|Play Run, Australia, North Western Tasmania, The Lea River|
What's it like
A nice little creeky / technical class 3-4 section of whitewater (grade 5 in flood conditions), good for people just learning to boof off waterfalls etc., but it can be quite scratchy and some sections require portaging as the rocks become too close to paddle between. The trip takes approximately 2 1/2 hours return (heaps of play time). This river is best paddled during spring and winter. The gradient of the river is approx. 30m per Km. There is 2.5Km of river from this entery point and 2 Km around the edge of the lake. The area is surrounded by steep bouldery rapids interspaced with deep drop pool. Pretty quickly the river narrows and enters a steeped-sided gorge. The rapids are probably half steep bouldery and half drop pools. All the larger drops are carved out of solid rock and combined with the steep walls of the gorge and the tannin coloured water make for a very spectacular run. If this entery point is running clear, high enough to (just) paddle first 200 meters, it is running at a nice height. Warning: If you paddle this river and you can't see heaps of little rocks on the surface of the creek, at the begin where you launch from ( be careful it could be grade V )! River conditions can change very quickly and if you continue nevertheless make sure to have a good guide. The launch area can be found on the otherside of a 2 + Km walk in over the top of the hill to the left of the private property gate, as some trees now block access to the forestry road.
The waterfalls on this creek are really cool providing heaps of eddies and places where you can just walk back upstream with very little effort. This means you can just shoot falls all day long :-) There are about 3 main waterfalls ranging from 2 to about 4 meters.
The best 2 are called 1st drop and plastic surgon. The river is very good as it never seems to need much rain and runs a lot of the time. The only negavites are the scratches and the distance you need to travel to get there. Plus the long paddle around the lake to return to the car.
[There is also the upper setcion of this river which is best paddled in winter and is at least grade IV. About half way down the river is an extremely high waterfall, Horsetail Falls, "still unrun"?. Portage on the right. This trip takes approx. 3 to 4 hours.]
How to get there
The lea river is situated between Cradle Mountain and Devonport (North Western Tasmania), not too far from Moina and Lake Barrington which is an international rowing course. The river is approximately 17 km South of Wilmot on Cradle Mountain Rd (C132), turn right onto Moina Rd. Follow this until you cross Ti Tree Creek and come to a locked gate, park near here. To the left of the gate is a vehicle track leading into a forested block with a gate constructed of barbed wire and wood supports (unwind wire to open gate). Follow this track past the gate ( it is still unadvisable to drive as there are often logs over the road), and up through the forest. Soon you will come to a logged / plantation area and the main logging road. Turn left and follow this road down the hill for a couple of hundred meters where a vehicle track leaves it and enters the forest on the right. Turn right and follow this track to the river. (This is a pretty big hike) The map you will require if unfamiliar with the area is "Forth 1:100 000". The put out area is right near your car but, you are not. You have to paddle around the edge of Lake Gairdnerto, to get back to the car, it about 2 Kms.
There is a lot of private land surrounding the access to this site so just be aware.
Each year there is the inaugural Lea River Xtreme race, which consists of a head
to head and a downriver race. This is usally heald around October, this year
the proposed dates are the 9th and 10th of October (04). If you are intrested
here is a link to a forum discussing some details.
Dave Allchin - Tassiepaddle
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