Canoe the Blackwood River in Western Australia and enjoy beautiful scenery and wildlife, as well as wild swimming surrounded by forest.
- Battling the Blackwood River
- Enjoying the beautiful scenery and wildlife
- Exercise in the great outdoors
- Swimming in the cool forest river as a warm-down
The Blackwood River
So here’s the thing. You’re on your own and within driving distance of Nannup, Busselton or Margaret River, WA. Adventure is calling. A-S-A-P please! What’s a solo adventurer to do on such a short notice? Canoeing down the Blackwood River of course.
It’s massive fun if you’re with your other half, kids or mates but just as much when you go solo. Depending on your level of experience, the season and which part of the river you’ll take on – you’ll (literally) have your hands’ full paddling along anyway. But you could always mess around with your action cam or smartphone to immortalise the experience.
Blackwood River Canoeing
So you go see a man about a canoe. Hidden away in the forests between Nannup and Augusta is said man with lots of canoes and a lifetime of knowledge about the mighty river. Whatever your level experience or wishes he’ll know exactly which part of the river to take on. From an easy paddle to a rough ride – you can get it if you want it. It’s recommended to give him a ring up front though.
After an Aussie-style ‘short drive’ you’re dropped off in the middle of nowhere. There’s just you, your canoe and kilometres upon kilometres of sometimes treacherous Blackwood River, snaking through the mighty Jarrah forests of Western Australia’s South-West. The river fights you. Sudden rapids might capsize your canoe and more often than not you’re passing points of no return. You don’t have long to decide which side of the islands and bushes in the river to take. Every now and again you’re in for a surprise with massive fallen trees blocking your path. So you have to find some way around or over them, which means dragging your canoe over the trunks or riverbanks.
The riverbanks themselves are teeming with wildlife. Get ready to see and hear roos and emus spurting off into the often thick bushes when they hear you paddling around the bend. Or catch them staring at you (seemingly and rightfully amused) when you’re dragging your canoe over enormous trunks blocking the river.
Next spot the odd snake crossing the river and maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of the illustrious Nannup Tiger. Well maybe. You might as well win the lottery and get hit by lightning on the same day (go stand on a hill with an iron rod and lottery ticket during a thunderstorm to improve the odds.)
But hey – the extremely rare chance you might spot this believed-to-be extinct marsupial should be reason enough to keep on looking! And otherwise, Photoshop might help you out if you’re into cheap Instagram-fame.
After all that exercise a proper warming-down is done by a nice swim in the cool forest river. All in all I spent the better part of the day on the river for just $25.00. I did about 12km but stopped quite a few times to swim, shoot pictures/video and picnic. I went in the summer when the water level is way lower and the river a lot calmer than usual.
Blackwood River Canoeing also has a range of tour packages if you want something more than a ‘paddle about’. They have materials like vests, waterproof bags and can provide basic lessons and a safety brief if necessary. You can park your car on their terrain safely and they’ll drop you off at the right location. Head over to their site to see all options listed. If you contact them I recommend calling over email though.
- Bottled water (or you can fill up empty ones at the starting point)
- Sunscreen & hat
- Food (depending on how long you go)
- A change of clothes
- Old shoes
- Smartphone (to increase the odds of reception use Telstra)
- Action cam/camera gear
- Photographing /shooting video
How To Get There
Follow the Brockman Hwy for 24km. Turn right at Poison Swamp Rd. Follow the signs for Blackwood River Canoeing.
From Margaret River/Augusta
Head to Karridale then follow the Brockman Hwy. Turn left at Poison Swamp Rd. Follow the signs for Blackwood River Canoeing
Beginner to Intermediate