21st December 2019: Avon River

Date:    21/12/2019
Avon River, Christchurch, NZ
River Conditions:   
1.141 cumecs at Gloucester Street bridge. Water mostly clear. Grade 1.
Weather Conditions:   
Sunny and warm, nor-easterly breezes.
Number on Trip:    
2 people.
Time on River:  
2 hours.
Comments:  Lauri was keen to paddle down stream from our place to Kerrs Reach and possibly a little beyond to see if we could see where Greta the Shelduck had gone to. I attached the bike rack to the car, pumped up my bike tyres, loaded it on the rack and drove down to Kerrs Reach so we wouldn’t have to paddle back upstream. From the Arawa boatsheds at Kerrs Reach, I cycled down the stop bank to the Avondale Road bridge, all the while keeping an eye out for paradise shelducks, and the back home along the northern bank.

After lunch, we got kitted up and took the kayaks down to the river. Our plan for a leisurely drift / paddle downstream was somewhat thwarted by an incoming tide and headwinds, meaning that any time we stopped paddling, we started floating upstream. Still it was a nice day and good to be on the river.

Heading downstream through the Red Zone.

We didn’t see any sign of Greta, but there were a number of pairs of shelducks and some of those had ducklings with them. We also saw lots of canada geese, swans, ducks, scaups, shags and even a largish school of fish. At Kerrs Reach, a group of high school rowers must have been having their end of year event, so there were a number of boats being rowed erratically by mixed groups of parents & students, which we largely tried to avoid. There were also plenty of geese and swans, and a little further down was a family of shelducks with twelve, almost grown juveniles. A pretty amazing achievement to have that many survive to near adulthood.

From here we continued on, only planning to go a little further, then just to the bend and eventually down to the Avondale Road bridge, some 2 kilometres from where we left the car. The rowers gave over the river to the race boaters from Arawa, but there was no sign of Greta, so we turned around and headed back up the river, past more paddlers enjoying a fine day out on the river. By the time we got back to the car, Lauri was quite tired and we were both glad to head home for rest.