Paddle Guide – The Weld (Southwest Tasmania)

The Weld River is a beautiful wilderness paddle in Southwest Tasmania. Even at high water levels it is very beginner friendly and ideal for introducing people to whitewater. The lower section makes for a short day trip and if multi-day epics are more your thing it is possible to walk in to the upper Weld for an expedition through some incredibly remote and rarely visited rainforest. As a bonus it’s only 1 hour 20 away from hobart!

Weld River
View of the Weld from the bridge

A reasonable amount of rain is required for pleasant paddling. I have yet to identify minimum flow levels. This guide is based on a packrafting trip when the height of the Huon at the Tahune Bridge gauge was 2.48m which is a fairly high level although not in flood. This gauge can be checked over on the Bureau of Meteorology page.

Runnable sections

  • Mount Mueller – Fletchers Eddy
  • Fletchers Eddy – Weld Bridge
  • Weld Bridge – Huon River
  • Huon River – Arve Bridge/Southwood Road

For maps covering these areas consult List Map, Google Maps and Tasmaps 1:100 000 Huon, Tyenna, Wedge 1:25 000 Bowes, Nevada, Weld, Glen Huon.

https://maps.thelist.tas.gov.au/listmap/app/list/map

Map showing Fletchers Eddy, Weld Bridge, Weld/Huon Confluence and Southwood Bridge
This gives a vague idea of the sections, better to have a look at some more detailed maps however.

Mount Mueller – Fletchers Eddy

Distance – 43.5km

Time – 2+ days

Grade – 2–3 remote wilderness

Shuttle – 170km, 2.5 hours (one way).

Entry Point – Scrub bash off Mueller Road.

Description – Trip details to be added in future!

Walking along a bush trail, carrying a packraft.
Packrafts are definitely the ideal craft for remote trips involving scrub bashing to get in! Here you can see the aftermath of the 2019 bushfires in the background…

Fletchers Eddy – Weld Bridge

Distance – 2.7km

Time – 25 minutes

Grade – 2/3 Mostly small wave trains and eddy lines with one larger class 2/3 rapid just before Weld bridge (easily avoidable).

Entry Point – Walk for 30 minutes (2km) up from the Weld bridge on a very poor 4wd track. The track ends at a nice camping area next to Fletchers Eddy.

Exit Point – This section concludes at the Bridge over the Weld although it would be a bit silly not to continue down the rest of the Weld!

Description – This section certainly isn’t worth paddling on it’s own being quite short and easy. That said if you have packrafts it makes a perfectly nice addition to the lower sections of the Weld river. With some lovely camping areas it would also make a good overnight stop. You could easily drive to the Bridge, walk in and camp before setting off in the morning if you want to split up the drive and enjoy the area.

rough 4wd track
When I say you need to walk in I'm not kidding…

Weld Bridge – Huon River

Distance – 3km

Time – 25 minutes

Grade – 2/3 Similar in feel to the Picton River, plenty of wave trains and small boulder rapids; nothing tricky all very straightforward.

Entry Point – Weld Bridge, 35 minute drive from Judbury (23km).

Exit Point – If you have packrafts there are varies egress points on a 4wd track that runs the length of the Huon River allowing you to walk back to your vehicle (about 3.8km). For those with rafts or kayaks the best option is to continue on the Huon!

Description – This is the conventional section of the Weld River that is run by new paddlers or those looking for an easy day out on a fairly consistent basis. Despite being a short trip it is a nice section of river with some fun rapids, but nothing challenging. There is really only one very easy class 3 rapid, the rest being class 2 wave trains.

Whitewater on the weld river
This image shows the toughest rapid on the river, just some waves and a small stopper with plenty of time to recover afterwards. Nice and easy!

Huon River – Arve Bridge/Southwood Road

Distance – 4.7km

Time – 30 minutes (significantly more in whitewater rafts with a strong headwind or low water levels).

Grade – 1/2 All flat water with the exception of one section of wave trains just before the bridge.

Entry Point – Intersection of the Weld River and the Huon. You could technically walk in to paddle this, but that would be pretty silly. This section in primarily paddled as it is the easiest way to get boats back to vehicles!

Exit point – Large bridge over the Huon on Southward Road. Exit on either river right in the big eddy just before the bridge (nice open area but only a 4wd will get down to the waters edge giving you a 30m walk) or river left in the small eddy just past the bridge (smaller eddy and track but closer to 2wd access if you’re hauling big rafts).

Description – A very docile section of water, almost entirely flat with the exception of a short section of wave trains just before the get-out. This could be quite painful in low water levels with a headwind if you are in large rafts.

Get-out point eddy
This small eddy on river left is the easiest spot to haul up big heavy rafts unless you can get a 4wd down to the river right exit.

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