Class: Most Grade I, a few Grade II / III depending on river level.
Gradient: Upper reaches are 25 m/km, decreases to 5 m/km near Bellingen.
Time: Thora to Gordonville: 2.0 hrs; Gordonville to Bellingen: 3.5 hrs.
Length: Thora to Gordonville: 8 km; Gordonville to Bellingen: 11.5 km.
Level: Upper reaches for experienced to advanced paddlers; Thora to Bellingen is suitable for all comers, but portage the rapid near Rosewood Creek if required.
Character: Beautiful gravel-bed river that is suitable for a variety of canoeing day-trips.
Suits: Open Canadian Canoes & Kayaks
The small Bellinger watershed, on the north coast of NSW, hosts a beautiful gravel-bed river that is suitable for a variety of canoeing day-trips.
There is 70-km of accessible river, upstream of Bellingen.
The steepest parts of the river--thus the most rapids--are above Thora, accessed by Darkwood Road.
Because of the number of low-level bridges along Darkwood Road, there are plenty of options for paddling.
Between Thora and Gordonville Crossing (8-km), there is only one rapid (Grade 2) and lots of gravel races and pools. There are shallow sections that warrant the use of a pole.
Between Gordonville and Bellingen (11.5 km), there is only one rapid (Grade 1), and longer pools separate the gravel races. The tidal limit is at Bellingen bridge, or thereabouts.
The river can rise high very quickly, because the Dorrigo Escarpment that flanks the Bellinger promotes orographic rainfall.
Putting In: Various options: Gordonville; Thora; above Thora on the Darkwood Road
Taking Out: Bellingen Bridge
Entry Date: March 23 2011
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