South Island Gallery / Whitewater / 2011-10 Kayaking in Tasmania  

I went to Tasmania to kayak with my friend Bug (Andrew) who recently moved out there. We had an awesome weeks' kayaking, thanks to everyone I paddled with! The rivers are all rain dependent, but with good flows the whitewater is awesome, with steep bedrock rapids and scenic wilderness. It was freezing cold though, with sleet and snow even in October!

First off I went cycle touring along the Western Explorer road, a 325km trip through the NW Tas wilderness (I was knackered afterwards). After that the paddling began with a trip down the Lea, a classic Tas run with nice granite bedrock drops which were still good despite very low flows. The next day we paddled the Leven canyon, which was also a bit low but had some awesome waterfalls, including the highest I've ever fallen off (about 13m). With rain forecast, we then headed off on a road trip to the West coast, where we caught the Little Henty river at an awesome flow (6 on the gauge on the bridge, after 30mm rain). After a section of G3-4 with a couple of pushy drops it eased off to a scenic float, with sea eagles and wedgetail eagles circling overhead, and a possible platypus sighting...

The next day we did some park'n'look at rivers which were too low, before heading off down south to the Broad river, which took 3 hours of driving around a forest to find (at least it was sunny, for the first time on the trip!) It also looked too low to me but Harry insisted it was a good flow and would hold its water. The next day we bashed through the forest to the put-in. The Broad is one of the steepest, rockiest, most tree-choked runs I've ever run, but had a lot of surprisingly good rapids, including two gorges, and even a couple of days after the rain was still at a high flow (possibly snow melt). It took 5 hours to reach the take out, by which time we were knackered.

The following day we went back to the Lea, for a practice run before the annual Lea extreme race which was happening the next day. The Lea was low again, and we spent some time memorising the least rocky lines through rapids. A further problem was that my Mamba was slowly filling with water--after over 6 years of use, the battering it got on the Broad was too much for it and it had split under the seat.

The next day was Lea race day. Even better, we woke up to heavy rain, and headed off for another practice run. The river was considerably higher though; some people walked out while a few of us carried on down some chunky rapids, and portaged Surgeon's falls (not the best race line!). The race was postponed, then cancelled unfortunately, but I did get a bonus run down the rarely-run upper Lea, a long G4 creek with a slightly chaotic group of over 30 people. The next day I left for NZ after an awesome week's boating and biking. Glad to be back in the warm though! Photos below (some photos from Bug, cheers!).

 Broad again
 Horizon lines on the Leven--the big drop is actually out of sight!
 2-day 325km cycle tour around NW Tas and the Western Explorer road
 Western Explorer road (was freezing cold!)
 Rainforest near Corinna
 Still 50km from Burnie and I'm knackered
 First river--very low Lea, still good though
 Lea first drop
 Bug on the Lea
 Surgeon's fall on the Lea
 Bug, Low-flow Leven Canyon
 Harry on the 8m waterfall
 Bug on the 8m fall, awesome river and setting
 The big one-about 13m
 More mountain biking
 Little Henty--remote G4 West coast run
 Bash-down to the Broad--I was sure there wound't be enough water
 Steep and rocky on the Broad
 Dan on the Broad
 First gorge
 Back to the Lea--high flows this time
 Upper Lea (after Lea race cancelled with high flows)
 Bouldery remote rapids on the upper Lea
 Little Henty take-out on the beach
 The Broad--steep, rocky, tree-choked and still awesome (broke the Mamba though)
 Tom on Leven, biggest drop I've run, at about 14m
 Tom on Leven
 Tom on Little Henty

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