Canoeing the Macalister River

We have been canoeing various sections of the Macalister River for over 25 years. Our favourite section has been: Basin Flat to Cheynes Bridge. This is one of the few rivers you can canoe with one vehicle by hitch hiking as the road parallels and comes back to the river . I guess you could do the same on sections of the Wonnangatta, Mitta etc. We normally drop the boats off on the river bank at Basin Flat and drive the car back to Cheynes Bridge, park conspicuously on the road, then put the thumb out. The first car usually figures you have broken down, so you are back at Basin Flat within about 40 minutes of dropping the boats off. We did this trip again yesterday (30C). This is getting to be a trip which we would (probably) enjoy more as a two dayer (we ARE getting older) but also the wider river (following fires, floods, willow removal, etc) has slowed the trip down somewhat, so that what used to take 4 hours has crept up to nearer 5-6. The dogs and portages slowed us down a lot. If I did a bit of work on some of the timber down, and cleared some of the trickier rapids a bit, it would speed it up. I did this years ago when we used to run it regularly in four hours. This MAY happen, but there are so many other things to do…There are some nice places to camp, so it should best be considered as a weekend trip. There are lots of fish to catch, and numerous deer, so the extra day can be well-spent! The river height on the Licola gauge yesterday was 1.68, quite adequate water. 1.7 is really nice. I feel you could still have an enjoyable trip with some more portages 50mm lower than this, say a minimum of 1.63. I would say it would be a bit too dangerous over 1.8 metres.

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Gorge: below Burgoynes
The tree on the right would make this Grade 3 rapid: Death!
The tree on the right would make this Grade 3 rapid: Death!
Below Burgoynes.
Below Burgoynes.
They say water finds its own level, but sometimes it does so in unexpected ways...
They say water finds its own level, but sometimes it does so in unexpected ways…
'Spot' the figurehead
‘Spot’ the figurehead
I said, 'Sit on the bag, Spot or you'll fall in!'
I said, ‘Sit on the bag, Spot or you’ll fall in!’
In hot pursuit.
In hot pursuit.
Tiny enjoyed the trip!
Tiny enjoyed the trip!

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