Packrafting The Upside Down
07 Jun 2019

Packrafting The Upside Down

Exploring Hobart’s subterranean rivulet

07 Jun 2019

We’ve walked it. We’ve ridden it. Now we’ve paddled Hobart’s underground Rivulet in packrafts!

The once wild Rivulet is the reason the city of Hobart is where it is. Back in the early 1800’s the Rivulet provided the fledgling English settlement of Ho-town with much needed fresh water. The following years however saw the Rivulet (mis)used by industry, including even being used as the city sewer… eeeew!

Packrafting Hobart’s Rivulet

As Hobart grew, buildings and roads covered more and more of the Rivulet, in the process creating the eerie underworld that exists today. Dark, creepy and sometimes a little smelly, it’s the perfect lair for graffiti artists and urban explorers… that is when it’s not busy flooding the CBD. Who would have guessed building a city on top of a river could be a problem hey?!

Rising in the foothills of Mt Wellington the Rivulet descends ~540 metres over its ~7km journey to the River Derwent. The final stretch lying beneath Hobart’s CBD is a subterranean adventure wonderland – provided conditions are just right. Water levels can rise and fall rapidly. The size and shape of tunnels vary dramatically. It’s easy to be trapped in a flash flood if it’s raining heavily on the mountain i.e. be aware and be careful.

Packrafting Hobart’s Rivulet

We hadn’t heard of anyone paddling the Rivulet and figured our packrafts were perfect for the job! A gentle rise in the water level following late Autumn snow signalled it was time to give it a go. Wandering through the city barely a soul blinked an eye at the carbon fibre paddles jutting out of our backpacks. Unusual adventures are the norm in Tasmania!

Packrafting Hobart’s Rivulet

Soon enough it became clear that there wasn’t going to be as much water as we hoped for. Given the nature of the tunnels and the amount of debri we came across it was probably a good thing for our first attempt.

Packrafting Hobart’s Rivulet is dark, creepy fun – what more can you ask for! I reckon there’s a good chance we’ll do it again, once or twice even. 🙂

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