Canoe Tas Inc

Lower Derwent

Plenty River

Stoney Creek Bridge to Plenty Valley Road Bridge


Distance: 14.0 km.
Average Grade: 18 m/km.
Peak Grade: 33 m/km.
Difficulty: Grade 3- 4.
Paddling Time: 2-5 hours.
Entry Point: Start at the Plenty Bridge or at the Stony Creek Bridge (Grid ref. DN 882 545) 200 m before it. Google Maps – Plenty Valley Rd and Stony Creek Bridge
Exit Point: Plenty Valley Road (C610) Bridge at Feilton (Grid ref. DN 954 622).
Google Maps – Plenty Valley Rd – Exit Point
Water Level: 1.5m on the BOM Feilton gauge is a good Grade 3-4 height. Locate the Bureau of Meteorology on-line gauge in the Rainfall and River Conditions site:
Zoom to Southern Tas and select Show River Conditions and hover over the Feilton (Plenty River) triangle icon near New Norfolk:
Clicking the icon will display a plot of recent river height changes.  The gauge is at the bottom of the run so take account of whether the water is rising or falling to adjust for the likely level at the put in.
Tasmap: 1:100 000.
Shuttle: 15-20 minutes including 10kms of dirt road – sometimes above the snow line in winter, although almost always fine in a 2 wheel drive .
General Description: The Plenty is a very small and steep river originating in the Snowy Range behind Maydena and flows parallel to the Styx River until its confluence with the Derwent about 5 km above New Norfolk. The river is only canoeable after very heavy rain and normally only if a “flood alert” has been issued for South Eastern Tasmania. As a result the trip is done infrequently. Breakdown paddles are highly advisable. From the outset the rapids are continuous hard grade 3 standard involving highly technical paddling. Walkouts can be difficult as the river lies in a fairly deep and steep valley throughout its course although the road remains close to the left bank on the rim of the gorge for a large part of the trip.
At the put-in at Plenty Rd Bridge, 200m past the Stony Creek Bridge the river will be shallow, small shingle and will probably look too low. Don’t be deceived, Stony Creek’s confluence 200m downstream doubles it’s volume and from there the river narrows into a steep, technical hard Grade 3 to Grade 4 rapid. With no real warm-up this takes many by surprise and has been the point of many rolls, swims and walk-outs. If you are a good technical paddler and prepared for this, it is an exciting start to a fun river but there is really no opportunity to get out and scout it first, so it’s read and run.

From here it has been called a “class 3 boogie with one or two 4ish rapids…” (Keiren Black 2020). There are few major drops involving prior inspection, most able to be boat scouted as a general rule.

Logs can be problematic at some levels so be very aware and keep an eye out – don’t assume a blind rapid is clean.

There is a logging bridge 2.5 km from Feilton, after which the river widens but good rapids continue to the get out. The last 2.5 km makes an exciting addition to the lower Plenty trip from those not skilled enough for the upper Plenty.

Upper Plenty put-in – a nice level and nice snow Aug 2014