3rd January 2020: Avon River

Date:    3/01/2020
Avon River, Christchurch, NZ
River Conditions:   
1.090 cumecs at Gloucester Street bridge. Water mostly clear. Grade 1.
Weather Conditions:   
Cool, overcast, very light breezes. Light showers.
Number on Trip:    
2 people.
Time on River:  
2 hours.
Comments:  In the continuation of our search for where Greta the Shelduck has gone during the moult, we decided to continue our paddle down the Avon from the Avondale Road bridge. We got changed into our paddling gear, loaded up the boats and my mountain bike, and drove down to where we intended to put in. I dropped off Lauri and the kayaks and then drove to the end of Kibblewhite Street in New Brighton. I parked up and road my bike along the cycle trail that runs beside the river. It took around 20 minutes to get back and I was occasionally hissed at by the canada geese I disturbed on the stop bank.

The river bank has evolved over time, as the land levels dropped somewhat after the earthquakes, and much of the area was abandoned.

Once back at the put in, I grabbed a quick drink before getting Lauri launched in to the river. She noted that we seemed to have got the tide times wrong as it was definitely low tide and the river was flowing upstream at a reasonable rate. So much for our easy drift down stream. The day was overcast but very still, so we were rewarded with some very dramatic skies and mirror flat water. It was also interesting seeing parts of the river we had never paddled before, and to think about the various changes in character the river undergoes on its’ journey to the estuary.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the river.

Lauri had a few issues with her spray deck and we’ll need to get her something more comfortable, but her new buoyancy aid was appreciated with its’ ample pockets and convenient drinking bladder. The river widened as we progressed, and the current slowed. Near the end of our journey, we passed Naughty Boys Island, named after a tragic event that claimed the lives of two boys who died after the tunnel they were digging in the river bank, collapsed.

Paddling on clouds.

After the island, the river widens and merges with the estuary, the mirrored surface of the water reflected the hills and clouds, and Lauri described it as like “paddling through the clouds and sky” and found it quite unnerving. It was certainly interesting if you focused on the horizon and the sky and water seem to merge to become one, with your kayak gliding smoothly along. We rafted up and ate a raspberry twist while admiring this spectacle.

Eventually we reached the get out, unfolded ourselves out of our boats and loaded them on to the car. We drove back to the put in to pick up my bike, which was fortunately still there and then drove home to warm up with a cup of soup.