Lake Moodemere is a natural billabong abundant with native birds and wildlife. This is a delightful river red gum forest trail which is shaded in summer. Experience the splendour of Lake Moodemere and enjoy a picnic or even a swim. One of Australia’s most significant 19th century Aboriginal artists, Tommy McRae was listed as living at Lake Moodemere with his family in the 1880s. During these years McRae sold books of drawings, raised poultry and fished for Murray Cod. The lake is host to the Rutherglen Rowing Regatta every January. It is the oldest continually run regatta in Australia with the first event held in 1863.
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Start Walking: Lake Road, off Moodemere Road
Start at the information shelter on Lake Road. At 1.1km keep left to follow the trail. On the right is a picnic area and toilet. Keep following the gravel road as it joins then runs alongside the river. At 3.2km there is a grid, continue straight ahead.
This ancient natural landscape was once a place of great abundance for the indigenous people of the area whose history here dates back 40,000 years. They hunted Murray Cod and other fish, long-necked tortoise, kangaroo and possum, used wood from the local trees for shelter, shields and canoes, ground Kangaroo Grass for damper, cultivated yam daisies and cut reeds for woven fish traps and baskets.
The Trail continues along the dirt/gravel road through a few turns until reaching Donoghues Road at 5.4km. Turn right at this point. At 5.6km turn right onto Distillery Road heading in the direction of Pfeiffer Wines.
Tommy McRae, a Kwat Kwat man and one of the most important Australian artists of the 19th century was born in this area, lived with his family by the shores of the lake. By then it was an Aboriginal Reserve, where he drew the place, the plants and animals and the traditional cultural lives of his people and his land.McRae’s drawings became sought-after by collectors for his depictions of traditional Aboriginal life, the impact of the British colonisation and the arrival of Chinese miners. Despite this, by the late 1800s the authorities of the day had forcibly removed all four of his children.
At Pfeiffer’s (6.4km) continue straight leaving the bitumen road to join a gravel road. Heading straight past a house on the right there is a gate at 6.8km which leads to a grass track.
Follow the grass track keeping the water on the right until 8.6km. At this point follow the road on the right up a slight incline alongside a fence/house. At 8.8km there is another gate. Pass through the gate and follow the road to the right heading towards the Murray Valley Highway.
The area around Lake Moodemere is also one of the oldest wine regions in Australia. Tommy McRae would have witnessed first-hand the transformation of the landscapes of his country as the rich Murray plains were planted with vines by the forebears of a number of families who, generations later, are still growing and making wine there, including Pfeiffer Wines and Lake Moodemere Estate.
In later years, Lake Moodemere would host Australia’s longest running rowing regatta, held annually since 1863 when it included the ‘Canoe Race’ in which indigenous competitors raced in bark canoes. These days more than 600 rowers from around Australia and overseas compete in this iconic event.
At the Highway (9.5km) turn right and follow the fence line. At 10.1km turn right at Lake Moodemere Road. At 11.1km turn right at Lake Road.
After a long and leisurely day on the trail, head for home fortified by fresh air and enriched by the area's rich indigenous culture, nourished by locals whose experience spans generations.
End Walking: On the shore of Lake Moodemere