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Brady’s Lake Slalom Course Information

The Cruncher Rapid

The “Cruncher”. Photo: Paul Black

Woodward’s Canal is a man made section of water joining Bronte Lagoon to Brady’s Lake taking water from Nive River through to the Tungatinah Power Station.  It was the site of the Australian Canoe Slalom Championships in 1974 (… needs to be checked…) and used for many Australian Championships and selection races since.  In October 2009, a World Cup Wildwater Rapid Sprint was held from below the cruncher to the lake as a part of the World Cup wildwater races held in various venues around Tasmania.  It is used extensively by Tasmanian Slalom paddlers, recreational paddlers and also for National training camps.

Slalom Course

Distance:  600 metres Average Gradient: 20m/km, Difficulty: Grade 3 to easy grade 4. Paddling Time: 3 minutes. Car Park:  Driving from the North, the car park is found just off the Lyell Highway about 11 km south of Bronte park within eyeshot of the sluice gates.  If driving from the South, continue along the Lyell Highway from Tarraleah toward Bronte Park.  Do not turn off at the Brady’s Lake signpost (this goes to the small village of shacks) but continue until you pass the distinctive sluice gates (around 500m) and turn right into the car park turn off (around 100 metres past the gates).  Grid ref. DP 458350E 5325300N Exit Point: Brady’s Lake. Water Level:  Water is provided via the Bronte lagoon sluice gates operated by Hydro Tasmania. Between 22-26 cumecs (2700 ML/day) is usual. Spring and winter flows may be higher making the course a bit faster and pushier. http://www.hydro.com.au/water/water-flow-and-levels has the levels of lakes above and below the canal but unfortunately there is no online information providing the actual canal level.  Hydro Tasmania does its best to provide water releases for official Canoe Tasmania or Club events by prior arrangement where operating requirements allow –  all requests should go via Canoe Tasmania’s Hydro Liaison officer.  Levels of Bronte Lagoon and inflows impact on their ability to provide water.  Often, during winter and spring, the course will run around the clock if the Upper Nive at Pine Tier dam provides a high inflow. Tasmap: 1:100,000 Nive. General Description: The Canal starts below the sluices gates – only very experienced paddlers with high competence should paddle on the section from the gates to below the Cruncher.

Rapid called Mellifont Street

Ball Race on Mellifont Street. Photo: Paul Black

Immediately below the sluice gates, care is required to avoid paddling over the water shed and into the water pouring from the gates as the stoppers are very dangerous.  From here to the Cruncher features a drop and stopper locally known as “The Gibbers”.   Stay well away from the rock wall on the corner preceding the Cruncher as it has the potential to pin a boat and paddler due to the volume of water that pours through in several places.  Weave an aggressive line from the middle shoot to the hard left on the first two stage drop of the Cruncher to avoid the stopper on the right that extends to the middle.  The Ramp is fine everywhere but deepest in the middle.  If the top drop has caused a capsize, a very quick roll before the ramp is good, but failing that it is best to tuck in as close to the boats as possible rather than attempting a roll or wet in the ramp, then roll in the deep pool at the bottom.  The fast, boily water below the cruncher is only suitable for advanced paddlers also.   An alternate entry point can be found just downstream of the cruncher. The straight from the last right angle bend to the lake is named after the steepest street in Hobart, Mellifont Street.  The water gets progressively steeper and faster and soon after the bridge is the Mellifont street stopper which extends from the right bank to just beyond the middle  of the canal.  The course continues with another stopper at the squeeze and then waves and fast water to the lake.  When the lake is low there a final diagonal stopper emerges, and the entrance to the lake may be shallow and rocky below this stopper.  When the lake is higher, the waves and fast water entering the lake can be an excellent sport for intermediate paddlers to practice. Facilities:  There are no toilets; typically port-a-loos are provided during major events.  Camping is permitted.  Trees planted by paddlers over the years are maturing and providing some shade and good protection from the wind.  Nearby communities of Bronte Park and Tarraleah offer accommodation, meals and a small shop (limited opening hours).

Australian National Selection Race at Brady's Lake in 2011