Canoe Tas Inc
|Distance: 12 km.|
|Average Grade: 8 m/km.|
|Peak Grade: 8 m/km.|
|Difficulty: Grade 3-4.|
|Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.|
|Entry Point: Spellmans Road Bridge (C133) (Grid ref. 299 216).|
|Exit Point: The Wilmot Road Bridge (C132) just before the junction of the Wilmot and Forth (Grid ref. 55G DQ 356 301) or continue to Forth River|
|Water Level: Lake Gairdner needs to be spilling or very heavy local rain.
Go to Hydro Tasmania – Lake Levels for Lake Gairdner spill level, and
DPIPWE Water Portal Map and check Wilmot A/B Forth (site 524-1) for flow which gives ML/Day and Cumec flows and charts of recent flow changes.
2000ML/Day (24 Cumecs approx) would be a good starting height with the river able to be paddled well above this height.
|Tasmap: 1:100 000 Forth.|
|Shuttle: 20mins via Wilmot Rd (C132) and Spellmans Bridge Rd (C133), all sealed road.
|General Description: The Wilmot Dam creates Lake Gairdner. Water from Lake Gairdner travels via a pipeline to Lake Cethana on the Forth River, hence the river only flows well when the dam is spilling or soon after very heavy local rain. Floods in 2016 cleared the river but beware of re-growth and logs if there haven’t been high flows in recent years.
The trip takes 3-4 hours through a steep, thickly forested valley where a walkout would be difficult and arduous. The Dooley’s Walking Track is on the eastern (River Right) side at Spellmans Bridge but crosses to the western side (River Left) at Horseshoe Bend. Walking Shelter Huts are on the Dooley’s Track about 1/2 way down.
From Spellmans Bridge the river begins to fall quickly. After about 20 minutes of Grade 2 water there are some large boulders indicating you are nearing Horseshoe Bend, a 0.7m drop adjacent to a large rock wall on river left. 5-10 minutes later a river wide ledge creates a hole that can be run more easily on river right.
Shortly after this (10 minutes) the Rock Garden appears, this is a 200m section of Grade 3-4 which is best scouted from river right. Portaging this rapid would be difficult due to the scrub and boulders. At higher water levels this builds to be a challenging Grade 4.
From then on its pleasant forested valley and Grade 2 (and occasional Grade 3 at higher levels) paddling until you approach open paddocks on both sides of the river near the Wilmot Rd. Exit at Alma Bridge or continue to the Forth River.
If continuing – after Alma Bridge follow a short channel through willows and then its 10 minutes fast grade 2 to the Forth River and 20 minutes to the Tasmanian Canoe Club.
Updated 25 June 2020