Mckillops Bridge To Buchan River Junction
An Update and summary of the trip from a whitewater paddlers perspective.
The snowy is a long trip and has flat water sections , Great scenery a few big rapids . Need three days food plus one for emergency. Don’t do this section if you are after big water- It is the scenery and wilderness that makes this section.Put in point is Mckilops bridge and is a 8 hr trip from Sydney with bad roads from JindabyneCar shuffle was around 4hrs and you should have enough cars at end ( Buffalow ?) to transport all back in one go . One car has to do extra hour down to Mckilops bridge to get the shuffle car ( the worst section of road)RiverWater was warm with brown tinge . We tried to get drinking water from side creeksFirst day was lots of wave trains and river moved well . All grade 2 rapids2nd day was the gorge with about 4-5 good rapids that we looked at before paddling - all were portable, but grade 3 paddlers would be able to do 3rd day is flat water and about 25km to paddlePlenty of camping on sandy beaches Water LevelCurrent level is 0.7m (20 march 2016)River guide has levels but I think 1m is minimum (0.8 you could get through, BUT flat water predominates) Levels were off the Mackillop’s bridge gaugeAt 1.8 it is getting big ( the gorge rapids), but you could portageWouldn’t do over 2.5m,This reporter "loved the paddle) Excert from NSW Canoe Guide. The Guide tends to overstate the Grade of the rapid.
There are four gorges in this most scenic section of the Snowy. The mountains which form a backdrop to the river give a vivid sense of isolation. The many sandy beaches make for excellent camping. While there is quite a lot of flatwater paddling in this trip, this provides plenty of time for photography, enjoying the scenery, contemplation, swimming (in summer) and having a breather between exciting rapids. The first gorge is approximately 3 hours' downstream of McKillops Bridge. There are two grade 2-3 rapids in the 3km long gorge which will take nearly an hour to paddle through. Large rounded granite boulders in the river and on the banks signal the end of this gorge, after which there are some good campsites. Tulloch Ard Gorge, the most famous of the Snowy River gorges is reached after another 2-3 hours' paddling time. This gorge has the biggest and most spectacular rapids of the trip. A bouldery grade 3 rapid, which occurs after the walls of the gorge close in noticeably, marks the beginning of Tulloch Ard. Soon after the "A-frame" is encountered. Two adjacent, large boulders in the middle of the river form an A-shaped crevice between them, which would be deadly if swept into. There is a narrow chute on the far left of the boulders where it is possible to paddle around the left boulder. Veer quickly to the right after exiting as there are rocks immediately downstream. At high river levels, the "A-frame" boulders are underwater. A short distance downstream is a two-stage grade 4 rapid. The first stage is a drop of about 2m followed by a short stretch of fast water, then a slightly smaller drop into a powerful shoot. The last big rapid in this gorge is a grade 3-4 series of drops and stoppers. This rapid is rocky at low water levels and boisterous at high levels. It is advisable to inspect all rapids in Tulloch Ard before attempting them. The two big rapids can be portaged if necessary, the first on the left bank and the second on the right. After Tulloch Ard the river widens and many campsites appear. The third gorge is 3 hours' paddling time below Tulloch Ard, just upstream of "New Guinea". This rocky gorge has two rapids of grade 3 standard which should be inspected. An abrupt limestone cliff with blackboys growing along the ridges, where the river sweeps to the left, marks the area known as "New Guinea". There are few rapids of any note below this point. Jacksons Crossing on the right bank is just downstream. The fourth and last gorge has no rapids but steep cliffs rising 30m straight from the river. Buchan River Junction is approximately 2-3 hours' paddling time from this gorge, mostly through cleared grazing land with steep hills in the background.