Snowy River Rafting Adventure – Willis To McKillops Bridge 2-5 December 2017

For this tour High Country Adventure Tours (HCAT) was logistical support for a group that was rafting the Snowy River from Willis Campground on the Vic/NSW border to the iconic McKillops Bridge in the Deddick Valley

This adventure was looming to be a real challenge for us as the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting up to 300mm of rain over 2 days for the East Gippsland region. With that forecast the Snowy River was predicted to be at flood level which meant the dynamic of the tour was to change very quickly. As a result of that forecast our boat order from Gippsland Recreation Outdoors doubled as a precaution. Big Red carried four fourteen foot white water rafts (45kgs each!) up on the roof whilst Andy’s Triton carried seven lighter sport rafts up on top. The mostly up hill and windy drive from Bruthen to Karoonda Park at Gelantipy was taken at a cautious pace.

Karoonda Park is an awesome property offering a full range of outdoor adventure and farm experiences for groups and individuals. Established early in the 1970’s as a Beef and Sheep farm the operation has expanded into School Camps Programs, Adventure Tourism, Family Cabins, Lodge and Motel Suite Accommodation, Hereford Bull Stud and Roadhouse.

After dropping the gear off to the waiting group at Karoonda Park we went for a recce run down to the Snowy to see if the level was suitable and most importantly safe for the group to begin their white water adventure. Much to our surprise the river had barely risen at all and the only side effect from the rain was a change of colour from the usual clear water to a muddy brown from the ground water runoff from the surrounding mountains. Whilst the region did not receive the forecasted 300mm, it received 110mm which is still a thorough soaking over 2 days! We headed back to Karoonda and reported back our find and the green light was given to hit the river the following morning!

As mentioned earlier our role for this tour was logistical support which means we are in the shadows of the group on the river. We conduct food drops downstream for the group to arrive at that evening and on their departure the following morning we take out the rubbish or any gear they no longer require and move onto the following camp. We are also a point of contact for any emergency that may arise on the river. We carry UHF & 27mhz radios as well as a Satellite Phone and a DeLorme inReach GPS messaging device to ensure we are contactable at all times.

For two days in moderate weather the group wound its way from Willis Campground to the camps at Gattamurh Ford and Red Rocks and through the remote White Box and Cyprus Pine rain shadow country to McKillop’s Bridge having an absolute ball on the grade 1 and 2 rapids of the mighty Snowy River!

Anthony & the HCAT Team
High Country Adventure Tours

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