The cost to attend the four day event is:
$70 per adult (18 and over)
$30 per older child (10 to 17 years old)
$0 per young child (under 10 years)
This includes 3 nights of camping fees, an event insurance fee through Canoe Tasmania, a venue fee and short-term employment of a couple of specialist whitewater/river rescue/packrafting instructors for the organised sessions. If you wish to stay indoors in the dormitories and sleep in bunk beds (mattresses supplied) then there is an additional $30 fee per person. There is no reduced cost if someone wishes to only attend for a shorter period of time.
How to Register for the Event
The event is limited to a maximum number of people in order to ensure that the Meetup is both manageable and a success. There is also the issue that the accommodation venue can only cope with a certain number of people. As such we encourage local packrafters to sign up as soon as possible rather than leaving it to the last minute and potentially missing out.
To register and pay please use the following link which is managed by Canoe Tasmania:
Insert link here
Queries regarding the actual registration process should be directed to the Canoe Tasmania Development Officer (Sandra Kent) via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacting the Organisers
To contact the organisers regarding the Meetup please post questions in the Facebook group or email us directly via:
Mark Oates: email@example.com
John McLaine: firstname.lastname@example.org
For registration issues please contact the Canoe Tasmania Development Officer (Sandra Kent) at email@example.com
There are very few facilities located near the accommodation and paddling venues. The area is reasonably remote with it being approximately 30 minutes drive to the nearest, very small, country town of Mole Creek. Deloraine is the closest larger town and has a decent large supermarket but it is almost an hour’s drive away. There is no phone coverage near the accommodation venue or nearby rivers with the nearest being 15 minutes drive away.
Climate and River Conditions
According to www.discovertasmania.com.au
Tasmania has four distinct seasons with the warmest months being December to March. The average maximum daily summer temperatures are between 17 and 23 degrees Celsius and winter daily temperatures sit between 3 and 11 degrees Celsius. Rainfall varies dramatically across the island. Hobart, with an average of 626 millimetres (25 inches) is Australia’s second-driest capital city (after Adelaide), while on the west coast an annual average of 2,400 mm (95 inches) ensures the rainforest thrives.
Tasmania’s rivers are generally short, steep and rocky with many only easily paddle-able for short periods after rainfall. As such it can be very hard to plan paddling trips in advance for specific dates, seasons or durations. The key to paddling in Tassie is to be flexible and to have multiple options. Given that Tasmania is constantly battered by the heavily water laden winds of the Roaring Forties, parts of Tasmania get a LOT of rain (particularly the north west, west and south west). Heavy rainfalls can occur at any time of the year. Unfortunately many major river systems in Tasmania are dammed for hydroelectric purposes however there are still a large number of wild rivers to be explored if you are willing to work for them.
To check river levels and weather forecasts see: http://www.bom.gov.au/tas/?ref=hdr
Some additional river height info can also be found through Hydro Tasmania at: https://www.hydro.com.au/water/water-flow-and-levels
Further information will be released closer to the event however there will be some short technical skills sessions run on the Mersey WW Course by Australian Canoeing Whitewater Instructors/Guides and Advanced WW Instructors. Participants will be able to sign up for a particular session on both the Friday afternoon and/or the Saturday. Friday’s activities will focus on safety skills and rescue practice whilst Saturday will be based around improving technical paddling skills. Participation in these skills sessions is entirely optional. Group sizes will be capped and based on ability level.
What to Bring
You will need to bring all food and supplies for the entire period as there are no shops at all nearby. Participants can opt to bring their own tents and full camping gear or to stay in bunks (mattresses supplied) in the dormitories at additional cost.
Packrafts & Paddling Gear
For any of the moving water trips participants are required to wear a non-inflatable PFD and a whitewater helmet.
Mersey River Whitewater Course
See http://tas.canoe.org.au/info_uppermersey/ for details about the nearby training venue for paddlers. This is 5-10 minutes drive from the Arm River Camp. It includes a 4.5 km Wildwater Course as well as a Slalom Course and is grade 2-3. Hydro Tasmania intend to release water for us on this section of the river for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It provides an excellent training venue for aspiring whitewater paddlers and offers all levels of paddlers the opportunity to improve their technical paddling skills.
The Mersey White Water Regional Reserve, formerly managed by Forestry Tasmania, is now managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service as part of the 2013 Tasmanian Forest Agreement. Note that this area of the upper Mersey River between Lake Parangana and Lake Rowallan was severely burnt in the January 2016 fires with further impacts occurring during the floods of June 2016. Parks and Canoe Tasmania, with support from local paddling clubs, are currently working on repairing and improving the site.
Potential Other Paddling Options
Paddle Fisher River – Hydro release 10:30 am – 4:30 pm (grade 3)
Upper Mersey (Lees Paddocks to Pine Hut Plain) – 1.5-2 hr beautiful forest walk, grade 2 with portages; 3 large waterfalls)
Lea River – grade 3+ canyon
Walls of Jerusalem – beautiful walk with alpine lakes
Other options are more dependent on local rain but potentially could include:
Little Fisher River
Upper Pencil Pine
We are currently looking for sponsors for this event. If you are interested in supporting the inaugural Australian Packraft Meetup please contact the organisers. Ideally we are hoping to get some useful prizes together that can be given out as part of a raffle/spot prize competition.
Hiring Packrafts/WW Helmets etc
All of the following will hire packrafting and paddling gear and potentially ship it to you:
Alex McWhirter (Hobart based): 0438 287 407 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wildabout Packrafting (Devonport based): 0467 648 989 or email@example.com
Packraft Australia (Melbourne based): www.packraftaustralia.com
Overseas visitors are very welcome to attend and at this stage will be outside of the capped number. Visitors should note though the need to book flights and car hire early due to it being a very popular time of year to visit Tasmania. Tasmania is well serviced by Jetstar and Virgin Australia with many daily flights from Melbourne, fewer from Sydney, and occasionally from Brisbane and Coolangatta (Gold Coast). Qantas also flies to Tasmania but its services are less frequent than Jetstar and Virgin Australia.
You have a choice of three arrival airports:
- Hobart Airport is in southern Tasmania. It is the furthest airport from the venue of the Meetup, but may be a good option as a touring base for before or after the meetup. Hobart is the state capital; it is a very pleasant city and a great hub for adventures in southern Tasmania.
- Launceston Airport is in northern Tasmania, and is the most central of the airports; Launceston is an attractive regional city, well located to access a lot of Tasmania’s best natural environments from east to west. It is also reasonably close to the venue of the Meetup.
- Devonport Airport is the closest to the Meetup, but it is smaller, with less frequent services. Devonport is a very small city, more like a country town; however it is large enough to enable you to collect whatever supplies you need for your adventures.
It is imperative that overseas visitors are aware of the dangers of Invasive Species and Bio-Security as there is a very real danger that one wet item of gear could ultimately destroy Tasmania’s pristine rivers. Overseas visitors will need to have all of their paddling gear checked prior to getting on the water.
Invasive Species and Bio-Security
Tasmania is blessed with generally pristine water that you can drink straight from the river. We are also free from many pests and invasive species that other countries and even states have to deal with. Everyone MUST ensure that they CHECK CLEAN DRY their BOAT and ALL PADDLING GEAR prior to entering Australia and Tasmania! There is a very real danger of someone introducing Didymo into our rivers which would DESTROY our rivers as we know them. One single cell in a single drop of water is enough to transmit Didymo. Please be responsible and do the right thing. To learn more about what you need to do everyone please read the following link!
Film Festival Night
We are currently seeking suitable outdoor adventure films that participants would like to present at the film night. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a suitable film.
Other Rivers Elsewhere in Tasmania
The best resource for finding out about other rivers to paddle is: http://paddletasmania.canoe.org.au however please note that this online guide is based on very old information (originally published as a book in 1984) and that some of the details are now out of date (particularly in regards to access).
Many paddlers come to Tasmania to specifically paddle the Franklin River however this is both a serious proposition as well as a potential issue. The issue being that some groups are not well enough prepared for it but more so that it cannot handle large numbers of people or groups at the one time. Camping is quite limited and serious environmental impact can occur if numbers are too large or groups ill prepared. The expectations these days is that all groups carry out their waste on the Franklin due to the large numbers of people staying at a small number of campsites. The river is heavily used by commercial groups throughout the summer period and it should be noted that most campsites will not fit more than one group. Packrafters should ideally try to limit their group to a group of 6 or so in order that they can fit in some of the smaller, less frequented campsites. The Franklin should NOT be attempted by packrafters when there is any chance of flooding as high level trips are notoriously dangerous with the river known to rise 8+ metres overnight. For more info see:
http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=1340 or get a copy of the following book: The Ever Varying Flood (2nd Ed.) by Peter Griffiths and Bruce Baxter. Bruce runs Paddle Sports Australia and these days imports and sells packrafts alongside rafting and whitewater gear. Likewise check out the following link for their story and lots of additional links to Franklin stories and info: https://huckanddyno.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/kayaking-the-franklin-part-1-prelude/
The organisers of the Meetup encourage paddlers to consider other options such as the:
There are many other wild river options but you will need to do your homework, starting with Paddle Tasmania; study lots of maps and do research, research, research.
Online Mapping Resource
The Tasmanian Government provides an excellent free online mapping program called the LISTmap. This is a great resource for planning trips down here.
Other Activities in the Area (provide links for each of these)
Other Activities in Tasmania in January
There are lots of great events that take place in Tasmania during January!
- The internationally renowned Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race generally sees yachts into Hobart from the 28th Dec to around the 1st Jan. Seeing the large fleet of 100+ yachts from this and other races is an inspiring experience.
- Nearby in Hobart is ‘The Taste of Tasmania Food and Wine Festival’ which runs from the 28th December to the 3rd January.
- The Falls Festival at Marion Bay is an excellent music and arts festival near Hobart from 29th December to the 1st January.
- The Cygnet Folk Festival runs from the 12th to the 14th January.
There are many more worthwhile events so check out www.dicovertasmania.com.au for further ideas.