Landcare Yarra Source 2 Sea challenge launched

25 08 2008


Yarra River ‘Source to Sea’ challenge to highlight river health and land issues during Landcare Week (1-7 September)

Hi all and welcome to the beginning of a seemingly short but back breaking attempt to raise awareness of land and rivercare issues during Landcare Week (1-7 September) by our attempting to kayak the Yarra River from ‘source –to-sea’. I’ll be accompanied by experienced paddler Jarad Kohler from KEEN and Peak Adventure, along with a small support crew to tackle the 215km journey from headwaters located beyond the town in which I grew up, Warburton, all the way to the mouth of the Yarra River, finishing at Williamstown. The journey is expected to take six days.

It won’t be the first descent. In fact the last known source to sea was by David Roberts in 2004. Read about his adventure here. But he took around four weeks. We’ll be taking around five and a half days and will, unless challenged, take the title of fastest. But that’s not what this is about.

The catchment area of the Yarra River and its tributaries stretches over 4,000 square kilometres, with more than two million people living within its boundaries. That’s a lot of environmental pressure on one river. Growing up, I was lucky enough to have the Yarra River as a playground to swim in and float lilos down. The health of the river is something that was literally in our faces.
Landcare Week is all about increasing the public’s awareness of landcare issues,which includes the health of our land, our coastlines and our rivers. I figured that this journey might capture the public imagination. It will be interesting to see what we find from an on-river perspective and how much has changed since I was a kid.

The paddle is supported by Landcare Australia, Landcare Victoria, Coles supermarkets, KEEN footwear, Peak Adventure, Outer Edge magazine, canoe superstore Canoes Plus in Kew, Flint Interactive, Parks Victoria, Environment Victoria, Yarra River Keepers, Port Philip Westernport Catchment Management Authority, and the Department of Sustainability and Environment. And most crucially, my wife Nev and daughter Anouk.

The paddle will also link in to the Port Philip Westernport Catchment Management Authority’s newly launched Yarra4Life initiative. With strong community and private landholder involvement, and supported by local landcare groups, Yarra4Life aims to improve the health of landscapes surrounding the Yarra River’s headwaters in the Dandenongs. It launches on September 4th.

Along the way we will meet with landcare groups who work tirelessly on land and river work projects on the Yarra banks.

We’d love for you to join us on the journey: all paddlers are welcome get on the river for any section of the trip (See ITINERARY), especially the last leg which will pass the CBD and Southbank, before continuing under the Westgate Bridge to finish in Williamstown.

Join us at Herring Island at 10am for an 11am leave, arriving at Williamstown between 1 and 2pm. You’ll be greeted by a free and big BBQ kindly suplied by Coles supermarkets and KEEN footwear. (Thanks guys!)

Any questions, contact me (Chris Ord) on 04303 76621 or until the 29th August on

On the paddle (August 30 – September 4th), try me on the same mobile or on