Waterskiing on the Murray River

By March 29, 2014 Camping 3 Comments

It’s about 6am, and I awake to the sounds of nylon rustling and cockatoos in the distance. The slow but deliberate steps of a dog can be felt, clambering over sleeping bags and legs in our two man hiking tent, to get to my face for a wakeup lick. Kate is awake and determined to get both of us outside to welcome the morning. The sleeping bag comes off, and I’m unzipping the door when a shower of dew and condensation helps in the wakeup process. Opening the tent door, I’m greeted to the spectacular site that is the Murray River in the morning. Mist hangs over the surface of the water and the air is still, the only ripples on the water are from the early morning movement of the resident fish. I love these mornings by the river especially as they are all too fleeting when the sun comes out and burns the mist away.

It’s the start of the weekend and after a 5 or so hour drive the night before, we are up at the Murray for a few days with friends of waterskiing fun! We are camped at Torrumbarry, where as with a lot of the river, dogs are allowed as long as they are under control of the owner at all times. This was Kate’s first waterskiing weekend, and we couldn’t wait to get in the water for some fun!

Rocking her Ruffwear Lifejacket, everyone loved the fact she had her own PFD (Personal Floatation Device)! Kate is a great swimmer, but when faced with a deep muddy river, currents and multiple boats around I prefer to give her as much bouyancy and visibility as possible so she is safe in and around the water. The PFD also has a handle on the back which is great for hauling her into the boat and onto the jetty after a swim.

Our friends kindly allowed Kate into their ski boat and after familiarising herself with the boat’s interior we were ready for take off. We wanted to ensure a safe trip, so here are a few pointers we followed when in a boat with Kate:

  • Everyone in the boat had to wear a PFD – Kate was no exception so she wore her lifejacket at all times in the boat.
  • For take off and the duration of the trip, have a good hold of your dog. The PFD came in handy here with it’s handles for an easy way to hold onto Kate and steady her over any wakes or turns.
  • Never tie your dog to the boat. If you capsize or take a corner too hard and your dog falls out, they have no way of escaping and swimming to safety if attached to the boat.

Just by following these measures we had ensured we had a safe and fun time in the boat. Kate took her responsibility as spotter very seriously, and loved watching the skiers out the back, swaying in time as they crossed the wake!

After a good long ski, we headed back to camp and our own little jetty. Here we decided to get some DockDogs practice in and attempt to tire out Kate for the night to discourage any possum chasing. After some initial hesitation Kate was leaping off the jetty into the water, loving life! Everyone wanted to join in and throw the stick for Kate, but none more than our friend’s 3 year old daughter who wanted nothing more than to ‘throw Kate!’ (throw the stick for Kate!).

I love camping as not only can you fill your days with activities, but you can also escape from the craziness of life and enjoy the quiet moments that can seem so rare nowadays. Unbeknownst to me, Simon caught one of these moments between Kate and myself. All our friends were off swimming in the river, while we were content to have a rest and just take it in on the jetty.

Camping to us is that balance between activity and relaxing. Days are filled with fun and are followed by lazy nights counting the stars and telling stories around the campfire. With preparation and the right gear, being able to include Kate in our adventures makes them all that much better!

Have you taken your dog on a river adventure? Tell us your stories!


  • Avatar Amy says:

    Beautiful photos, Jen and even more beautiful words. Your intro really sucked me in!

    I really want to take Chowski camping with me but watersports are out of the question… So is dock jumping! being a pug he isn’t a great swimmer.

    But, he does love being outside with us and will love snuggling up in the tent even more. I need to get out camping!

    Also that photo of you and Kate is so nice. 🙂 Definitely one for the album!

  • Avatar Sam Day says:

    Great photos! We take our Kelpie/whippet camping and she loves it. So long as “the pack” stay together and she can roll in stink!
    Recommend the book “Camping with Dogs” to help find dog friendly free/pay camping.

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