Please note Cut off Times apply for each stage (See below for more details)
Stage 1 – Town of Northam to Katrine Bridge (17kms)
The weir at Northam near the confluence of the Mortlock River used to claim many victims in the Avon Descent. The installation of the Readymix Chute by members of the Power Dinghy Racing Club in April 2003 has changed the nature of this hazard. There is a Cut Off Time at Northam Weir.
From the Northam Weir to Katrine Bridge the river is characterised by flat water, intermittent deep pools and no scrub.
Stage 2 – Katrine Bridge to Toodyay (15kms)
Two kilometres downriver from Katrine is Glen Avon Rapid, a small but tricky rapid. After seven kilometres of coffee rock, Sinclairs Crossing underneath Dumbarton Bridge presents a challenge but channels exist even in low water.
Not far downriver is Extracts Weir.
The river from Extracts to Toodyay is shallow with a gravelly bed.
Stage 3 – Toodyay to Wetherall Reserve (9kms)
From Toodyay to the Railway Bridge the riverbed is coffee rock. Just below the bridge, near where the Toodyay Brook enters the Avon, is Toodyay Rapid. This rapid has a bar about 50 metres upriver from the drop. A channel exists in all water levels.
From this long, flat granite-strewn drop the river is shallow and wide to West Toodyay Bridge
Stage 4 – Wetherall Reserve to Cobbler Pool (Day 1 finish, 11kms)
The riverbed from West Toodyay bridge to the ti trees is mostly sand with some gravel. Jimperding Brook enters the river two kilometres after the start of the trees. The melaleuca thickets stretch for about 15 kilometres. There is a cut off time at the Ti Trees Checkpoint.
The ti tree thickets continue through to the overnight stop at Boral Campsite, the finish of Day One of the Avon Descent. Leatherhead Rapid is a small drop just upriver from Cobbler Pool (campsite). The difficulty of Day One is mostly Grade 1 and would not exceed Grade 2 except Extracts Weir which could be rated higher in conditions of increased flow.
Stage 5 – Cobbler Pool to Emu Falls (8kms)
The worst of the Ti Trees beckons competitors at the start of Day 2. Rocks and misleading channels are found right through to Posselts Ford. Large boulders immediately above the Ford have claimed many craft. Depending on the water level, this can be a bone jarring slide or virtually non-existent. Shortly after Posselts Ford is the Super Shoot. This small rapid is more dangerous than it looks and should be treated with respect. The river is then basically open water with a few trees until the course narrows dramatically on the approach to Donegans Crossing.
From Donegans Crossing there is a series of small drops to Emu Falls. The Falls take the form of a big S bend with about 100 metres of rapids culminating in the main fall of about 2 metres. Water funnels into one gap at the base of the Falls causing congestion in all but very high water. This is known as the Washing Machine and should be treated with great caution.
Stage 6 – Emu Falls To Stronghills (Harts Farm, 10kms)
The rapids and small drops in this stage are too numerous to mention. However, do not under estimate this section of the river.
Many power boats and paddle craft have been damaged or totally wrecked in this white water stage over the years.
Stage 7 – Stronghills Farm to Bells Rapid (21kms)
This part of the river is dangerous – Numerous hazards.
The river drops 140 metres through Walyunga National Park. There is a series of small rapids below the lookout.
The first of the major obstacles is Championships Rapids which is low, flat and wide. In very high water it becomes a series of standing waves. A sequence of small drops takes the competitors to the big challenge of the river, Syds Rapid. This 100 metre rapid is a mass of rock. Once competitors are launched into this long gradient they are committed to its awesome power. The river is then wide open water and a few trees to Long Pool at Walyunga.
From Walyunga Pool the river becomes very narrow and winding. The last great obstacle of the Descent, Bells Rapid, is now to be conquered.
Stage 8 – Bells Rapid to Middle Swan Bridge (18kms)
Once this White Water Stage is complete, the river opens out through the beautiful scenery of the Upper Swan.
Downstream from the Upper Swan Bridge the river gradient is slight and the channel shallow, competitors face 4 kilometres of Ti Trees and scrub before the river opens out into tidal waters. Ellen Brook enters from the right just before the end of the trees.
Stage 9 - Middle Swan Bridge to Bayswater Finish Line (15kms)
The Powerboats enjoy the long winding open river but for paddlers, this section is often difficult or at least testing. Headwinds may cause problems.
The final stage of the race. Competitors have the finish line in sight and feel the elation of completing the Act-Belong-Commit Avon Descent in front of a large crowd gathering to show their support. All competitors will finish at Riverside Gardens, Bayswater.
Cut Off Times
Any craft that does not complete Day One cut off time will not be permitted to start on Day Two.
The following cut-off times shall apply (subject to change by the Chief Clerk of Course).
Power Craft Cut Off Times
Day One cut off times for power craft:
Northam Weir Start + l hr 45 mins
Katrine Bridge Checkpoint Start + 3 hrs 45 mins
Toodyay Checkpoint Start + 5 hrs 40 mins
Wetherall Reserve Checkpoint When the first paddle craft reaches the Checkpoint
Day Two cut off times for power craft
Emu Falls Checkpoint Start + 1 hrs 45 mins
Strong Hills Farm Checkpoint Start + 2 hrs 30 mins
Bells Rapid Checkpoint Start + 3 hrs 30 mins
Upper Swan Checkpoint Start + 4 hrs 30 mins
Middle Swan Checkpoint 5:00 pm