Blackwood River at Christmas: multi-day canoeing

Last year I worked over Christmas, but this year the days aligned to allow us some time away.  The chance to spend the festive period just meandering down a river was just what we needed.

Heading downstream from Sue's Bridge, the Blackwood has just about enough water for making reasonable progress, but not so much that special skill is required.
Heading downstream from Sue’s Bridge, the Blackwood has just about enough water for making reasonable progress, but not so much that special skill is required.
After a bit of river-bank sorting, Bryn is loaded up - initially less than impressed, particularly with his new life jacket.
After a bit of river-bank sorting, Bryn is loaded up – initially less than impressed, particularly with his new life jacket.
Our canoe for the trip is a pretty solid and stable plastic one borrowed from Sarah's sister's front yard
Our canoe for the trip is a pretty solid and stable plastic one borrowed from Sarah’s sister’s front yard
What with setting up the bike shuffle and not being in a hurry to get going that morning, we only have a couple of hours paddling time on Christmas Day.  But camp-sites abound.
What with setting up the bike shuffle and not being in a hurry to get going that morning, we only have a couple of hours paddling time on Christmas Day. But camp-sites abound.

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No-one's in any particular hurry
No-one’s in any particular hurry
So lunch turns into a bit of nap-time
So lunch turns into a bit of nap-time
Being parked in a tent away from bitey things seems somewhat lost on Bryn
Being parked in a tent away from bitey things seems somewhat lost on Bryn
Until he's joined by the rest of us
Until he’s joined by the rest of us – this campsite sniffed out when we spot the remains of a riverside jetty and decide to explore the track leading up the bank.
Despite daily progress being pretty lazy - and allowing for everyone to watch the fish
Despite daily progress being pretty lazy – and allowing for everyone to watch the fish
Not to mention some more snooze time
Not to mention some more snooze time
We resort to an extremely early mark a couple of km short of our destination to avoid doing what we though could take 4-5 days in just over 2
We resort to an extremely early mark a couple of km short of our destination to avoid doing what we though could take 4-5 days in just over 2

Alexandra Bridge marks the end of our time on the river – my commute bike’s still where I’d left it, so Bryn and Sarah make themselves comfy while I do the 30+km road-ride back to the car.

Route Notes

Blackwood river from Sue’s Road bridge to Alexandra Bridge campsite.  2 road crossings (one weir, and one bridge) allow access along the way for shorter forays.  The upper section down to the weir involves a bit of pushing/dragging a loaded canoe down the easy rapids, with the lower sections deeper and more continuous.  After rain/in winter the upper section would be grade 2 and possibly 3 in flood with a couple of sections requiring inspection.  In mid-summer (late December 2013), there was nothing taxing – with only basic river skills needed.

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