11-Mar-2007 -- While staying the weekend kayaking at Morgan in the Riverland of South Australia, we introduced our friends to the great fun of how to find and visit a confluence. From where we were staying, it was not very far to reach confluence S 34 E 149. Ian and Sue were keen to learn about confluences, and Ian and Sue hope to join in with this great interest in the future and log their own Confluence visits.
Depending on which direction you are travelling on Highway B64 (Goyder Highway), to reach this easy to locate confluence, you must turn and head North at the Glenlock Christadelphian Hall and travel up Lunn Road that is also signposted to Gluepot Reserve.
Part of the Riverland Biosphere, Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve is 37 Kilometres North of Highway B64 and is a birdwatchers paradise; renowned for prolific birdlife and good bush camping. Gluepot Reserve is home to rare and endangered plants, birds and animals. There are 14 walking trails and a newly developed self drive trail. The on site Michael Hyde Interpretive Centre has all the information you will need to make the most of your visit to this special place. Make sure that you collect a key to enter the Reserve from Waikerie before you start this trip.
Lunn Road is a good quality country dirt road that will take you through 4 gates before turning off for the Confluence. In Australia, if you are ever travelling in areas where there are access gates across the road, you must always leave the gates as you find them. Directly after passing through the forth gate, veer right, then take the left track that will take you to the confluence. The only other change in direction is about 800 metres before the confluence. At this point, there is another track junction. Take the right hand track and this will then take you to within 22 metres of the confluence. After leaving the last gate, we started to see evidence of the devastating fires that ravaged this part of South Australia in late November 2006.
On the 27th November 2006, 18 known individual lightning strikes started fires in an area on the northern side of the Murray River. The fire, known as the Bookmark Gluepot fire, burnt an area from east of Morgan through to the west of Renmark. The fire had a perimeter of over 300 kilometres and burnt and area in excess of 119,000 hectares. More than 170 fire fighters from the Country Fire Service, Department of Environment and Heritage and the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service, backed by 2 fixed winged aircraft took nearly 2 weeks to get this very large fire contained. By the 5th December, the fire was brought under control, while some pockets remained active. It was not until the 9th December 2006 that the fire was finally contained.
As we made our way to the confluence, it was strange to see small pockets of Mallee spared and Spinifex left untouched by those severe fires. Unlike other areas of the world, the Australian Bush is very resilient and does not die when burnt. The Original inhabitant of Australia, the Australian Aboriginal used to burn areas of bush to promote new growth, thus attracting game into the area for hunting. Over the thousands of years, the Australian bush learnt how to adapt to the annual burnings.
The good track will take you to within 20 odd metres of the confluence. Even at the site of the confluence, there was still a couple of Mallee trees that managed to escape the fire and look like silent sentinels amongst all the burnt timber. As dry as our summer has been, all the Mallee trees were shooting, showing that these trees will again regrow, to again bring new life to this Mallee area of South Australia. Other signs that the area was slowly recovering, were the Kangaroos that we also sighted in the area.
Showing our friends what was required at the site; I took the required photos and then slowly made our way back to Waikerie for lunch, before heading back to Morgan and more kayaking.