After her three day hike along the Great South West Track, Emily swapped her hiking boots for a paddle and set off kayaking Glenelg River in Victoria’s Lower Glenelg National Park.



We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Gunditjmara people who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.



  • Kayak-in campgrounds
  • Accessible from both Melbourne and Adelaide
  • Kayak gear available locally in Nelson
  • Great for beginners, speccy for all



Bochara / Glenelg River was speccy, mysterious, and wonderful. With no reception but never too far from Nelson, this three day kayak trip allowed for solo time without ever feeling too isolated. Gently paddling downstream through a limestone gorge, spotting far away hikers on ridgelines, stopping for coffee breaks on lonesome old jetties, sitting by a campfire after a dip and doing it all again the next day. Bliss right?

Day 1 – Moleside Camp to Georges Rest

Distance: 18-23km kayak
Duration: 5-8 hours

As someone who’s kayaked only a handful of times and never longer than a few hours, this felt epic to me after a few minutes. But the high wore off so incredibly quickly as my arms began to ache and the wind was pushing me upstream. I didn’t let this deter me though, as the river gave this sense of being so bloody tiny, which allowed for some kind of gratitude and harmony with my body as the river moved me.



After hiking 50km of the Great South West Track in the Lower Glenelg National Park, I swapped my pack for a kayak. My thoughts were a little deep as the deep river felt like a whole new world; I kayaked with my eyes closed, the soft heavy river holding me and my soft heavy eyelids hugging my mind as I drifted downstream and in and out of daydreams. I hiked in over three days to start the kayak trip, but you can catch a lift from Chris at Nelson Canoe Hire, who’ll give you all the gear and some ideas.

Although the first day of kayaking with aching arms seemed daunting, there were multiple jetties and campsites along the river to pull up by, to pee, make coffee, or to stretch the legs. The ‘kayak in’ campsites were on the right hand side of the river, and felt quiet and secluded.

Day one of kayaking may be difficult for the arms, but it’s dreamy and blissful too.

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Day 2 – Georges Rest to Lasletts

Distance: 17-24km
Duration: 5-7 hours

My arms seemed to settle for day two, I found a rhythm, a routine, and irony in that I was surrounded by reflections on the waters edge as my mind replayed its own reflections. Each campsite is signposted out to the river so I could see clearly where my camp was each night, and note down other campsites that seemed ideal for next time’s visit.

Once I arrived at my second campsite, I found a 5km walk to get my legs moving again. It was well signposted, and took me to Princess Margaret Caves (at the time of my travels they were closed due to COVID, however still a lovely walk after two days of hefty arm use).

By this day I was talking to myself. I ruined my last pair of clean undies by submerging myself all naked except them and had left them to ‘dry’ in the rain overnight. Lasletts campsite was nice for that, it felt quite isolated, tucked in at the foot of a hill, with a small jetty and some easy to find firewood.

I submerged myself in the inky black body of water. She was sweet and salty, and the next day she felt like my friend. She reminded me to let the earth move through me rather than move through it, over it and conquer it.

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I ate my last evening meal on the landing in the nearly sun, at a nearly actual meal time, and I finished reading my book over the time it takes for day to turn to night. I put it down as unceremoniously as it had ended its words, but knowing its true beauty is within its streetscapes, not that last page.

And I finally thought, ‘Here I am nearly having finished my solo journey’, and for half a second something felt ceremonious, for half a second I felt a tiny glimmer of freshness and spark of something bigger than myself.


Day 3 – Lasletts to Nelson

Distance: 15 – 22km
Duration: 3-5 hours

Day three and I woke early enough to see the morning mist gently sitting on top of the water, the early sun seeping its way through, trying to wash the mist out. Paddling on day three I was met with those limestone cliffs, I paddled over to their wet walls and admired how the birds built their homes there.

An early morning kayak down this section of the river found me watching fishermen cooking their breakfast bacon on the dock of their river shacks with their camp chairs, leftover beer cans, beards, fishing rods and friendly waves. As I paddled closer towards Nelson, the hum of the birds followed the hum of the boat engines, and I was witness to more human-on-river life. A slow re-introduction to civilisation, gave me more awareness and consciousness to the fact that I’d been talking to myself.


Kayaking Glenelg River – A 3 Day Solo Mission on Gunditjmara Country, Emily Scott,kayak, river


The river was so ink black and so flat that I could see the sky in it. It was as if the Earth had doubled over, sunk its head in an ink pot and kissed its feet. And there I was in between two skies and it felt like I was on the edge of the universe.



Day three and I drifted into Nelson, the river became busy with human activity, and I craved a decent coffee. I pulled up on a jetty and wandered to the local general store for a coffee and some deep-fried food for lunch. I arrived back in town with more than enough time to drive back to Adelaide, update the Instagram account and put some meaning to my meandering thoughts after a solo mission.

How To Get There

It’s about a five hour drive from both Adelaide and Melbourne.

I left from Adelaide, straight to Nelson by car. Nelson is nestled right down at the edge of Lower Glenelg National Park, with the walking trail clearly sign posted at many points along the river.

I stayed at the Kywong Caravan Park who were hospitable and allowed me to leave my car there while I was out exploring. This campground is walking distance from to the riverside and Great South West Track.

Essential Gear

  • Sleeping gear; tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, head torch
  • Toilet paper
  • Water purifiers
  • Hiking stove
  • Water bottles – I took 3 – can’t always rely that there’ll be water tanks especially in summer
  • First aid kit
  • PLB – no reception out there and you want this for snake season
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Salt/hand sanitiser, for the leeches 😉
  • Kayak – I used Nelson Canoe Hire, who were happy to assist in drop off and pick-ups, and are reasonably priced. Family run business, super friendly. They provide a map, life jacket, kayak, huge dry bags for all your gear, and will hold onto anything you don’t need.

Skill Level


Don’t forget to fill out a Trip Intention Form before heading out!
VIC Police Intention Form

Overall Distance / Duration

Approximately 50km / 3 days

Create a longer expedition by hiking up the Great South West Walk for 3 days, to meet your kayak at Moleside camp, to paddle back down.