Part 1. (Wandle River to Pykes Bridge).
On this trip, we Kayak from the confluence of the Wandle River to the confluence Hellyer River on the Arthur River.
As we do this trip over a few days due to the long distance (24 km) we also fit in a little bit of sightseeing and revisit some favourite spots on the way from transporting car and Kayaks to start finish points.
We start our trip at the Confluence of the Wandle and Arthur River and on the way stop at one of our favourite waterfalls in Tassie to have a look and get a photo. This waterfall is made up of about 5 different sections and goes from the top of a hill to the bottom each part is nearly seasonal some look better with the full flow and other parts look better with a gentle flow and fungi seems to grow here all year around too.
After taking in the sites we continue on to our starting point, unfortunately, you can’t drive all the way down to the confluence as there is a massive tree fallen over the road so we had to drag the kayaks the last 300m or so ducking and weaving through other fallen trees. Then just before we were about to jump in the kayaks and start Jacinta found an orchid that we had not seen before.
and I found some more fungi.
After this we finally got moving.
The Arthur River along this section was rather peaceful and calm with only and handful of rapids to contend with for the most. On the way, we stopped in at a couple of the more major creeks to have a bit of a look for some waterfalls but didn’t have much luck initially but was still worth the effort as we found a very tall orchid and a few good photo shots.
From here the River started to get a little more lively and the rapids were getting closer together which made it a bit more fun and challenging. After covering such a distance without finding a waterfall we were a bit surprised but then just as you give up hope of finding one, one will just jump out in front of you… Literally.
Flowing directly into the Arthur River.
Not long after the surprise waterfall we arrive at Pykes Bridge and make the journey back to pick up the Zook and on the way seen echidna after echidna. Normally only see a handful each year but think we saw about 6 in a matter of a km here.
Base Camp for the duration.
Part 2 (Pykes Bridge to Hellyer River)
I’m not sure why but I had been worrying about this section ever since we decided to do the trip. I think it may have been because of the isolation once we started there was no going back and there was no out other than a very long bush bash in water shoes or a long swim / walk down the river. The other section didn’t worry me as there was an old forestry track following the river most of the way but this side had basically nothing and I had to leave the Zook in the middle of absolutely nowhere overnight so we had transport back to camp after we finished.
The setup for this trip also took some time as we had a good hours drive to take the Zook down to the confluence (Hellyer) and as we had the cruiser I wasn’t to keen on taking shortcuts. Although as the crow flys its only about 7km from where we were camped its about 30km of a forstry track to get there. We broke the trip up though be visiting another favourite waterfall on the way and were quite surprised as to what was happening at it. To the left is the actual creek or fall where the water should be coming from but it is dry. The water is coming out of a spring which was quite unbelievable given the location.
The next day we continued our trip starting from Pykes Bridge and it took all but a km ok kayaking before my fears became a reality. The Kayak took one to many hits on rocks and got a hole in the bottom of it and I basically very slowly started sinking at this point i was stressing out a little and getting angry about the stupid design of the kayak (in one particular spot) so I took a photo to try and calm down and start thinking again. After I gathered my thoughts I jammed a bit of plastic into the hole… This lasted all but one rapid until it failed and I started slowly sinking again so back to the drawing board. Luckily I had a rag that I use for a bit of protection when I tie the kayaks to the car and I jammed that in there after a bit of poking on proding with sticks and stones. I wasn’t convinced this was going to last so I kept checking it after every rapid and in the end got sick of checking as it worked a treat. After I realised I wasn’t going to sink I got back to enjoying the trip. The first location to check out before the incident was Parrawe Creek junction. I thought there may have been a waterfall up there but all we found was a butterfly.
The Arthur River along this whole section was spectacular and generally pretty easy going
This section was about 12km long and I thought it might have taken most of the day to complete but it wasn’t long after lunch and we were at the end but right where we had to go a Tiger Snake decided it wanted to go to the exact same spot so we had a bit of a standoff.
I have heard an old wife’s tale that snakes have bad eyesight… I say bullshit… He was watching our every move even when we were in the kayaks in the water. In the end, he won the standoff and we retreated to the other side of the river to give him a bit of time to warm up and disappear before we had to go that way and it gave us a chance to check out halfway creek.
After we gave him time to move on we dragged the kayaks up the bank and loaded them onto the Zook. It was at this time that I thought Jacintas Kayak was about twice as heavy as mine… Turns out hers had failed in exactly the same spot.
As we started the long drive back to camp I was thinking to myself we have seen a lot of wildlife on this trip (more than usual) and was thinking I would really love to see one of those owls with the scary faces anyway I forgot about it and got around a few more corners and seen this massive lump of a bird that flew out of the trees as we came along. It took me a couple of seconds to realise but it was the exact same owl I was thinking of and it was very skittish I could only get to about 200m of it before it flew off but I managed to get 1 shot of it and it was looking directly at me sending a shiver up my spine in the process.
After being rather pleased with making it without sinking in the Kayaks and getting a chance to get a photo of an owl and snake I decided to take the shortcut back to camp and let the Zook do what it does best…
Hope you enjoyed.
Full video here.