Bielsdown River

Billings Road to Nymboida River

Verified! Steep Creek Advanced Waterfalls Summer Autumn CLASS IV CLASS V


Northern Tablelands and Northern Rivers. 60km west of Coffs Harbour

Contributed by Brian Cork (taken from his ‘Steep Creeks on the Dorrigo Plateau’)


Class: IV- V (P)

Season: Between December and May depending on the season with Easter usually being a fair bet for good water levels

Gradient: 12m/km

Time: 8hrs

Length: 14km on the Bielsdown and 6.5km on the Nymboida

Level: Above 1.1m

Gauge: Platypus Flat guage on the Nymboida

Shuttle: 1.5 hrs on 2WD dirt and sealed roads.

Character: Open valley, with long pools interspersed with steep drops.

Suits: Short River Running Kayak

Bielsdown River, Billings Road to Nymboida River. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.The only section of the Bielsdown River that is of high quality for paddling is this section from Billing’s Road to the Nymboida River with it being one of the best steep creeks in the region.

Although rumours exist of a descent in the mid 1970’s, the first recorded descent of this section was completed by Melbourne and Brisbane paddlers in early 1997. The section is a long day, taking most parties eight hours. Less experienced parties may even have to allow for 2 days.

The river is a drop and pool river, consisting of long, flat pools interspersed by some awesome grade 2,3,4 and 5 rapids. Many of the harder rapids consist of deep, clean waterfalls of 4 to 6m in height, all of which are runable. There is one almost definite portage, a 15m high waterfall, about two-thirds of the way down the Bielsdown, which is best portaged on the tight. Take care at the lead-in to this rapid. Once the Nymboida is entered, there are some of the best rapids the Nymboida has to offer still to paddle. Allow at least an hour for this section.

Bielsdown River, Billings Road to Nymboida River. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.As a rough estimate, if the water levels at Platypus Flat on the Nymboida are above 1.1m, then the water levels in the Bielsdown should be high enough. This depends on how localised the rainfall in the area is. This section is highly recommended.

Sean Marler A team of seven scored a run back in February 2001 as the Northern NSW region copped a lovely load of rain. Level for us was 1.28 at Platypus Flat which is pretty spot on but we thought it could go 10 - 20cm higher.

We paddled most rapids, Snakes and Ladders, Cellar Door, Twin Options, Lunch Plunge, Wiggles, Blistix Side Surf and Blind Faith.

We walked three rapids - 'Cliffys Clanger', this a 4-5 mt waterfall between a narrow rocky slot; 'Bielsdown Falls', a 15mt high waterfall; and 'Soccer Ball Falls', a nasty rooster tail.

One tip is to get on river early as we spent a night out due to lost time inspecting / portaging many of the rapids.

Alex Mcintyre 1 May 2009 Boris Everson (Dorrigo Plateau local) was one of the first to paddle down the Bielsdown River in the mid 1980's.

Putting In: From Dorrigo, head north on the road to Coramba, past Dangar Falls and after about 4km, and just before a bridge across the Bielsdown, turn left into Billings Road. Drive down this for just over 1km till just before the road leaves the river. There will be access to the river next to a pump unit. This is the put-in.

Taking Out: Drive back out to the Coramba Road and turn left. Follow this road to Megan, turn left to Cascade and then left again onto the Moses Rock Road. Follow this road for approx 5km and then turn left onto Cedar Road, follow this for approx 8km till a right turn signposted Platypus Flat is reach. From here it is only 500m to Platypus Flat and the take out.

Map: Dorrigo 1:25000

Camping: Good camping can be found at Platypus Flat on the Nymboida River.

Entry Date: 6 May 2001

Verified Date: 01 August 2001

Verified by: Sean Marler


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