Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion.
Forum rules
NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby kanangra » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 9:15 am

I was down in the Shoalhaven Gorge last week and thought it looked a good candidate for pack rafting. Anyone done any of it?

K.
kanangra
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1301
Joined: Sun 25 May, 2008 3:52 pm

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby DarrenM » Thu 03 Oct, 2013 7:04 pm

It's a great river for packrafting and quite a few sections have been done now. The first link is probably the hardest section and not really a place to be without experience.

The second link is a good day loop but also needs some thought. I'd love to get back into it and complete the lower section down to the dam.

http://djm74.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/we ... k0vJbt-_cs

http://djm74.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/pa ... k0wHbt-_cs

Image

Image
DarrenM
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 7:10 pm
Location: Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby kanangra » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 7:45 am

Mate,

I've just read the first article. That is some serious stuff there. How is the tailbone? Did it right itself? Shame you had to abort but you had little choice.

K.
kanangra
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1301
Joined: Sun 25 May, 2008 3:52 pm

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby jackhinde » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 8:11 am

I have canoed from oallen ford down. I would not do the upper reaches in a pack raft... in fact now i am older and wiser i would not do the that section in anything!
From Bungonia down would be easy and there are many access points.
jackhinde
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 324
Joined: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 5:01 pm
Location: Kangaroo Valley
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby LandSailor » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 10:21 am

That looks like a great trip. Have enjoyed reading all of Darren's blog posts on packrafting.
Here's a good video of a kayak trip on the Shoalhaven.
They enter the river via the Old Timberlight Guesthouse property.
LandSailor
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 301
Joined: Mon 25 Apr, 2011 8:18 am
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby johnrs » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 10:57 am

Best to stay out of the gorge,
unless you are part of a very whitewater experienced group.
Probably a guide in Yvonne MacLachlans book.
But pleasant trip down from Bungonia
or Çharleong to O'Allans above.
John
johnrs
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 6:09 pm
Region: New South Wales

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby kanangra » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 11:21 am

Yes the trip from Bungonia down sounds more my style. I wouldn't mind visiting the Blockup Gorge though. Perhaps I could go in via the Trestle track?

K.
kanangra
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1301
Joined: Sun 25 May, 2008 3:52 pm

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby johnrs » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 11:31 am

Simplest to just walk and paddle up from Bungonia
johnrs
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 6:09 pm
Region: New South Wales

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby jackhinde » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 5:20 pm

i have been down the trestle track and liloed up the block up, so yes that is a definite possibility for you to pack raft.
jackhinde
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 324
Joined: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 5:01 pm
Location: Kangaroo Valley
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby DarrenM » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 9:18 pm

kanangra wrote:Mate,

I've just read the first article. That is some serious stuff there. How is the tailbone? Did it right itself? Shame you had to abort but you had little choice.

K.


Yep, the river is definitely special in terms of paddling and needs some thought put into which sections are appropriate. The tailbone is fine now but couldn't sit for a month or more! :lol:

The issue for most packrafters is not having any whitewater background as most come from bushwalking/flyfishing etc. It pays to get involved in some training and learn how to keep safe. Such a good section of river though.

I'll complete the lower end when I get around to it. So much to do!
DarrenM
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 7:10 pm
Location: Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby Don R » Fri 04 Oct, 2013 10:26 pm

The river is really pleasant from Tallowa Dam going upstream to below the gorge, some nice sandy beaches, easy paddling, speckie cliffs, etc. Good swimming too. Very enjoyable in a relaxed way. you can hire canoes at Kangaroo Valley so the logistics are simple. Did it quite a few year ago.Upstream though, quite serious.
Don R
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri 16 Sep, 2011 10:24 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby clarence » Sun 06 Oct, 2013 1:03 pm

how does one delete doubled up messages?
Last edited by clarence on Sun 06 Oct, 2013 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
clarence
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun 12 Feb, 2012 7:52 pm
Region: Tasmania
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby clarence » Sun 06 Oct, 2013 1:19 pm

The book "Canoeing- guide to NSW" by the NSW Canoe Association has a very thorough and accurate description of the river.

I have liloed about 75% of it from Oallen to Lake Yarrunga.

From Oallen to Sewells the abovementioned book states "suitable only for very experienced paddlers owing to presence of many dangerous rapids in rugged inaccessible country". The book "Fitzroy Falls and beyond" states: "Welcome Reef to Sewells Point... should only be attempted by very skilful and experienced whitewater canoeists... This section.. has claimed many of the unwary and unprepared. Several servicemen, on leave during the 1939-1945 War, fell for the lure of Shoalhaven adventure and lost their lives in this section. Since then, more information has been made available to warn canoeists of the dangers, but still the occsaional tragedy occurs". I reckon a broken tailbone is a relatively minor injury given the above information.

We did Oallen to Skull Island (the dangerous bit) in low water levels and simply portaged the difficult rapids. The low water level meant it wasn't physically possible to float in to the start of, let alone attempt, many of these rapids. It was a great trip- probably the most wild and scenic river gorge I have come across in 20 years. I would never lilo this section in anything but very low water levels, only paddling the easy rapids (grade 1-2) where their end can be clearly sighted from the entry point. We probably portaged (ie walked) 5% of the section in total, avoiding the waterfalls and extreme rapids. Portaging with a lilo and backpack is easy- I'd assume a similar situation with a packraft. Even so, it is not ideal as a "first time" trip- we had done heaps of wilderness lilo trips beforehand.

If you are getting in to it and want a "taster" try Greater Horsehoe Bend to Badgerys Crossing. Both of these have fairly good roads out to them and good walking tracks in and out of the gorge. Above and below these points, public roads to the edge of the gorge and walking tracks into the gorge are non existent until Tallowa Dam. Paddling is pretty easy with long still pools several hundred metres in length interspersed by fairly easy rapids, all less than grade 3 except for one. Campsites are stunning and the Blockup Gorge is a must do. We liloed this section comfortably in three days on several occasions. I took several first time lilo-ers down there and they all managed pretty well.

Clarence
clarence
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun 12 Feb, 2012 7:52 pm
Region: Tasmania
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby DarrenM » Sun 06 Oct, 2013 4:10 pm

clarence wrote: I reckon a broken tailbone is a relatively minor injury given the above information.


For the record, I have been questioned on this several times. I use the Canoeing Guide to NSW and did so on this trip. As stated in the trip report, it occurred while paddling grade 2 water. If you don't want to paddle grade 2 in a packraft.....don't buy one. Every rapid I have ever paddled was done with careful planning and consideration, and if I didn't confidently think I could swim the entire rapid I portaged. I made all the right moves when swimming the rapid and was feet first and fending off before swimming aggressively back to the raft.

I could have had 10 world class paddlers with throwbags and it would have made no difference. People seem to skim over the parts that said I portaged the bigger rapids. People have been Liloing these places for decades and portaging the larger rapids. It could be said that people taking lilo's into the Shoalhaven is dangerous. Just because one person wouldn't doesn't mean others shouldn't.

clarence wrote:we had done heaps of wilderness lilo trips beforehand.

Another assumption that comes up about this trip as you have pointed out, is my 30+ years of outdoor wilderness experience beforehand. If people think they can achieve things they see on the internet simply because someone else has done it, then any responsibility or misadventure lies with them....not those that go before them.
I mean this with respect Clarence and is not necessarily directed at you. Adventure is what you make it.
DarrenM
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 7:10 pm
Location: Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby clarence » Sun 06 Oct, 2013 8:46 pm

No criticism indended Darren.

I'm only highlighting the fact that the upper Shoalhaven Gorge is a hard core bit of river where people have lost their lives, principally in reply to Kanangra's original question. The comment on your injury is not meant to be a reflection on your ability, judgement or how you approached the trip.

I'm glad other people are getting out and completing trips like this and sharing the information- packraft, lilo, canoe, whatever.

If I have first hand experience on an area I try to pass it on as accurately as possible to allow others to hopefully share the adventure and beauty of there areas.

My comments on how we approached this section of river are not meant to imply this is a better approach than yours- this is just what worked for us on that particular trip.

If you want any info on pull out points below Badgery's (to avoid the paddle out along the lake) PM me as there are a few good ones which I'd rather not put on the internet.

Clarence
clarence
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun 12 Feb, 2012 7:52 pm
Region: Tasmania
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby DarrenM » Sun 06 Oct, 2013 10:03 pm

No worries Clarence. Lilos....the original packrafts! I remember using them on the Shoalhaven 29 years ago! Thanks for pullout options too mate, much appreciated.
DarrenM
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 7:10 pm
Location: Sydney
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby Andrew Barker » Sat 11 Jan, 2014 9:01 pm

clarence wrote:
If you are getting in to it and want a "taster" try Greater Horsehoe Bend to Badgerys Crossing. Both of these have fairly good roads out to them and good walking tracks in and out of the gorge. Above and below these points, public roads to the edge of the gorge and walking tracks into the gorge are non existent until Tallowa Dam. Paddling is pretty easy with long still pools several hundred metres in length interspersed by fairly easy rapids, all less than grade 3 except for one. Campsites are stunning and the Blockup Gorge is a must do. We liloed this section comfortably in three days on several occasions. I took several first time lilo-ers down there and they all managed pretty well.

Clarence


Thanks for this - it was good advice. I can report that I just did (7 Jan 14) a cut down version of this. In via Long Point and out via Badgerys over 3 very easy days with two kids and had a great time. Rapids are very easy, water is warm and clear and the ingress/egress is ok.
Andrew Barker
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat 11 Jan, 2014 8:50 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby melinda » Sun 12 Jan, 2014 10:56 am

Hi kanangra,
I did Charleyong to Oallen Ford as an overnight lilo trip about 2 mths ago.
There were beautiful long stretches of sandy beach, great bush, nice gorge-y sections. :)
We had to bush bash around some of the narrow little rapids because we didn't want to risk puncturing the lilos on the shallow, jagged rock.
We had low water and the distance was a big ask for lilos!
On the Sunday morning we were a long way short of Oallen, so we bailed. Got out onto one of the roads above the river and walked out to Oallen Ford.
However I would imagine you would cover the distance a lot better in a packraft!
Have also done the river in between the Blockup and Canoe Flats on lilos. Easy going there!
Posting these photos to give you an idea of conditions we encountered between Charleyong and Oallen Ford.
3.JPG
Shallow water

4.JPG
Beautiful placid pools

1.JPG
Long sandy stretches of beautiful beach

2.JPG
Grade 1 rapid
Attachments
Morning mist at camp site.JPG
Morning mist at our campsite
'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing'
User avatar
melinda
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 570
Joined: Mon 21 Sep, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Illawarra
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby kanangra » Sun 12 Jan, 2014 12:56 pm

Hey Melinda, thanks for posting those. they look great. I haven't been back down that way since but must do so again this year.

K.
kanangra
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1301
Joined: Sun 25 May, 2008 3:52 pm

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby jeffyffej » Tue 14 Jan, 2014 7:27 am

Hi all,

Does anyone have any experience rafting or kayaking the bottom section below Tallowa dam to down past Coolendel?

I love the area and it looks like a good spot to be able to get a good chunk of it without having to do much walking really.

Would like to know details on water depth, rapids, flow, and possible.campsites..

Any info would.be much appreciated.

Cheers
Jeff
jeffyffej
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue 27 Aug, 2013 8:42 am
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby mbatch » Tue 14 Jan, 2014 4:10 pm

Hi Kanangra (and others)
I’ve not paddled any of the Shoalhaven below Oallens (apart from the Dam to Fossickers Flat in a Canadian) but I know of a few pack rafters who have. Their forum has a couple of trip reports. A few parties have been in at Great horseshoe bend and out at Bungonia, Long Point or Badgerys. This trip varies but 3-4 days seems to be par. Needs two cars . Apparently a fairly easy trip with mostly grade 2 paddling particularly if low water levels and very scenic. Think Hillview gauge is the best to work off and over .7 to about 1.1m sounds like a decent level. For mine the plum pack rafting trip would be going in at Sewells but it seems private property has scuppered this as an access point.
I think there is also possibilities to do a pack raft loop going in at Longs/Bungonia/Badgerys then heading up onto the plateau and dropping back in above the Blockup Gorge. Some old Wild mags have trip reports of this kind (using lilos). Think this would be a fun circuit with mainly flat or easy paddling , again 3-4 days depending on route
All of above on my to do list .. so no genuine personal knowledge here !. Let me know if you are going in.. I’m certainly hoping to once the gauge shows a respectable amount of water
mbatch
Nothofagus cunninghamii
Nothofagus cunninghamii
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue 17 Jan, 2012 10:49 am
Region: Australian Capital Territory
Gender: Male

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby Lizzy » Fri 12 May, 2017 3:07 pm

Had a paddle on the Welcome Reef to Powerlines at low level (0.67m Hillview gauge) the other w/e. Spectacular bit of country and awesome fun
https://vimeo.com/216453862
Attachments
bushIMG_1477.jpg
bushIMG_1479.jpg
User avatar
Lizzy
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 1:13 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby Nuts » Fri 12 May, 2017 3:22 pm

Looks like a great fun video Lizzy. Impressive skills, taking time to scratch nose in the second pic?
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
Nuts
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8037
Joined: Sat 05 Apr, 2008 12:22 pm
Region: Tasmania

Re: Packrafting the Shoalhaven?

Postby Lizzy » Fri 12 May, 2017 3:40 pm

Surprisingly I popped back out! Certainly got our thrills on this one :)
User avatar
Lizzy
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 1:13 pm
Region: New South Wales
Gender: Female


Return to New South Wales & ACT

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests