Murray Bridge to Paiwalla Wetland Trail South Australia

A loop trail starting from the Reserve opposite Long Island in Murray Bridge through a wetland trail known as Paiwalla and returning via the Murray river. The wetland was formerly a dairy farm on the floodplains of the lower Murray. The property has been purchased by the Wetland Habitats Trust and is being restored to wetland by a group of passionate volunteers interested in preserving the unique flora and fauna of this area.

Paddle overview : Murray Bridge to Paiwalla Wetland

Murray Bridge to Paiwalla Wetland Trail

Region Murray River, Lakes and Coorong
Nearest Town Mypolonga (87 km from Adelaide) – View in google map
Distance Approx 10 km
Paddle Time 2-3 hrs (allow half day)
Difficulty Easy – moderate
Facilities Toilets and picnic area at the reserve
Conditions Visit BOM for weather conditions
Conditions River and river backwaters
Parking Available at launch point


Always check weather and wind conditions before embarking (see Meteye)
There may be heavy water traffic in the Murray Bridge area

Trail Notes

Launch Site:
Hill Street  boat ramp Mypolonga (GPS: 35.0481 S; 139.3625 E)

Trail Points:
The trail starts at the Hill Street boat ramp in Mypolonga. Mypolonga is situated about 10k north of Murray Bridge on the Mannum road.

After leaving the boat ramp paddle up stream about 3.5k the wetlands are on the RHS at Point A​ (GPS 35.0185 S 139.3630 E). At this point a large dead Red Gum is sighted on the eastern side of the main river channel.  

From the dead Red Gum, navigate towards the old farmhouse on the eastern bank, so entering the Paiwalla North Wetland.

Once in the wetland area markers lead the paddler through the trail:

Marker 1 – is attached to an old fence post about 100 m from the main river channel.

Marker 2 – A red buoy is attached. This marks a narrow channel entrance. ​Paddle downstream, adjacent to the river bank.

Markers 3 to 12 – pass through a series of small lagoons and clumps of reeds.

Inshore from Marker 12 there is the option to take a break at an open area on the bank marked as ‘landings’ on the map.  (Please note these areas are available for short day visits only and camping by the general public is not permitted.)

Marker 14 – head back towards the main river channel using a pump shed located on an embankment as a directional guide. An unmarked section of the trail follows the river downstream for approximately 1 km passing a large sluice gate which controls water to the main wetland.

Marker 15 – marks the entrance to Sunnyside Reserve.

Markers 15 to 20 – here the route meanders downstream through a series of lagoons. (Please note any park rules and restrictions)

Marker 21 – Re-enter the main river channel to return to the launch point  opposite


Toilets and picnic area at the reserve (launch site)
No camping is permitted in the wetland

Points of interest

The Ancient Paiwalla (geological history)
Paiwall wetlands map


  • The Ancient Paiwalla (geological history)

Ancient sandstone cliffs, embedded with fossils, tower over the wetland.

Between ten and five million years ago sea-levels fell, revealing sandstone formations such as those in the Mannum Formation found at Paiwalla.

Subsequent erosion has created these cliff faces which contain large deposits of sea urchins (Lovenia forbesi) deposited on the sea-bed up to twenty-three million years ago and fossilised over time.


  1. Paiwalla Swamp (recent history and development of this wetland area)

Prior to 1967 the Paiwalla Swamp of 116 hectares adjoined the Sunnyside Swamp of 34 hectares giving 150 hectares of continuous wetland, the largest wetland complex on the River Murray below Mannum.

In 1967 just over 60 hectares were reclaimed for dairy-farming and other agricultural activities. Levee banks and irrigation channels were constructed and areas fenced. Regulators and sluice gates at the river’s edge controlled flooding of pastures.

By 1996 farming had ceased.

In the years between 1998 and 2002 volunteers removed fencing and an earth-moving firm was employed to fill the irrigation channels, and create islands and basins.

Exclusion screens were placed over the two inlet regulators to prevent European Carp from entering the wetland from the river. After an extended delay approval to inundate the area was received and the regulator valves were opened on 22 September 2003.


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Trails Half day Murray Bridge to Paiwalla Wetland Trail

Paddling Trail South Australia has range of Paddling Trails to suit different abilities. These are easy to access kayak and canoe trails through the Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula, Riverland, Murray River and the Coorong.