Macquarie River Whitewater
Killongbutta to Oakey Mount
1-2 August 2020
By RICK FITZGERALD
It had been decades since we had done a trip through the Forge section of the Macquarie River. We were greeted with ideal water level 1.25m and ideal sunny winter weather once the fog cleared late morning.
There were eight of us, and I was the only one who had paddled the section from Killongbutta farm to Oakey Mount before a few times, which takes in the Forge. Five of us camped at Bruinbun on Friday night and the other three meeting us at Killongbutta on Saturday morning. It’s at least an 80 minute drive one-way from Oakey Mount to Killongbutta so we didn’t get on the water until after 10am.
The rapids in the first section are only Grade Two and we had only gone for about one hour when James dislocated his shoulder high bracing going over a drop. Fortunately Doctor Brian was on hand and with plenty of gentle massage and manipulation and generous use of the “green whistle” it clicked back into place. James would need to walk out so it was decided that Brian and Scott would accompany him back to the put-in where they would pick up Scott’s Hilux to drive back to get the three boats. The rest of us would paddle on.
We came to the main rapids of the Little Forge, the Fall before the Forge, and the Forge just before lunch. All were Grade Three at that level. The Forge has a tricky line and provided some greater amusement for some. Once through the Forge the river quietens down, consisting of Grade Two rapids and longish pools until the take-out at the bridge down the track from the hill at Oakey Mount. We arrived at 4pm, including the hour spent attending to James.
On Sunday, Brian who had missed most of the paddle on Saturday, paddled the Forge section with Dave, while Rick and Mark paddled the short Oakey Mount to Bruinbun before lunch, all again in great weather. The Forge section is not difficult and can easily be handled by intermediate paddlers. Permission to put-in at Killongbutta should be obtained beforehand by phoning the farmer—contact myself for his number.