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Farewell to Australia…

A quick jaunt to Canberra, before moving on again

After finishing work on the Barron river in Cairns, I flew south to catch up with Tom, a friend who I had guided with two years ago in Iceland.  From Sydney I lugged my gear on to a train heading west towards the town of Penrith, home to the canoe slalom competition in the 2000 Olympic Games.

Flowing at 14,000 litres a second, the course at Penrith has a number of super fast, surfable waves and “friendly” holes, perfect for playboaters to throw moves in. It’s also a valuable training ground for the region’s slalom scene and was host to the Australian Open on the day that I visited.

After selling off most of my kayaks at the start of last year, it felt good to be back in the water in a freestyle boat again…

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Even if my playboating skills had gone a little rusty, there were plenty of others around to show how it’s done…

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…and where the more “imaginative” lines were:

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The waves were fast and retentive, allowing me to get my first 360 and start working towards throwing blunts. I had an interesting moment dodging around a rafting client as well…

From Penrith, we headed south to Canberra to sightsee, drink flat-white coffees and pretend to be kayakers. Driving out to the coast, we had a day of surf kayaking for me to practise those newly found wave skills.

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To finish off the trip we took a 20 minute drive out of Canberra to paddle the “Red Rocks” section of the Murrumbidgee river. Although low water levels forced us to make a number of portages, it was clear to see why this run is so popular with the locals. Fun white water and beautiful scenery from start to finish.

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After 5 months in Australia, it was time to move on. From Sydney I flew to Auckland, New Zealand, to carry on the adventure…

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