Preston River, Boyanup to Bunbury  

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Check water level at Boyanup Bridge, WRC reading

Paddleable only after winter rains. Put in at Boyanup at the reserve which is on the Boyanup side of the bridge on the Boyanup-Dardanup-Picton Road. There are toilets and a picnic area. There is a weir just downstream of the bridge (see notes below).

This is an interesting and scenic flat water paddle, about 26 km, with one small grade 2 rapid at the back of the old Picton Super works close to Bunbury; the lower the water the better this rapid is. West Dardanup Bridge is easily accessed for those who do not want to do the run from Boyanup. There is parking there.

So long as you have got some winter flow the Preston is doable, except the lower the water the more portaging around fallen logs, or ducking under or paddling over in the Boyanup - West Dardanup Bridge section. (There are new trees down every year.)

There will be current, again depending on the water level. There is wire across the river in the vicinity of a house with a red roofed verandah (visible from the river). There are no serious obstacles below West Dardanup Bridge which is about 16 km from the finish at the "Double Bridge", Eelup roundabout, Australind Bypass.

Water level 11.1 m at Boyanup (WRC telemetry reading) is just about flood level and there is fast moving water nearly the whole of the paddle which makes it quite exciting and good practice for the Avon Descent. At this level there are many (live) trees to dodge in the river so appropriate skills are required to undertake this paddle safely. The small rapid near Bunbury is washed out at this level. 

(Thanks to Peter Fitzgerald for much of this information)


Playboating at Boyanup Weir
by Alex Fox

Definitely not for beginners, but worth a look for anyone interested in playing - one of the best spots I've played at in WA.

Boyanup is about 20km out of Bunbury on SW Highway. Coming from Bunbury turn left onto Boyanup-Picton Road. The bridge over the Preston River is less than a kilometre from the turnoff and the weir is just downstream of the bridge.

The weir is about 6m wide, with a 3 foot drop down a concrete slide. The flow coming in is completely smooth, and the stopper is fairly controlled.

Just about everything is possible, cartwheels, front & back blasts/spins - I was even trying to get a forward loop. No flat water in front the stopper though - more like a pour over. It's reasonably fast and powerful, with a big tow back, and not too forgiving when things go wrong. Quite retentive, but can be broken out of with a lot of effort at one corner, or with a controlled nose stand.

Suggest you put someone on the bank with a rope until you know you can get out!

Water height on 'Boyanup Bridge' telemeter station was 11.0. Boats longer than 2.5m may have more trouble playing.  

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