Denison River

Canoe Tas Inc

West Coast

Denison River

Lake Gordon to Sir John Falls Station


Distance: 55 km,(29 km on the Denison & 26 km on the Gordon. 

Average Grade: grade 2 . 

Peak Grade: Up to Grade 4 in the gorges. 

Difficulty: Grade 3. 

Paddling Time:  3-4 days. Half a day to paddle across Lake Gordon, 1 Long day for the walk in, 1 long day on the Dension and 1 day on the Gordon. Add more for exploration.

Entry Point:  Paddle/ boat up Lake Gordon to Pearce Basin, GR 198 796. From here a route exists into the Denison River (approx 3.5 km). It gets a couple of groups a year and follows high ground, look for the pink tape. (Sudsman has used it)
The walk-in is a major undertaking. It may only be 3.5km but with fully loaded creek boats through sometimes dense scrub up a steep, slippery hill it can take up to 12hrs of hard work. make sure you take enough water with you (to drink!). It is often easier to carry your gear on you back and drag the empty boat.

Exit Point: Sir John Falls, Lower Gordon. From here you would need to arrange a special charter. The rafters use either the sea plane or a yacht out of Strahan. Alternatively you can paddle another 20 km of flat water to Heritage Landing on the Lower Gordon you can (by arrangement) catch the regular tourist ferry. 

Water Level: Due to nature of the river, low water would mean more portaging over logs, medium is ideal, flood could cause problems in Marriott’s Gorge. There is no gauge so follow the weather pattern. 

Tasmap: 1:100 000 Olga, Wedge. 1:25 000 Lancelot, Olegas, Serpentine. 

Shuttle: From Strahan to Strathgordon is 280 km and about a 4hr drive. Shuttle bunny recommended. 

General Description:  The Denison is a great Tasmanian Wilderness River. At grade 2/3 it is suitable for most paddlers. Short easy paddling days with plenty of exploration around the valley available. A summer Dennison trip is one of life’s highlights. Camping is easy, it being mainly old rainforest on the river banks. The TRUCHANAS NATURE RESERVE is worthwhile investigating, one of the largest remaining stands of Huon Pine. The rapids through Marriott’s Gorge can, in the main, be paddled with a few low level portages. Flood level could make the task less pleasant forcing one to climb cliffs etc. There is a beautiful campsite, a left over from the old piner’s days, just downstream of Freedom’s Gates on river left. From here down to the Denison Gorge is relatively easy paddling, be careful as the last few rapids leading up to the major portage can be quite tricky. Pull out on the left and scout for the portage trail. Allow 1-1 1/2 hours for the portage, the whole river flows under boulders here. The next couple of kilometres down to the confluence with the Gordon have some most pleasurable rapids on the river. The old Hydro Denison Camp on the right hand bank just short of the confluence offers a sobering reminder of what might have been had the dams on the Lower Gordon River gone ahead. The Gordon Splits are worth investigating thoroughly once the Gordon is reached (a 3 km paddle upstream).