See my posting at http://mtb-tours.blogspot.com/2007/11/taking-sporting-equipment-overseas.html if you intend to go overseas with sporting equipment.
Inflatable Canoeing Adventures - Buy this eBook!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tracks Adventures is running a 3-day Swiftwater Rescue course at Kuala Kubu Baru from Nov 30-Dec 2nd 2007. The course will be conducted by ACA-certified whitewater kayaking and swiftwater rescue instructor Carl Traeholt. Cost: RM600 per person (including gear and lunch). For inquiries, call Tracks at 019-344 3214.
The Murrumbidgee River is one of the best rivers to canoe in Australia because you cam always expect a reliable flow of water since its feed by the Snowy Mountains HydroElectric Scheme, and because the waters held back by the reservoir system are slowly released over summer when most people want to engage in canoeing. Because of the artificial flow regime and the high demand for those water resources downstream, during summer the river has high discharge rates and corresponding fast water movement. I remember canoeing a section from Tharwa (just south of Canberra) to Red Rock Gorge, and the river narrowed from 20m wide to 8m, and passing through the shoot was like being in a washing machine, being thrown from one rock to another. The consequence was a hole in the canoe.
This section of rive made for a good run for the later reasons, though this was a period of high water level, so more information would be warranted on river conditions. At the time I remember the water level was flowing well over the ford.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The Barrington River is one of the best rivers to canoe in Australia. The appeal lies in its:
1. Proximity to Sydney
2. Its reliable water supply
3. Preservation of its natural bushland
Australia has been undergoing a climatic shift for the last 50 years - nothing new in that - despite the rhetoric that the planet is being destroyed. In fact the Earth's climate has been since the planet was formed. Anyway, the east coast of Australia is drier, the Carpenaria area is wetter. The bad news is that the rivers in NSW are not as wet as they once were, and amidst a drought, things are even worse. So if you intend to canoe, you need to make sure there is adequate water in the rivers. The good news is that the various water authorities in Australia now keep water level height and rainfall information in online databases, so you can readily see what is a good water height, and when to go. Website??
You can access the Barrington River by driving from Sydney, up the Pacific Highway. After Raymond Terrace take the left turn on the Bucketts Way to Gloucester. When you reach Gloucester continue through the town on the Scone road. You will eventually reach the town of Barrington, and soon after you will encounter the Barrington River. If you are doing the upper section, you will need to continue on past Copeland to the river junction. There is camping and good horse riding on a farm nearby. If you are canoeing from Rocky Crossing you can take the left turn off before or after the river, since they both follow the river, but the west-side option allows you to finish at the Barrington Bridge, whereas the east-side option lets you finish at either place. There is also camping at Barrington Bridge, though facilities are limited.
The Barrington River drains off a volcanic rangeland called Barrington Tops. The 'Tops' are snow covered at times in winter, and a number of peat bogs on the plateau ensure a regular release of water at times when other rivers are dry. The river flows through state forest and farmland, though these days its mostly unproductive hobby farms that dominate.
There are a number of river entry points:
1. Junction of the 2 rivers west of Copeland
2. Rocky Crossing
4. Barrington Bridge
Since I normally go with people that dont have a canoe, and have no experience, I usually take the section from Rocky Crossing to Canoelands. Its about a half day trip. I did the section to Barrington Bridge, but unfortunately the pace was slow because he had no sense of balance, even with my old 'flat floater'.
This river is mostly grade 2, with a few grade 3 rapids. They can be technically difficult if the water levels are higher. Alternatively you could be dragging the canoes if the water levels are low. To much sun is not a problem since the river is mostly lined by trees. There are a few snags, but it is mostly rocky, so wear a helmet for head protection. Also where a life jacket as there are traps. The biggest concern I think is water flowing under overhanging cliffs, where the river in undercutting old stream bed. The river flow is not as strong in low water so that should not be a problem if you anticipate and practice canoe control in the upper section.
The upper section requires a long day to complete. It requires a fair amount of rain to navigate. It has a steeper gradient so the river is narrow and fast-flowing. Its not as technically difficult, but there are low branches. Some people do the lower section first as its slower water. There are few egress options on the upper section if you have problems, so in a way its suits the disposability of an inflatable canoe, but who wants to abandon a canoe on the river if they get a hole. I have never patched up a canoe on the river, so I'm not sure how quickly they dry/repair. Maybe in the sun not so long. Anyway after 10 trips, I've only had 1 puncture for a $200-250 canoe. Thats pretty cheap travelling. And I think the offending object was glass or steel (in Japan) looking at the sharpness of the cut.
Anyone want to take a run on this river let me know.