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Darter Trail, Peel-Harvey Estuary Paddle Network Darter Trail, Peel-Harvey Estuary Paddle Network

  • 1-3 hours
  • 13.8 km

The Darter Trail is a 13.8km one way trail which starts in the Serpentine River and travels upstream on the Murray River.

Paddling is a delight all year round on this tidal trail which meanders through the Murray River delta past bushland islands and holiday homes, where paddlers are often greeted by dolphins and the abundant bird life. 

The Murray River is a mix of riverbank vegetation and unique waterside residences with boatsheds and jetties.

Murray River Darter Trail Chelle Fisher
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Paddling is a delight all year round on this tidal trail which starts in the Serpentine River and then travels upstream on the Murray River. Meander through the Murray River delta past bushland islands and holiday homes and watch for dolphins and the abundant bird life. The trail stays close to the inlet shore, and there are beach landings at the Peel Inlet end of the trail. You may have a short walk with your craft in the shallows. The Murray River is a mix of riverbank vegetation and unique waterside residences with boatsheds and jetties. Power boating is popular during holiday periods and warmer months on this river.

The trail passes Coopers Mill, which dates from 1843 and was the first flour mill in the region. Coopers Mill is located at the mouth of the river, on Cooleenup Island. The mill was constructed by Joseph Cooper using limestone believed to have been carried across the inlet by boat. Joseph rowed with the easterly winds in the morning and returned with the westerly winds in the afternoon. Joseph Cooper was a wheelwright and he died when he was crushed under his wagon during a trip to Fremantle in 1847, but his sons completed construction of the mill. When you explore and enjoy this trail, please respect private and public property.

The Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), also known as the snake bird, is a common sight on this trail. The Darter is a large bird which measures between 85 and 90 centimetres in length. The males are predominantly glossy black with some chestnut on the throat. The females are greyish-brown above and greyish-white below. On both sexes, a long white strip extends from the bill, below the eye and along part of the neck. The upper wings have decorative grey streaks. During courtship, both sexes develop a green upper beak.

With only its head and neck rising from the water, the Darter resembles a snake. The Darter submerges its body, quietly stalks its prey and then suddenly strikes with its S-shaped head and neck. Small fish, insects and other small aquatic animals are the prey of the Darter and are speared with the sharp, pointed bill.

Mandurah Visitor Centre

(08) 9550 3999

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Down Under Discoveries

Welcome to Down Under Discoveries, where nature meets adventure, and every step is a journey of connection and discovery. Immerse yourself in the heart of WA with Chelle and her team Down Under.

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Be trail ready for Darter Trail, Peel-Harvey Estuary Paddle Network

Here is everything you need to know before visiting this trail.

Time / Duration

3-4 hours

Length

13.8km

What To Pack

Group F (Paddling trails) required.

Trail Start

Riverview Reserve, cnr Riverside Dr & Furnissdale Rd, Furnissdale

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Trail End

Murray Bend

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Safety

Paddlers should familiarise themselves with Boating Rules and Regulations contained in the official Western Australia Boating Guide.

Paddlers should keep to the right in boating channels and canals.

Use insect repellant and/or cover up to protect against mosquitos.

Facilities

  • BBQ Facilities
  • Car Park
  • Dog Friendly
  • All accessible parking
  • Picnic Area
  • Public Toilet
  • Sheltered Area
  • Water Access Points
  • Accessible picnic facilities

Best time of year

Anytime of year

Trail Access

Riverview Reserve, cnr Riverside Dr & Furnissdale Rd, Furnissdale

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