Packraft Paddle from Pine Island // Murrumbidgee River (NSW)

With a hikeable loop track alongside the river, this is the perfect place to hone your packraft-craft.


Highlights

  • Class lll rapids
  • Easy access to the put-in
  • See parts of Red Rocks gorge that not many people get to see

The Lowdown

Generally running June through until October, the Pine Island to Kambah Pool section of the Murrumbidgee River is packed full of thrilling rapids and GORGEous scenery. It is normally run by kayaks and other regular white-water craft but with a track running alongside the length of the river it is an ideal packraft loop.

From the put-in, the river eases you into the day, with some fun class l and II rapids interspersed with calm sections that let you taken in the flora and fauna of the Murrumbidgee River Corridor. From here though things really start to get fun.

The start of Red Rocks Gorge is pretty easy to distinguish and the initial rapid MUST be portaged on river left. After this short portage are a series of really fun pool-drop, class III rapids that you should take your time on and really enjoy.

Kayakers normally continue down to Kambah pools to take out but it is pretty much flatwater after the gorge and not too much fun. However, if packrafting the take-out is on river right at the gorge lookout (green hand railing on the cliffs on river right) which, again is pretty easy to distinguish.

After packing up, scramble up the rocks to the lookout, check out the view and jump on the track heading south. The track back to Pine Island criss-crosses farmland and nature reserve high above the river which gives a whole new perspective on the section. It is well-maintained and will take you about two hours to get back to the carpark.

All up, this five hour day offers a bit of everything, calm contemplative sections of river, white-knuckle rapids, views galore and a no-fuss shuttle. So next time there is a deluge, get down there and give it a go.

Essential Gear

  • Any type of white-water craft e.g. raft, kayak or packraft
  • PFD
  • Helmet
  • River rescue gear
  • A hiking pack.

How To Get There

From Canberra City take Drakeford Drive south until Tuggeranong, then turn right at the easy-to-find sign.

Activities

  • Packrafting/kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Fishing

Difficulty

Intermediate. You need to be comfortable on class lll rapids but the pool-drop nature of the river means that rescues/recovery are very easy.

Distance Covered/ Duration

7km paddle, 8km walk. 5 hours.

Elevation Gain

Little to no elevation gain.

 

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