We had our Canyoning trip with Cradle Mountain Canyons planned on the wettest day we have witnessed in Tasmania. I figured it was the best day for rain, as we were going to get wet anyway.
We had booked for the trip to Dove Canyon, but given the heavy rainfall that had come in overnight already, that one was judged as too dangerous. So we were going to Machinery canyon instead. We were just glad the whole trip didn’t get cancelled.
Al and Felix were the friendly lads guiding us through the adventure. As usual we started with a short briefing on the gear (there’s a whole lot and the good thing is that I didn’t get cold during the whole trip) and then we all got up to the canyon with their van. As we needed to head to Launceston afterwards, we could follow by car, so that we didn’t need to go back to the visitor centre after we were done, which saved us at least an hour.
The experience was different from the canyoning trip we did 2 years back in New Zealand. This time we didn’t go into the canyon, but mainly went through the rocky river and abseiled the 5 (or was it 6) waterfalls.
But before doing that, you need to get to the start, which is about half an hour walk from where we left the car to the river. Then it was another 20 minutes stumbling through the river to get to the first waterfall. After the first waterfall, the following ones turn up pretty fast. There’s plunges and jumps to be made in between.
I liked the abseils the most and they were a lot harder than the one at Gordon Dam, as the rocky flanks were a lot more slippery obviously and there are a few where you actually need to cross the waterfall itself (to get from one side to the other). That’s why the last waterfall is certainly the hardest to get down from. It’s also the highest (40m).
After having done the last abseil, a walk through the river awaits again. About 40 minutes. As you’re walking with the same gear (which is heavy, limits your moves, is tight and has no real shoes (so you feel rocks and uneven surfaces a lot more than you would be wearing your hiking shoes), it’s not a comfortable walk, so I was glad to see the van again.
The whole adventure lasts about 5 hours, from briefing to finish. They foresee lunch (tasty tortilla bread with a choice of dressings). The only downside is that when it rains (as was the case with us), they get wet too. But still tasty!