We had a group of six paddlers, none of who had paddled the Corang River before. We only knew about the river from reading a short 2 paragraph write up online. The Corang River flows into the Shoalhaven River towards the end of the powerlines section. Since all but one of our group had paddled this section multiple times before, it was an easy decision to try out something new.
Our group consisted of Alex, Allen, Andrew, Jaimes, Josh and Tristan. According to the brief write up we’d read, the Corang River is good to go up to about 1.5m on the Shoalhaven gauge at Hillview. The level was ~1.3m, so it seemed like we had a nice level for our first run down. Edit: I’ve since paddled the Shoalhaven River again at 1.3m, at 1.5m and at 2.0m on the Hillview gauge. Each time the Corang River had far less water than the trip in this write up. It needs some localised rain to get it going. So have a visual look at the put in bridge over the Corang River on Oallen Ford Rd. If it looks like enough water to paddle then it should be.
The first few hundred metres of the Corang is full of tree’s. Actually, this is probably an understatement, the river basically disappears through thick tree’s which are almost impenetrable. After finding your way through (or around) the tree’s, the river does open up somewhat.
The majority of the Corang Rivers’ rapids themselves are of grade II-III through narrow channels, generally with bushes on each side. There are some fun rapids, but there’s also quite a number of small bushes and tree’s to annoy you. There is one section, just past a flying fox into the water that gets choked out with tree’s a little again, which is easiest to portage around. Apart from this, if you have decent boat control skills in class III water, the bushes aren’t a problem.
The highlight of the Corang River is a steep gorge section a few hundred metres long. The gorge is toward the end of the Corang River, not far from the confluence with the Shoalhaven River. The gorge has a series of drops, which can be portaged on river left.
The big drop is actually a double staged drop. The first smaller drop has a very high boil line that looked quite sucky and unfriendly. The landing zone for the main part of the drop had water shooting off in all directions. It was obvious that the majority of the water was landing on a bunch of rocks. Apparently this drop has been run before. With lower water you may get more of a channeled line through this drop, but it would still be very committing.
We all portaged the big drop at the entrance to the gorge. Tristan and Alex put in below this and ran the rest of the gorge without issue. The rest of us joined them back for the final drop of the gorge.
Below the gorge there are a few fun rapids before you reach the Shoalhaven River. The Corang River flows into the Shoalhaven River in the pool below the Rodeo Falls. It’s possible to paddle upstream to the falls if you felt like running them before heading downstream to the usual take out at the power lines.
If you’re comfortable paddling the Oallen Ford to power lines section of the Shoalhaven River at ~1.3m, then think about giving the Corang River a go. It’s a more continuous stretch of river, but it’s also a bit more manky and has a few annoying bushes. Even if you don’t paddle the gorge, it’s a beautiful place and it’s worth the portage.
Enough talk, check out the video of the Corang River below!
Trip Date: 4th June 2010