Of coarse it is not actually unknown, but for me as a paddling destination it has been totally untapped and very rewarding as a group of us found out over the Easter weekend. I am breaking this into three posts of Broken River. Two paddles are quite different in the type of country we paddled through.This post is an over story of Broken River and the planning.
Broken River is about one and a half hours drive west of Mackay Queensland Australia. Many tourist who travel to Mackay have Eungella and Broken River close to the top of the list for must see destinations while in the area. The Broken River starts it journey in an area called Crediton on the western side of the Clarke Range and heads west. Our paddle on Easter Monday starts not far from the source and ended at the platipus Bridge. Our paddle on the Easter Friday started from Platipus Bridge and ended at the head of Eungella Dam.
From Eungella Dam Broken River continues it journey north west where it meets with Massy Creek. Massy Gorge and the creek is very popular with the Mackay Bush Walking Club. Broken River then flows onto and forms the Bowen River and then into the Burdekin River. The Burdekin River flows out to the sea between Homehill and Ayr some three hour drive north of Mackay.
Broken River is one of the few places I know of where a tourist can easily spot the very illusive platipus. The National Parks have built walking tracks and a viewing platform where you can veiw the platipus. Because the platform is up above the crystal clear mountain water it is possible to see them swimming around. As a tourist who would not normally see platipus in the wild this is a rare opportunity. Even as a paddler around Mackay we do see them on a regular basis but then we usually only see the top of their back and bill and by the time we get within ten feet of them there is a small splash and they are gone.
Our plan was a two day trip with an overnight camp. We allowed plenty of time in-case we run into trouble with portages and other obstacles that may hold up our paddle. We were also looking for an excuse for an overnight camping trip. This means carrying extra gear for overnight but we planned to travel light. As we could not find anyone who had been in parts of the river before as to what was ahead of us. The paddle from the Platipus Bridge to the head of the Eungella Dam is about 17kms. according to my measure on Google Earth.
I walked a section of about two and half kilometers last year below a camp site called the Diggings. Most of the way was large pools of water connected with gavel runs or rapids with small drops of about a meter except for one rapid. This rapid which I named Cascade Falls was a series of three drops totally about 12meters. This was a definite portage for us. I predicted the rest of the paddle would again be a succession of large pools connected with small rapids. In amongst these rapids would be the usually log jam obstructing the way of the kayaks.
We would be using our white water creeking kayaks for this trip for two reasons.
- The shape and style of kayak is suited to this type of river.
- There is a little more room in these kayaks for carrying camping gear.
Our plan was to paddle most of the distance on the first day and then set up camp and on the last day have an easy paddle to the get out point and wait to be picked up about 3:00pm. This didn’t really go to plan as you will find out in the next post.