Avon River

Huggett’s Crossing (Navigation Ck) – Wombat Flat Crossing (including The Channels)

Verified! Intermediate Wilderness Trip Rain Run! CLASS II CLASS III


Gippsland. 46km North of Sale (which is 213km East of Melbourne)

Contributed by Julien Atherstone


Class: II - II+ (III+)

Season: Heavy Localised Rain > 50mm (as it is in a rain shadow usually easterly rain)

Time: 4 - 6 hours

Level: Above 2.0m, 2.5m is an excellent level.

Gauge: Avon River at the Channels.

Shuttle: 1 hour one way on rough 2WD tracks (recommend 4WD when wet, which is when you paddle it)

Character: Open valley with short bedrock rapids and one tight, short gorge.

Suits: River Running kayaks, canoes and inflatables

Being the sad little trickle in the big river bed that you always drive over at Stratford when going to East Gippsland, to catch this river with some water in it is a rarity. With its catchment in the Avon Wilderness this is another of the Gippsland streams that is in a rain shadow, with the right Easterly weather pattern, though, it can come up to be a very big river.

Beginning at the very beautiful, and quite remote camping area of Huggett’s Crossing the is basically drop pool with some nice rapids with some good play waves. Trees are a feature in all of the rapids but there always seems to be clear passages that aren’t too difficult.

After approx 2 km, the biggest feature of this run is encountered, ‘The Channels’. A popular swimming and picnic area in summer, with water in it, it is basically a series of 4 drops, the last being the hardest, that descend into a short 3m wide gorge with vertically walls up to 3m high. The approach to this is obvious and portaging and scouting is easiest from the river right. A foot pad goes all the way along on the right. This could also be used as a place to start and finish a trip as there is a picnic area and road access up the hill on the right. (see put in notes)

From the Channels onwards the river continues with fairly regular, interesting rapids for the next 5 –6 km before the gradient flattens out and the pools get bigger.

Paddling this river at high flows is definitely a rare opportunity that is worth the effort, the remote setting, the lack of willows and blackberries and the fun rapids will give you a good day.

I would think that in summer it would be an interest float and drag in canoes.

Jean Dind July 24, 2011 - Did the Avon today. Level was good @ 2.5m, nice day out.

Seems like one of the tracks has changed names: Dermody's Rd was signposted Channels Road, but the road going down to the channels is actually 100m further on and is called Channel TRACK (confusing, isn'it?)

That said, Dermody / Channel Road also goes down to the river (take a left at T intersection about 1.5kms in from Green Hill Track) and is fine to use as an alternate take-out. Hope this makes sense.

Putting In: With the mass of unnamed track in the area this is not always easy. From Sale head North 16km to Maffra and then West 8km to Tinoramba. At Tinamba turn right and head North again crossing the Macalister and then through Newry, 5km after Newry, turn left into Warragul – Toms Creek Road, which is also signposted ‘The Channels’. 6km further turn left into Green Hill Track (also signposted The Channels), and left again after 500m, (also signposted The Channels). 3km further on Dermody’s Rd (goes down to the river) leaves on the right and then 100m further ‘The Channel’s’ Road leaves on the right as well. If you want to go and check out the channels before running it the carpark is 2.5km down this road. To get to Hugget’s Crossing continue on Green Hill Track for a further 8.5km till the river is reached. This is the put in.

Taking Out: This is not easy either, head back past the Channels Road, past the 2 Dermody’s Road intersections and past Boundary Track. About 400m after coming out of the bush an unnamed road leaves on the left heading east, follow this for 2km and turn left again. 500m after this turn right and 700m after this turn left into Mather’s Lane. (confused yet?) 1.6km down Mather’s Lane turn left again into Knackers Road and 2km down this turn left into Wombat Road. 500m down here you will come to a low-level bridge over the Avon which is the take out.

Camping: There is great camping at the put in and you could camp at The Channels, although it would be rough, on the river there would be some good sandy beaches to camp on.

Entry Date: 17 August 2001

Verified Date: 24 July 2011

Verified by: Jean Dind


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