn’t know until we saw this later on the computer that it was a new one, so we kept looking for number 290 the whole trip. Mark tried hard to help Steve find it. Mark did well catching fish(silver cobbler) and red claw (a yabbie) along the way.
ord canoe 3
It was red rocky stunning gorge walls or reedy banks full of waders and other birds. No roads or landing points other than the canoe camps. Just nature.
ord canoe lunch
Our lunch spot at the only Sandy beach on day one.
maddy with freshie
Though there are thousands of crocs we saw/heard only 7 over the 2 days as they are scared of you, which is good. We let the canoe drift over to check out this freshie. It drifted closer than we planned and the croc stayed there. It must have been asleep because it all off a sudden thrashed and jumped into the water which gave me a fright!
dodging spiders
We were looking for Herbies Hideaway. The last 2 groups couldn’t find it. First you had to paddle up a little side creek ducking under branches and dodging a million spiders. I was at the front so this was my job. Then when you can’t paddle any more, you get out and find the vague trail following the creek that Indiana Jones would have loved, til it ended at the pool.
Maddy at herbies
Herbie’s Hideaway plunge pool. This is as far in as I got. It was another one of those freezing cold, out of the sun most of the day pools. Gorgeous though.
herbie pool
Steve keeping warm in the trickle coming down the waterfall
family at herbies pool
Herbie’s hideaway pool. Mark, Wren and Saul hugging the rock trying to get warm where there was a warm trickle of water coming down the cliff wall.
flying foxes
Flying foxes hanging in the trees squabbled as we paddled past.
Our home at Cooliman camp
Our platform was called the beach shack. Our mozzie dome home at Cooliman camp. It was lovely looking out at the stars at night.
The view from inside our mozzie dome on the ord River Cooliman camp
River view real estate with filtered river views from my sleeping bag!
Colliman camp kitchen dining area
Kitchen,dining and living room at Cooliman camp.
view from ord camp
Steve climbed the hill above camp for the view of the bend in the river.
spinifex growing on vertical rockface
Spinifex growing on vertical cliff walls
comb crested jacana
There were plenty of these Comb Crested Jacana walking on the floating weed at the sides of the river.
crimson finch 4
The Crimson Finch loves the pandanus leaves to sit on.
saltie trap
We noticed this salt water croc trap on day 2. We all wondered why it was there, if there were none? We we told on the cruise back into town that ” they have caught two in there in the last 2 years so it’s doing it’s job.” Glad we were told this after the trip!
more ord gorge
The gorge just kept getting better as you paddled along. There were just no boring bits!
akesters at jump rock
Wren was the first one (chicks rule!) to jump off  “jump rock”. Her and her brother then nagged and slagged off their dad RELENTLESSLY until he took the plunge. Saul had the most interesting style. I think it hurt! Virginia looks to be sleeping through the whole thing, but is actually catching the action on her phone. Steve and I were happy to be the photographer.
maka of the ord
Then the cavalry arrived. Maka looking like an outback vision always with a smile. He picked us up in his boat that surprisingly wasn’t green and gave us the sunset tour back down the Ord to Lake Kununurra.
maddy and steve sunset
Sunset over lake Kununurra with bad hair!
sunset 2
The photogenic Akester family
ord sunset with bats
Oooohhhhh! Never a dull sunset out here!









4 thoughts on “Ord River Canoe Trip with Maka at gowild.com.au

  1. Love it……
    Sorry to have been offline for your stories, but a lot going on in full swing at school, and prepping up for collecting our Kedron in a few weeks.
    Loved this section – absolutely one for the ‘future plans’ book…
    Glad you are both fit and well and still travelling the dream.
    Will enjoy catching up on your stories.
    Stay safe,


    1. HI Graham, Nice to hear from you. Yes this trip was a highlight for sure. Good luck on pick up day. It is pretty exciting. Let us know when you are there and we will check out the “walk through” that Glen puts on the internet. There will even be a photo of you and Liz and we can see what YOU look like for a change! M


  2. Hi Maddy its Mark Akester here- that awesome and handsome guy in the photos (with the exception of the toes)… you were stuck with on the trip. Found this blog. Its so cool. That was such a fabulous time..forever in our memories. You captured it pretty well with the exception that your recollection of some of these events is not exactly how I remember them. I am sure that I was the hero in most if not all of these events. Not sure your camera has actually captured the real danger of my jump. It seems to have a horizontal/vertical problem where its over exaggerated the roundness of my body but under exaggerated the height of the jump. Surely you can afford a better camera?? 🙂 It was an unreal time and place and it was such a pleasure sharing it with you and Steve. Did Steve get the 300? Take care the Akesters and Virginia (who didn’t change her name cause shes fancy). If you are ever over this way please email us and call in. I’ll remind you how special I am.. lol


    1. HI Mark, Don’t worry, you don’t have to remind us of how special you are! We remember perfectly. You don’t forget Mark Akester in a hurry or your lovely family. You are still making me laugh from this far away! Steve’s bird count is now 318 but we have been stuck there for awhile. You will have to check the stats page. I remember you were also number obsessed. I hope the rest of your trip went well. We were at the Bungle Bungles at the same time and didn’t know it until afterwards it turns out. Will certainly look you up if we are ever down that way, but it wont be on this trip. By for now. M


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