Class: III - IV
Season: Late Winter, Spring, Early
Time: 4 - 6 hrs
Length: 16 km
Level: 0.8 - 1.8m
Gauge: Murray Gates gauge. Add 0.35m to Bigarra (Indi) for estimate.
Shuttle: Epic. 2 1/2 hrs each way. Get a driver from town.
Character: Remote medium volume continuous river through fantastic
Suits: Experienced paddlers of all whitewater craft.
So you've heard of "The Gates!". As you might expect of rivers that are commercially rafted on a consistent basis the Gates has a reputation. Tales of epic and woe may be heard from the guides holding up the Khancoabn bar each Spring, and every rock, eddy and wave has been named at least once!
But really... the Gates isn't nearly as hard as suggested (especially by previously written guidebooks - Class V & VI!?!) and is a fantatic run with all rapids paddleble at all levels.
So... after the put in, the first rapid of note is encountered in the first 500m - "The Wall" (Class II+ - III) or "Pink Floyd". If you can't paddle this then its time to put on your walking shoes and GO BACK! Or you could paddle a couple of kms to the last access track, Murray Gates gauge tk (4WD)on RR 100m upstream of the gauge itself.
After the gauge another km or two of easy water brings you to the "Gates". Two cliffs on either side of the river with a creek (Baxter Ck) tumbling from RR.
Here the fun begins with "1st Rapid" (II+ - III) or "Headbanger" or if you like "Bobsled". A short pool (a relative term at higher water) before "Guides Mistake" (III).
150m of easy water brings you to brink of "South African Swim". The first Class III - IV rapid easily scouted on RL.
150m of Class II+ - III leads into "Sharks Tooth". A difficult to scout 100m Class III - IV rapid that finishes with the ubrupt drop and undercut rock of "The Thing" (III+).
The pace eases for a while with "Long Island" (III) leading to "Rockgarden" (II+), a bony scrape in low water, finishing with "Himalayan Wrap" (III). All up about 400m.
A couple more pools bring you to a classic section of whitewater. "Tanks Garage" (III - III+) followed by "Hole in the Head" (III - III+) straight into "Hermits Creek" (III+ - IV) finishing with "Easy Over" (III). A small campsite lurks here in the undergrowth between Little Hermits Ck and Hermits Ck on RL. A pool to pick up the pieces before "Swimmers Joy" (III - III+) and "Gorgeous George/Gorge" (III - III+).
After all this fun 200m of easy water brings you to "Roller Coaster" (III - III+) with a nasty sieve on RL.
A further 400 - 500m and "Jellyfish Rock" (III) is to be found, the last rapid of note in the section.
The next 10km has plenty of fun II+ and III to keep you entertained for a couple of hours before you get to the take outs. The first encountered is at Little Bunroy Ck ("Little Niche") and is private access with many of the rafting companies pulling out here. A further 1/2 to 1 hr downstream is Bunroy Ck and 2 - 4 hrs further Damms bridge. Negotiations with the landowner are continuing at "Little Niche" so check with the rafters before taking out here so you don't stuff it up for everyone else!
The Gates have been paddled at levels well above 1.8m, but good knowledge of the river is needed as the whole thing turns into a Class III+ - IV+ steam train with little time to scout and a BLOODY long swim home!
During winter many of the access tracks are locked by the NPWS so it's best to check at Khancoban before driving in. Also, during heavy rain many of the tracks at the takeout become Class IV.
Good sections of easy whitewater can be had by beginners from Tom Groggin picnic ground to Grassy Flat. Mostly class II with one class III drop ("Riley's Ride) as an easy half day trip. Also from Little Bunroy Ck to Damms brdige as a easy class II day trip. Both these trips have easy shuttles.
Putting In: Grassy Flat Tk
Taking Out: Little Bunroy Ck (Private Access) or Bunroy Ck
Camping: All over the place.
Entry Date: 9th Feb 2002
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