After spending the first week in Australia study, surfing in Avoca or hiking in the Bouddi National Park, I went kayaking on the Easter weekend to the Barrington National Park, two and a half hours away.
Barrington Tops is located north-west of Sydney and at some places can get up to 1500 meters above sea level. The National Park offers outdoor sports enthusiasts all the possibilities of hiking, mountain biking and kayaking. Together with the founders of Paddledogs Australia , Alex, Rob and Courtney, the trailer was packed with boats on Friday and we drove to one of the many camping spots. Lonely gravel roads lead through the park as the sun goes down and the kangaroos jump over the meadows. Yes, Australia is so idyllic.
Paddle trips are a lot more difficult for Australian kayakers than for us in Europe. We has to travel 400 kilometres to remote areas to the rivers (it is also inconsistent and dependent on rainfall)where there are only gravel roads, the shuttle often takes a few hours and even in event of accidents or weather changes you are far away from civilization.
Paddle Dogs Australia was founded at the beginning of the year to connect and promote the Australian paddlers. On their blog they write about their trips, talk about competitions and they've even started their first sustainable clothing line. Whilst at the Barrington, from random paddlers we heard positive feedback that the blog actually informs, keeps up to date and brings together the paddlers from different areas.
Now back to the creek. After driving an hour to board the next morning from our camp site, we met with so many other boaters - families with toddlers, older couples and lots of young people.
The Barrington had a water level of 60 cm that day, prior to this, two weeks the level was at 2m (here you can find the video for a Paddle Dog training run at this level), and was well mobile, although a bit rocky in some passages. In whitewater kayaking, there are difficulties (or Grades) 1 to 6, from calm to impassable. The most difficult places along the parts of the Barrington we paddled are rated with 3, so basically a great stream for beginners and families. But for us it was an incredibly beautiful experience, as the Barrington meanders through the Australian bush, in the "Canyon" you can have a snack on flat rocks, in slower places jumping or playing in the waves. As with our exit point, some farmers allow camping on their grounds right on the water and we'd end the day there.
After driving another section on Sunday that is shorter but offers more places to play and practice, we went home again and spent the rest of the Easter weekend enjoying the sun by the sea and the team of the Avoca Surf Life Saving Club had an internal SurfSki race, in the lead up to Aussies.
I really enjoyed getting to know a part of Australia from the kayak, as I also know many parts of Europe and I just love the way of life around paddling. Whether you are experienced kayakers or want to do a day trip, I can only recommend it to you. Book a trip through an outdoor organizer or contact the Paddle Dogs and have a great time!
Follow Ronja's blog as she travels the world experiencing new cultures, hiking beautiful mountains and paddling the worlds most diverse rivers.