Kangaroo Valley 5 June 2016 - East Coast Low

Sunday, June 5, 2016
River or Location: 
River Level: 
Hampton Bridge - Kangaroo River

The rivers have been dry, very dry for what seems like forever.

As winter started for 2016, El Nino went on leave and La Nina started her shift with gusto, an East Coast Low (ECL) which dumped >200mm over most of the east coast of NSW over the weekend of 4-5th June 2016. The ECL brought heavy rain, huge swell and strong winds that created quite a spectacle of natures power.

A small band of River Canoe Club white water paddlers, Glenn, Steve, Paul and Robert, dusted off their paddling gear and closely monitored the rainfall and river levels as the ECL developed on Saturday.

Late Saturday afternoon the Kangaroo River jumped from 0.3m to 1.3m, more than enough water for a paddle. A trip was planned, four paddlers 8.30am at the Barrengarry Pie Shop. Early but everyone was keen.

The drive down to Kangaroo Valley was exciting in its self, the early morning gloom and torrential rain made the Hume Motorway an extreme sport. Once off the Hume the roads through the Southern Highlands were strewn with debris, fallen trees and standing water flowing out of fields.

Everyone survived the drive down and met up at the Barrengarry Pie Shop on time. However the Pie Shop was "Closed due to Bad Weather". We should have taken the hint, if the weather was so bad pies could not be baked, what where we thinking?

We used the balcony of the pie shop to get changed into our paddling gear, this would have been a little awkward if the shop had been open, small win.

Due to the high winds and forecast for more rain during the morning, it was decided that the Upper Kangaroo would be too risky as even if the road was not already blocked by fallen trees there would be no guarantee it would not be blocked when we wanted to leave. The Kangaroo River had risen from 1.3m when the trip was planed to 10.5m.

The alternative was Broger's Creek, our convoy headed through town, to Wattamolla Road. The road was flooded at the pull out point just before the right hand bend. Although passable when we arrived we did not know if it was still rising so we left the low clearance Getz on the town side of the flooded road. We left an X-Trail at the pull-out and loaded the boats on the other two high clearance 4WDs.

Due to already high levels in the river and forecast for more rain, we decided to go for the short version of Broger Creek putting in at Priddle's Lane. We headed up Wattamolla road however about a kilometre past the dairy at tree had fallen across the road. We managed to get one of the 4WD around the tree, but only just due to a sloping bank, sodden grass, a couple of trees and a barbed wire fence. We made it but would the X-Trail we had left at the pull out also be able to make it, probably not. Would there be more trees further on or would more come down while we were on the water?

We took the hint, Broger's Creek was abandon for the day. Once we got the 4WD back around the tree using some low range ratios and traction control on overtime, we headed back to Kangaroo Valley for one last option, a short paddle from Kangaroo Valley Town down to Hampton Bridge. Our convoy crossed the flooded road and picked up the Getz and headed for the car park at Hampton Bridge.

Inspection of the pullout at Hampton Bridge found an eddy, however the upstream approach was blocked by trees and the main flow/torrent was full of debris with the occasional log resembling a telegraph pole.

The small band stood looking at the Hampton Bridge Gauge ankle deep in runoff, wetter than after a day a Penrith White Water, made the call.

No paddling today, off to the bakery for coffee and pies.

Also in the album, Tallowa Dam overflowing, tree down on Upper Kangaroo Valley Rd and the kayak ramp at Bendeela Pondage >1.5m underwater.