River Guide

Cotter River: Play Wave

Grade: II.
Gauge: Cotter River at Cotter Kiosk, wave is surfable above 30cm, the more water the better though.
Put In: Right next to the playground at the Cotter Picnic Area, just below the Cotter Dam, Cotter Road.
Take Out: As above, park and play.
Drive Time: 20 minutes.
Paddle Time: As long or short as you like.
Description: A weir just below the Cotter Dam forms this play wave, at 30cm it is surfable, but still quite shallow, the more water the better. At high levels be weary of the low level bridge just below the weir, if the water is high enough this bridge forms a dangerous strainer.
Map: cott_wave.png

Cotter River: Vanities Crossing to Cotter Dam

Grade: III – III+
Gauge: Cotter River at Cotter Kiosk, levels of 0.6m-1.5m below the dam would indicate good flows above the dam.
Put In: Vanities Crossing.
Take Out: Bracks Hole, park at the locked gate, you need to walk up from the river to here (~10 mins), check the take out down at the river if it is your first time to ensure you don’t miss it.
Drive Time: 25 minutes.
Paddle Time: 30 mins – 3 hours depending on how well you know the run
Description: The best Grade III run around Canberra. Can be done in 30 minutes if moving quickly, moving water the whole way with countless grade II-III rapids. Highly recommended.

Curtin Creek (aka Yarralumla Creek)

Grade: II-III.
Gauge: No gauge available, paddleable after a thunderstorm. Please ensure that the creek has reached its peak before jumping in. The creek is prone to flash flooding.
Put In: Curtin Oval (Dunstan Street).
Take Out: Footbridge just before the Molonglo River intersection.
Drive Time: 15 minutes.
Paddle Time: 30 minutes.
Description: Curtin creek is essentially Canberra’s storm water and can only be paddled soon after heavy rainfall. There are a few fun rapids and a 4 foot weir which should be scouted as conditions change with the rate of flow.
Map: curt_creek.png

Kangaroo River: Flat Rock to Gerringong Creek Road

Grade: III.
Gauge: Hampden Bridge. Runnable above 0.75cm.
Put In: First check the level at Hampden Bridge, then drive 800m back towards Canberra looking out for a right hand turn on to Upper Kangaroo River Road. The put in is 15km from the intersection where a big flat rock runs right from the road down to the waters edge.
Take Out: The take out is the Gerringong Creek Road bridge, 4.5km downstream, approximately 11km from the highway’s intersection with Upper Kangaroo River Road.
Drive Time: 2 hours 30 minutes from the city.
Paddle Time: 2 hours.
Description: The shuttle can be done by car, bike or jog and is roughly 4km.
There are some great Grade III rapids in this section as well as a few play waves, first timers should scout the rapids as most require tricky maneuvering. A great river, well worth the trip.

Murrumbidgee River: Bredbo to Collington

Grade: III-IV.
Gauge: Murrumbidgee River at Lobbs Hole. Runnable above 1.95.
Put In: Turn right off the Manaro Highway after the Bredbo pub and follow this road down to the waters edge.
Take Out: Traveling towards Bredbo shortly after the Collington Rest Area, turn right onto the Collington road, travel along for 200m and just before the cattle grid turn right and follow the road under the old railway. Just before comming to a yellow cattle grid there should be a road leading down to the river to the left.
Drive Time: 1 hour.
Paddle Time: 4 hours.
Description: Some great rapids in this trip including a 2m drop and a 4m drop paddleable at the right levels. As usual some things to watch out for so scout what you cant see. There is a lot of flatwater before and after the gorge, but worth checking the section out. Photos here.

Murrumbidgee River: Pine Island to Kambah Pool

Grade: III-IV.
Gauge: Lobbs Hole. Runnable above 1.95, 2.2+ is a good level.
Put In: Pine Island (Pine Island Rd).
Take Out: Kambah Pool (Kambah Pool Rd).
Drive Time: 30 minutes from the city.
Paddle Time: 3 hours.
Description: The shuttle is best done by car but could be done easily enough by bike. It is ~10km. This section is the well known Red Rocks Gorge. Just after the put in there is a grade 2 rapid which is generally a good indicator of the rest of the trip. If the rapid is very shallow, ie you get stuck, probably not going to be a fun paddle. The first few kilometers is flat water and Grade 1-2 rapids. The first significant rapid you come to is called Junkyard and is a bit of a dog leg to the left followed by a fun 1m drop. The rapid can be scouted on river left if desired. After Junkyard head downstream but keep left, the chasam is on the right and should be portaged on the left. The next rapid after the chasam is the toaster, which should also be avoided, there is a chicken shoot on river left which you can scrape yourself down. There are quite a few more good rapids before the final flat water paddle.

Murrumbidgee River: Kambah Pool to The Cotter

Grade: II-III.
Gauge: Mt Macdonald. Runnable above 1.2, 1.5 is a good level.
Put In: Kambah Pool (Kambah Pool Rd).
Take Out: Casuarina Sands (Cotter Rd).
Drive Time: 30 minutes from the city.
Paddle Time: 4 hours.
Description: The shuttle is best done by car but could be done easily enough by bike. It is ~20km.This section is an easier and nice change of scenery from Red Rocks Gorge (which is the preceding section on the ‘bidgee).
There are a couple of good fun grade III rapids within the first several km, then mainly grade I-II races and a fair bit of flat water until the final 2.5m drop. The middle channel of this drop has several hidden rocks. The left channel is a bit trickier but cleaner, though still a bit boney in low water.
The Mt MacDonald gauge is influenced by the Cotter River which comes in at the take out so check the Lobs Hole gauge as well (a reading of 2.0m on Lob’s Hole is minimum for the upper Murrumbidgee sections).

Tuggeranong Creek

Grade: III (IV in highwater).
Gauge: No gauge, can be paddled when water is flowing over whole of dam.
Put In: Just below the Lake Tuggeranong dam, on Athllon Drive.
Take Out: At the junction between Tuggeranong Creek and the Murrumbidgee River.
Drive Time: 20 minutes from the city.
Paddle Time: 20 minutes.
Description: One really good rapid and a few other fun rapids along the way. Most of the good stuff is within the first half.
The creek is prone to flash flooding so it should be paddled after it has reached its peak height. Be weary of fences across the river.
All of the rapids can be scouted and there is a good track on the left river bank, it is easy to run the best rapid several times. It is also possible to link the creek up with red rocks, or at least some of it, e.g.. the walk from the Chasm back to Athlon takes about 20 minutes and apart from a bit of a scramble up at the start is pretty easy.
Map: tugg_creek.png

Shoalhaven River: Welcome Reef to Peggies Gully

Grade: III
Gauge: Shoalhaven River at Hillview, Runable above 0.9m.
Put In: Shortly after crossing Oalen Ford you will come to a bridge crossing a shallow creek. Climb down and walk/paddle 200m along the creek to the river.
Take Out: River Right: Underneath the large set of powerlines crossing the river at Peggies Gully, walk up the hill to your car, its a long slog. River Left: Private Property, contact Ken on 48445091 to ask for details and permision. About 100-200m after crossing under the powerlines just after a left hand bend there is a little beach with a track marked up the spur to your car.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours + shuttle.
Paddle Time: 3 hours.
Description: Lots of river wide drops on seperated by large flat water pools. Most of the drops are horizon line, scout anything you cant see as there are some pourovers to avoid. Well known rapids include Rodeo Falls and Double Falls. Nice safe river provided everything is scouted. Some photos here.

Wingecarribee River: Joadja Creek to River Island Retreat

Grade: III-IV
Gauge: Wingecarribee River at Greenstead, Runable above 1.0m. See http://www.sca.nsw.gov.au/dams/pumping.html for pumping schedule.
Put In: A few kms downstream of the Junction between Joadja Creek and the Wingecarribee River. To get there from the take out follow Wombeyan Caves Road back towards the highway. A few KM before the highway turn right onto Greenhills Road, follow this for a short time before turning right onto Joadja Road. Follow Joadja Road to the end. At the end of Joadja road right and cross the cattle grid, follow this road for 4km before turning right, follow the Feetham sign, after a short time you will again come to another intersection, again follow the Feetham sign and turn right. You will cross a causeway over Joadja Creek, keep following the road past the private property signs, the road is public but the land around it is private. Follow it all the way to Lot 7 (the end of the public road) and park there.
Take Out: At the River Island Retreat, 2km after the Wollondilly Tea House on Wombeyan Caves Road.
Drive Time: 2 hours + 30 minute shuttle each way.
Paddle Time: 8 hours.
Description: What a sweet river! Heaps of drops, slides, a few sections of flat water, but no huge boring sections. It is a long day, particularly if it is your first trip down. Give yourself plenty of time, in winter if you are not on the water by 10am, you will be cutting it fine. The first 5km is mostly flat water with the odd grade II/II+ rapid, then suddenly you are in the first gorge and just above the first drop (~2m), which can be scouted on river left. The Grade III and IV rapids contine, each time you think to yourself we must be almost there, this must be the last one, there is another sweet rapid. The other rapids of note are a big double drop in the second gorge aswell as a fun slide towards the end.
Map: wingecarribee.png (large file (1MB))

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