Class: III (IV)
Season: Any time of the year there is rain to get it flowing.
Time: Allow 8 - 10 hours
Length: Approx. 35km
Level: Min: 1.6m; Max; 2.4m. 1.8 to 1.9m is a great level to get to know river
Gauge: Buchan River at Buchan
Shuttle: 2WD access but in wet weather a 4WD may be needed. In dry weather a 4WD is a must if you want to avoid the 2km walk in. A chainsaw should be carried for the put in drive in case the road has not been cleared for a while
Character: Cross between a river and a creek. Check out the video below
Suits: Kayaks and rafts. At lower levels (even down to 1.25m some people may enjoy the section in 2 person inflatables such as Incepts or Nomad Mikes)
This is a run destined to become a classic, and at a good flow is a little like the Murray Gates in difficulty and nature. Jack Hodge paddled this section many years ago and raved about it to close friends and locals but the section remained a secret from the wider paddling community for many years. After speaking with him I paddled it solo in 2009 (I went from Glenmore road all the way to Buchan township).
It has since been run at a range of levels from 1.2m (very bony) to 2.4m (flowing hard). 1.8m - 1.9m is a good level to get to know the river. There is a big difference between these levels and 2.1m when the river starts to feel a lot more alive. We took a 14 foot raft down at 2.1m with a good crew and kayak support in 2015.
It is a big day so start early. There are not many options to get out (seldom used hard 4WD tracks) but you may be able to get out through private property on Gillingall (the farmland that meets river around half way down the run time wise and is visible on a satellite map). Gillingall is often a good spot for lunch.
The first more main rapid is Freeman's folly. Be wary that there is a crack in the boulder of this one which if run on the left may wedge a kayak and kayaker (usually run right). From here numerous high quality grade 2 & 3 (a couple grade 3+ / 4 at high levels) are encountered. 3 very significant rapids are come across on a right hand bend about 4km past Holy Hell Creek and about 1.5km before the Mt. Dawson track.
These rapids in order are: Holy; Buchan & Hell. The coordinates for the top of the 3 large rapids close together (Holy, Buchan & Hell): -37.43987,148.14853. They may be grade 3+/4 depending on the level. Be on the lookout for the last eddy on the left before Holy which is come across after a corridor of trees. At 2.1m it is fine to catch with a raft but if you miss it you may get a surprise and find yourself muttering Holy Buchan Hell.
Holy has a lot of water compressing into a wall but is generally quite runnable. Buchan has a very nasty sieve at lower levels on the left. Below 2m it may be run through the narrow chute on the far right. Above 2m the left side is possible and gives you a turbo boost off the shallow water at the bottom. Hell is a ledge which has an irregular hydraulic at the bottom. It has been run left, middle and right. Have a look as it depends on the level. The nice rock protrusion on the right which launches you past everything can be hard to get to at some levels due to the eddy / pillow above it. Be aware that the landing below is not that deep.
Putting In: Greenhills track off Glenmore Road. 2km walk in from top of Greenhills track unless you have 4WD and track is dry.
Taking Out: Mick Roberts bridge - https://goo.gl/Y4Vtgd
Google Map: https://goo.gl/5n8Yh1
Camping: Camp / stay in Buchan or bush camping on the flat near where Glenmore Road meets the Buchan. The best option is to stay at Karoonda Park the night before your run (food, camping, accommodation and fuel available here)
Entry Date: 30 August 2015
Verified Date: 30 August 2015
Verified by: Lynton Hill
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