Mersey River (Alum Cliffs)

Grade: 3–4
Distance: 24 km
Time: 5–8 hours (very contingent on water levels)
Get in: Union Bridge on the Union Bridge Rd (alternatively Limestone Quarry off Den Road is recommended as it removes 2km of flat water at the start.)
Get out: Bridge near Weegena
Water level: Can be pack rafted at environmental flows, they kayakers like it to be 0.75m at Liena and/or above 1.5m at Kimberley

This is a spectacular run through an incredible ravine. Definitely the most accessible gorge scenery in Tasmania. At environmental flows this is a fun couple of days (or one very long tough day) in packrafts. For big rafts you certainly need more water.

The river begins with some easy class 2 shingle rapids before stepping up to solid class 3. After this you encounter a massive rock column sticking out of the river. Soon afterwards you need to contend with one section of tough class 4/5 that most parties will want to portage (though I’ve paddled it at low levels). There is a massive river wide stopper and some narrow boulder sieve type bits that make it a bit nasty. Lots of space to carry or line rafts down river left.

After some more class 3 you come out in to a part of the river called the Chasm, a deep pool similar to Irenabyss on the Franklin. Soon afterwards the river opens out in to farmland and it’s a straightforward paddle to the finish. Beware of wood in the lower sections.

Contributed by James Barnes (see also James’s trip report)

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A weekend away up north (Part 1) – 31 July 2021.

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