Taking it back a step. For some time we had been tossing up what to do in terms of enjoying the many local rivers that abound around us, along with a low environmental impact. The initial obvious choice was either a single person kayaks, we then changed our thinking to a 2 person canoe as the best solution and then coincidentally while reading a post on an Australia Bushwalking Forum, I was intrigued by a concept called a Packraft. The concept immediately appealed, simplistically they are small rafts designed to be backpacked up the river, then inflated and raft down the river on them/ They were small, stable in white water, could be packed down into a backpack, loaded onto a mountain bike, in a small car, or just onto your back. Some more research, a few questions to a local Aussie user (Steve) on the Bushwalking Forum and the obvious leaders in the field are the Alpaka Brand.
Visiting Youtube and chatting to others users on the forums, we decided these were for us so we put our order in. Toni opted for the "Denali Llama" and myself for the "Unrigged Explorer"
They arrived i two packages over the last few days, we practised inflating them with the inflation bag, then headed out the next day. Starting at the bridge over the Nymboida just up the road from us. Toni went first, ostensibly so I could take a pics, so I did...
|Inaugural Launch !|
|Heading down the Nymboida Rv.|
The rafts don't handle the best in flat still water, no skeg or rudder sees them acting a little skittishly but that's not why we got them. In their element, fast flowing water, they were superb, extremely stable. Toni was a little nervous of the first set of rapids,so she jumped out to watch me.
|Approaching the first rapids|
The rafts are so incredibly stable and handle rapids and low water easily.
|Into the first rapids|
|Doing the business ! This is what it's all about|
|or is THIS the business|
We saw plenty of wildlife, that most gorgeous of birds the Azure Kingfisher made an appearance, as did a Platypus and a plethora of lizards soaking up some sun.
|A Water Dragon enjoying the Sun|
We spent about 2 hours for the first trip, hopefully the first of many !
More pics can be found here