Penrith Whitewater Stadium aka The ‘Riff

Penrith Whitewater Stadium aka The 'Riff Even though Australia is a pretty dry place, we’re still lucky enough to be able to paddle year round. It never get’s too cold to paddle, and when there’s no water in the rivers, there’s always a backup plan! Penrith Whitewater Stadium was built for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and runs nearly year round. The last few years it’s closed for 6-8 weeks in the quiet winter period. But during this time, there’s still waves at the beach, and Australia is littered with great beaches. One aspect of kayaking that I really enjoy is getting out in nature, and the adventure of paddling down rivers. I find it far more rewarding being on a real … Continue reading
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Snowy River – Guthega Power Station to Island Bend

whitewater rapids on the Snowy River Despite the fact that there wasn’t much water around anywhere, 3 of us (Allen, Josh and Tristan) decided that a road trip was in order. We headed south towards Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains area. Jindabyne itself is quite interesting in the summer. It’s right next door to Australia’s main ski fields, and is a very busy place during the snow season. This was the first time I’d been to Jindabyne in summer, and it’s a total ghost town! There were so many shops, homes and other buildings that were shut up waiting for Winter. The Snowy River is in the midst of Australia’s largest engineering project, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. There is a large … Continue reading
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Shoalhaven River – Welcome Reef to the Power Lines

second drop of double falls on the Shoalhaven River I had spent the first two weeks of 2010 in New Zealand, kayaking nearly every day. There are rivers everywhere, and the issue we had was that the rain kept coming, meaning most rivers were too high to paddle! Back in Australia it’s a different story. We have to play the patient waiting game until the rains come and fill up the rivers, which usually only lasts a few days at best. Meaning rain on Monday, Tuesday or even Wednesday in most rivers will usually be well gone by the weekend. But when everything comes together and the rains fall in the right catchments at the right time, Australia has some great paddling. So after … Continue reading
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Toaroha River – The last of our NZ tour

Toaroha River We all slept well following a full day on the Styx River the previous day. Feeling refreshed we made plans to paddle the Lower section of the Toaroha River. This was to be another helicopter trip. This section is only a 3-4 hour trip, which was welcomed after a big day yesterday. When flying up the the put in, you’re taken up river to the furthest possible landing zone. However, there’s some nice rapids just upstream of this landing area. So what happens is, everyone is flown up with their kayaks to the landing area. Then all of the kayaks are attached to the underbelly of the helicopter and flown further upstream. The helicopter can’t … Continue reading
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Styx River – Helicopter Trip Number 1

helicopter flying in kayaks on the upper Styx River We returned to our accommodation after a great day on the Kakapotahi River. It wasn’t long before we began considering our options for the next day. It hadn’t rained all day, which meant that now we’d just have to play the waiting game as various rivers slowly dropped back down to a manageable level. After some thought and talk with some locals, we decided that the Styx River should have dropped down enough by the morning. In the morning we headed off for the Styx River. Driving over the bridge at the take out, the level looked good. Not only did this mean we would be paddling a great river, but this would also be our first … Continue reading
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Lower Kakapotahi River – A Day Late

Whitewater kayaking on the lower Kakapotahi River After paddling the Totara River, our plan for the following day was to paddle the lower section of the Kakapotahi River. That night it rained. When we got up in the morning, it rained. On the drive to the Kakapotahi River, it rained some more. Actually, rain would be a gross understatement, it was absolutely pouring down. There is meant to be a dirt road on the way to the put in. However, we were driving through more water than anything else. Along the way the car hit a very waterlogged patch of mud and tracked off the side of the road into a ditch. Fortunately, there was a nice big log in the ditch … Continue reading
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Totara River

Totara River bridge in flood After finishing up on the Hollyford River, we headed back to Queenstown for New Years Eve. We drove out for an afternoon paddle down the Routeburn River, but unfortunately it was far too low. On New Years Day we left for Hokitika on the West Coast. We parted ways with Al and Rebekah, who’d been in New Zealand for a while longer than us and were heading back home to Australia and the USA respectively. We also said goodbye to Lucas who had some mountaineering and other adventures lined up. That left Duncan, Marina, Tristan and Allen who continued on to the West Coast. We also met up with Brent, who had just arrived from … Continue reading
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Hollyford River Day 2 – Falls Creek to Marian Ck Swing Bridge

whitewater kayaking on the Hollyford River Yesterday we paddled the Hollyford River from Falls Creek to Gunn’s Camp. Today we decided to get up early and head to Milford Sound before going for a paddle later in the day. We caught one of the cruises that take you through Milford Sound. This is an amazing place, unlike anything I’ve seen before. It’s an extremely popular tourist destination, and for good reason. If you haven’t heard of it before, google it and have a look at some of the amazing images. After our morning cruise on Milford Sound, we headed back to the Hollyford River to paddle the Falls Creek to Marian Creek swing bridge section. We paddled this section the previous … Continue reading
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Hollyford River Day 1 – Falls Creek to Gunn’s Camp

whitewater kayaking on the Hollyford River After our first taste of New Zealand whitewater on the Shotover River we headed for the Hollyford River. The Hollyford River is only about 50km to the North West of the Shotover River. Although driving there isn’t so simple, it’s almost a 300km trip. From Queenstown you drive about 110km South, before heading West for 60km, then another 150km North. We stayed the night at Gunn’s Camp, which was absolutely swarming with blood sucking sand flies. We put up our tent as quick as possible and tried to hide from the swarm, but it didn’t to much good. Any spot on your body that wasn’t covered got bitten, and was itchy as hell for the … Continue reading
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Shotover River

Floating down the Shotover River in kayaks After arriving in Christchurch, New Zealand, and sorting out vehicles and gear, we headed south to Queenstown. When renting a vehicle in New Zealand, every company has a clause in their rental agreement that states you are not insured in any way on a select few roads. Having our rental for less than 24hours, we set off for our first taste of New Zealand whitewater, the Shotover River… Which happens to be down Skippers Canyon Rd… Which is one of the few prohibited roads. Driving to the put in, it’s easy to see why. The dirt road is extremely windy with scree covered mountains rising up on one side, and sheer cliffs on the other. … Continue reading
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