Merrily paddling down the Merri River for World Rivers Day

Almost 30 punters paddled their way down the Merri River on Saturday morning to celebrate one of the south-west’s waterways for World Rivers Day.

Making A Difference (MAD) for the Merri secretary Karen Wales said it was the fifth time the event had been held, and the good weather conditions were ideal.

“The Merri River has a lot of landowners so you can only access it at certain spots, so people only see glimpses, they don’t see a lot of the river,” Ms Wales said.

“It’s a good thing for people to actually get on the river and see what it’s like.”

Ms Wales said being able to hear bird life and frogs on the river was a benefit.

Between 10am and noon, participants kayaked, canoed and paddle-boarded down the river, beginning and ending up at the Dennington Rowing Club, followed by a barbecue lunch.

Go Surf surf school owner Keith Curtain said his organisation had always held a World Rivers Day event on the Moyne River, but this year the groups had decided to combine their activities on the Merri.

“Today’s not a beach day at all, but you can get out on the river and explore,” he said.

“Every time we’ve done it we’ve learnt something new.”

“We use this event as a bit of a launch pad for the summer, for people to paddle into fitness, and it’s also a free community day.”

World Rivers Day was set up in 2005 to highlight the value of rivers and improve stewardship of waterways.