North West Bay River

Canoe Tas Inc

South East

North West Bay River

Betts Road Bridge to Margate Bridge




Distance: 14 km.
Average Grade: 15 m/km.
Peak Grade: 60m/km for the first km.
Difficulty: Depending on water level, up to 1.2m, grade 2-3. Over about 1.4m up to grade 4.
Paddling Time: 2 hours.
Entry Point: Betts Road Bridge (Grid ref. EN 168 440), 1 km from Huon Highway, 2 km north of Longley. Or the main Hwy (A6) for a slightly shorter trip.
Exit Point: The Margate Bowls club on the left bank just after the Margate Bridge (on the Channel Highway, B68) (Grid ref. DN 215 366).

Water Level: There is a gauge on the Margate bridge, 1.5m would be a good  level. There is also an automated guage at the main weir (Grid ref. DN 198 383) about half way down which appears to now be online (select the margate water intake guage). However this river rises and falls very quickly so best just to have a look at the get in and see what you have!

We are atill correlating the new online guage to the old levels but so far:
1.2m = ~ 50   cumecs (minimum level)
1.4m = ~ 60   cumecs 
1.8m = ~ 90   cumecs 
2.4m = ~ 162 cumecs (Big water)

Tasmap: 1:100 000 Derwent, D’Entrecasteaux (Land Tenure Index Series).
Shuttle:  9km, about a 10 minute drive or a 30 minute ride along Sandfly road (C622).

General Description: The river only flows after at least 24 hours of continuous rain. The water level drops very quickly. From Betts Road to Longley, there is 3 km of fast continuous grade 3 water. From Longley to the Expressway is mainly shingle rapids, but very susceptible to logs. About 5 km after the Expressway is a weir. Caution must be taken paddling this. The rapid immediately after the weir consists of two large stoppers and a large rooster tail, hence its name, "Chicken Man Falls". Another 2 km downstream is an old broken weir on the right side of the river. This can be skirted around on the left hard against the tea tree through a gap which is getting smaller as thet rees grow.

The most popular section of the North West Bay River is from the Highway to Margate at moderate levels it is a good grade 3 trip, a good step up from rivers like the Picton. At low levels it can be quite Scratchy. At high levels it becomes a grade 4 river with continuous rapids, few eddys and some big holes. It flows infrequently (generally after a good easterly) and can be subject to logs and electric fences.

     John Boro’ DCC trip, North West Bay river 27-6-09