Penrith Whitewater Stadium
|Flows:||No gauge (494 cfs)|
|Gradient:||91 fpm average (18 ft total)|
|Put-in:||Penrith Whitewater Stadium|
The first week of 2016 I found myself on a round the world business trip. The trip would take me from Knoxville, to Los Angeles, to Sydney for a week, to Singapore and onto Mumbai for a week, before continuing around the world back to the US. The first 4 days in Sydney was full of meetings before we got 1 off day prior to travel. That day, we decided to take the ferry out to Manly Beach and do some hiking. That night was followed by some bar hopping which caused both of myself and my colleague to have some minor regrets (in the form of stout headaches) in the morning. With that in mind, we thought that driving out the Blue Mountains some 45 minutes away from Sydney would be a nice easy activity to fill the time before our evening departure. As we were driving down the freeway however, I began dozing off, and my colleague says “whitewater stadium?” Not sure of what it meant. Immediately, a lightbulb went off. Earlier in the week when friends first found out I was in Sydney, several mentioned the whitewater park. We must be close by! We decide to head over to it to check it out, with anticipation of just looking at it. When I looked at the website earlier in the week, it said you had to bring your own gear… though now when I look at it it also clearly says they rent gear. Oh well, with that in mind I anticipated not having any shot at actually kayaking. Plus I didn’t want to make my colleague sit there while I kayaked. But, he was happy to take a nap and let his hangover fade, and they in fact did rent gear… so, our plans changed, and I got to kayak in a new continent!
The course was quite fun. There were a lot of rafts on the circuit, which is too bad. One, they were doing rope practice across some of the more fun mellow surf spots. And two, they liked to poor over surf immediately below the best spot… meaning anything other than an immediate roll might stuff you under a raft. There were several features which were fun though, nice waves and nice holes, some big and some small, plus nice eddies to cut in and out of. If you just boat top to bottom a lap would only take a minute or two, but that is ok as the ride back up is only a minute.
In 2016, the prices for boat and gear rental were $35AUS for 1.5 hrs, $45 for 3 hr. The boat selection was good, the paddles were crap, the rest of the gear was rafting quality. The pass for the water $38AUS for the day.
The rapid has a couple of crux sections…
- The first hole is river wide and uniform. You can boof over it if you are confident, otherwise move far right or left to hit just the edge. Below is some mellow runout that has nice surf spots if there isn’t rope practice going on.
- Under the first bridge is a nice fast wave that you can surf. Downstream is a shallow but fun green wave. This wave is hard to surf on, but fun to ferry across or thrown downriver moves on. I got a nice kickflip on one of my laps
- Just downstream is the best surf spot. Folks were looping there, I kept hitting bottom. But the cartwheels were nice. Careful for the rafts who drop into side surfs in the small pour over just downstream.
Driving: We took the M4 out of town and followed it for ~35 minutes. As we approached the Nepean River and the town of Jamisontown, we turned right and followed the signs to the Whitewater Stadium. This was easy, just follow Drive 14 north for 5.5 km before turning left onto McCarthys Ln. This will take you to the Stadium.
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