Looking for rafting destination NSW

Packrafting trips and tales from down under.
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Bosch
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:26 pm

Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Bosch » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:34 am

Hey Im looking for a 4 to 5 day raft/bushwalk ill probably be doing it solo anywhere within 6 hrs of sydney. Im ok with bush bashing (1 - 2 days max), a bit of boulder hoping is ok and I have a gps.

Ive done the colo river twice with my packraft. Crawfords lookout to bob turners track and the drip rock to Island loop. This is my only rapid experience it was of average flow i guess.

I was thinking Oxley Wild Rivers or Guy Fawkes National Park or somewhere south shoalhaven maybe? If anyone has done these, has another suggestion? or thinks they are unsuitable I would love to hear about it heh

Thanks

Fishdejour
Posts: 327
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:51 pm
Location: Bega, NSW, Australia

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Fishdejour » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:13 pm

Did you want white water ? If you are after more of a good walk with some intresting flat water exploration side trips then Nadgee/Howe NP from Merrica Ranger station to Mallacoota is a cracker. About 70 Km's of coastal wilderness, a comfortable 4/5 day trip and it's just grand at this time of year. A 7 hour drive from 'Sinny' though. I am heading down there in a few weeks for a week (I'll do a bit of fishing and sitting quietly for a few days).

Steve

Darren
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:15 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Darren » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:52 pm

I'll let you know how the shoalhaven goes over Chrissy. :)
Check out the Paddle Australia website for river guides and heights. How did you find the long flat bits on the Colo?

Bosch
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Bosch » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:59 pm

Yeah I wouldn't mind a bit of whitewater, definitely don't want still water all the way. Grade 2s/1s and one or two 3s is my ideal river i guess. Ill definately look into Nadgee/Howe NP. Cheers.

Yeah let me know I was reading a bit today about the shoalhaven in this old canoeing nsw book, the rapids sound crazy im sure its not all like that. Although Ill also being do this chrissy :(. Compared to all the boulder hoping carrying my raft over ks of slippery boulders the long flats were a relaxing break. It really helped me to be able to really realize how beautiful the colo was. But yeah considering I only had a single blade paddle it was slow.

Only have 1 car so ideally I wanted to do some kind of loop. I was thinking about hiding my push bike in the bush or somthing and ride back to the car.

andrewallan
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:56 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by andrewallan » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:41 am

What about the Geehi R, or Murray R................

Never done it, but would love to raft the Geehi from Geehi Flat down to Khancoban Pondage, through the gorge. Perhaps drive to Khancoban, walk or mtn bike along the Geehi Walls trail to Geehi Flat, and then raft back to car..............or leave car at Geehi Flat and do opposite.

The upper Murray could also be done as a similar loop, maybe driving in from one of the tracks on the south side through Biggara (can't remember where, and have no map with me), and then walk upstream, and raft out to car.

A

Fishdejour
Posts: 327
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:51 pm
Location: Bega, NSW, Australia

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Fishdejour » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:20 am

It is possible to go in above the section of the upper Murray (Indi ) that we did a month or so back, a great start point for a longer trip but it goes into some grade 4 stuff lower down. Craig has done a lot of it (you out there Craig??) I guess you could always portage the grade 4 and harder 3s.

Craig
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:03 am
Location: Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Craig » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:40 pm

Yep I'm out here Steve, just busy with work. The Indi (Upper Murray) is packraftable from Leather Barrell Creek down to Murray Gates trail (north of Tom Groggin). Below this it enters the Murray Gates, which is some pretty fearsome whitewater (Grade 4). Having paddled it in a raft there's no way I'd do it solo in a packraft. Portaging in the gorge is difficult as the sides are so steep; we had to use the raft as a glorified ferry last time we were in there. Below the Murray Gates the river becomes quite placid and picturesque, would be some nice cruisy touring from here down to the bridge between Corryong & Khancoban. You could avoid the entire Murray Gates section by pulling out of the river at Tom Groggin and walking along Harringtons Track (foot track) for a day, then put in again below the Gates.

Andrew's Geehi loop would be great, but I can't see it taking more than a couple of days so probably won't provide the experience you're after. Incidentally I'm very keen to paddle this bit of water, though it will have to be next winter/spring now.

The best river in the Snowy Mountains for doing what you want to do is the Snowy. Put in somewhere near Numbla Vale (access is difficult, you'd need to talk to a farmer) and paddle down to the Victorian Border. Should be able to spend the best part of a week mucking around in that country. It is very remote though, and the only reliable water source in the area is the Snowy itself.

With any of the rivers above you'll need to keep an eye on water levels, as most of the alpine rivers are down a lot on the same time last year.

Darren
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:15 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Darren » Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:02 pm

Bosch wrote: Yeah let me know I was reading a bit today about the shoalhaven in this old canoeing nsw book, the rapids sound crazy im sure its not all like that. Although Ill also being do this chrissy :(. Compared to all the boulder hoping carrying my raft over ks of slippery boulders the long flats were a relaxing break. It really helped me to be able to really realize how beautiful the colo was. But yeah considering I only had a single blade paddle it was slow.
Just going on the homework I've done on the Shoalhaven, you may find it's a bit more taxing than the Colo in regards to the rapids. Watching the gauge and monitoring weather forecasts prior to heading off would be important for the gorge section I'd imagine. If you were portaging on the Colo, you will definitely be portaging on the shoalhaven.

Between 1m and 1.5m on the upper Colo gauge almost everything can be paddled (depending on your comfort level) but with a single blade paddle it must have been difficult! :)
You can always portage the harder stuff anyway. http://www.adventurepro.com.au/paddleaustralia/

Darren
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:15 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Darren » Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:07 pm

Craig wrote:
The best river in the Snowy Mountains for doing what you want to do is the Snowy. Put in somewhere near Numbla Vale (access is difficult, you'd need to talk to a farmer) and paddle down to the Victorian Border. Should be able to spend the best part of a week mucking around in that country. It is very remote though, and the only reliable water source in the area is the Snowy itself.
Hi Craig,

What kind of grades are we talking for this one? Low grades I'd imagine?

Craig
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:03 am
Location: Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Craig » Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:45 pm

Hi Darren, grades vary depending on where you put in. From Jindabyne down to the Delegate/Maclaughlin River area is apparently quite feisty, but only paddleable when they're doing a release from the dam (such as at the moment). Between the Delegate River and around the park boundary there are two waterfalls and grade 3-4 rapids; after the park boundary the river is flat for 50km to Jacobs River, with the exception of one grade 3 rapid. The river through this section is very pretty though. Downstream of Jacobs River to the Victorian border at Willis is well documented. Note I haven't paddled any of this country, my description is based on a couple of guidebooks and a bit of walking I've done in the area.

Have considered doing a week long loop starting near Willis and walking through the Byadbo Wilderness, putting in on the Snowy about 10km west of the park boundary and paddling back out again. It's 2 solid days walking (need to carry water), followed by 5 or so days on the river.

Btw I recently bought the Canoeing Guide to NSW from Paddle NSW, it's only $20 inc postage and has notes for nearly every paddleable river in NSW. Well worth buying, it should be on every packrafters bookshelf IMO.

Craig
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:03 am
Location: Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Craig » Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:20 pm

A bit of general advice on looking for rivers to paddle in. There are two main factors I look at; catchment and gradient. Minimum catchment sizes will depend on your area, rainfall, topography, dams etc. In alpine areas if the river has about 100km2 of catchment then it will probably be paddleable after a decent drop of rain (100mm). The second factor, gradient, is critical to those of us who chase white water. You really need a gradient of 10m/km to have a decent chance of finding rapids. The gradient of the Murray Gates is 40m/km, which produces many grade 3/4 rapids and is not a trip to be undertaken lightly; once you get above this gradient rivers become very dangerous or even unpaddleable (tight boulder gardens, complicated drops). We paddled a river last weekend that had a section that dropped 50m over 1km; we had to portage the entire section as it was a continuous boulder garden with very few pools or eddies. Past floods had kindly deposited many pieces of timber throughout the section, making the odds of death were quite high...

Keep in mind that the character of every river is different. Some are quite safe (rapids interspersed with large, long, deep pools) and others less so (boulder gardens, very few eddies). Vegetation and geology also have impacts; willows can choke river channels, whilst certain types of rocks can be sharp and lead to boat damage.

Darren
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:15 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Darren » Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:12 pm

Thanks Craig, I should have clicked my own link. :)
I borrowed the book from a mate but recently returned it so I'll grab a copy this week.
Cheers.

PS. Good to have your paddling and general outdoor knowledge around. I will eventually get myself along to one of these group paddles to meet the regulars.

Bosch
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Bosch » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:58 pm

Thanks for all the help a while back.

I ended up doing the shoalhaven. Horseshoe bend to the dam took me like 4 days.

Loved it didn't have to do any portages which was great compared to the 50+ along the colo. The rapids were perfect for my skill not to nuts but kept me on my toes. The last 4 hrs to the dam was taxing especially with a head wind but the scenery definitely made up for it. My old folks decided to paddle up from the dam till they got to the end of the rapids / pebble races. So they drove me back to my car which was handy considering it was an 1hr+ drive back to horseshoe.

Anyway cheers

Darren
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:15 am
Location: Sydney

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Darren » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:15 am

Good to hear it went well. Nothing like a flatwater finish with headwinds! :-)
Do you know what the hillview gauge was reading when you ran the section?

Bosch
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Looking for rafting destination NSW

Post by Bosch » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:31 am

I checked it on the BOM site before I left, I think it was around 1 to 1.2 meters. I cant be sure though. I rember doing a reccy 1 month before and it was around 2m, but yeah NSW copped a fair bit of rain around that time.

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