Last Sunday was another perfect Autumn morning & 16 of us rolled up at Coopernook for the always popular paddle on Ghinni Ghinni Creek to The Other Side Café.
The morning was calm, cool & sunny & the end of daylight saving was an added bonus. I always enjoy a bit of a Sunday drive thrown into the mix so The Eagles were on my playlist this time; cruisy & laid back. Bill cycled down again & this week beat the ‘sag wagon’ (me) in!
Seven of us did the paddle around Jones Island & met up with the rest of the group ( & Kate who cycled in the vicinity )for coffee & cake at the café.
As our group paddled down the Lansdowne River we saw some lovely reflections on the water, perfectly intact as there was little or no breeze to disturb the surface of the water. This option took in the broad expanse of the mighty Manning River which on this morning was like a mill pond & stretched out before us like a sheet of glass. We paddled past oyster leases, waterfront properties, & Scotts Creek which runs down to Farquhar Inlet at the Tasman Sea. The Manning is the only double delta river in the Southern Hemisphere & Farquhar is described as an intermittent entrance. The other entrance is at Harrington Inlet. Its Aboriginal name is Boolumbahtee (Biripi) & translates as ‘a place where brolgas play’. The Manning rises at Mt. Barrington, is 261 kms long & interestingly is described one of only a few Australian mainland rivers to receive annual winter melting snow deposits (Wikipedia).
After paddling past the village of Croki, which still has remnants of its original timber wharf, we continued along until we veered across the river & entered Ghinni Ghinni Creek. It was nice to see the welcoming red patio umbrellas & gable roof of The Other Side Café pop up ahead of us & we hauled our kayaks onto the bank & headed up the steps for morning tea. The other group were not far behind & after somehow getting 15 kayaks up onto the narrow bank we were all ready to devour coffee & delicious cakes – apple strudel ( sorry Gerg!!), hummingbird, sticky date & more. It was relaxing sitting in the café garden under the trees, looking at all the whimsical decorations including old wrought iron bed ends turned into a flower garden, quirky pottery, tree trunks wrapped up in crochet & old timber chairs hanging from trees. These chairs reminded me of stories & drawings depicting the ducking of suspected witches. In medieval times until the early 18th century, ducking was used as a way to establish whether a suspect was a witch. Ordeal by water was associated with the infamous witch hunts of the 16th & 17th centuries; an accused who sank was innocent while floating indicated witchcraft!
Back on the water it was pleasant to paddle in & out of narrow bands of shade in the cool as the day was warming up. A few of us did a quick detour into Dickensons Creek – an arm of Ghinni Ghinni-which we have not ventured into before. It is narrow & pleasant & looked like it went on for a distance, but we turned back after a km to join up with the main group. There were plenty of birds around including spoonbills, herons, ibis & kingfishers & a huge old fallen tree is now a permanent part of the creek’s landscaping.
Ghinni Ghinni means ‘mud crab’. In the 1880’s sailing ships would go up the creek picking up corn from the farmers. A big plank would be put out to load the corn onto the ship. The local baker, butcher & grocer also used to travel up the creek by boat selling their wares.
Back at Coopernook the pub carpark had filled up with lots of motorbikes out for a Sunday run. After loading up it was time to relax in the shade next to the river & enjoy a picnic lunch. Thanks Brad & Maria for the watermelon which went down a treat & to Greg for leading the main paddle.
Hope you enjoyed the day.