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Avon Descent

For more information, visit the Avon Descent Website

The Avon Descent is held annually on the first Saturday and Sunday in August. The two day course starts with a 52 kilometre stretch beginning in the Shire of Northam, just outside the Northam Visitor Centre at the famous Avon Descent Start Tower. The course proceeds downriver through the town of Toodyay into the upper reaches of the Darling Range escarpment. The overnight stop is the Boral Campsite located at Cobbler Pool 20 kilometres west of Toodyay.

Day 2 is 72 kilometres long and sees competitors tackle the valley containing the major white water obstacles and challenges of the event including Supershoot, Emu Falls, Championship Rapids and Bells Rapids. The rush of the valley leaves competitors with the marathon 30 kilometre, flat water stretch to Bayswater. While the victorious burst their way over the Finish Line the achievers are happy just to finish. 

The Avon Descent was first held in 1973 with just 49 competitors, no rules, no officials, no checkpoints and very few spectators. In the years since, over 35,000 people have competed in the Avon Descent, from novices and families, to World Champions and Olympic competitors.

Geographic background

The Avon River drains the Great Southern and Upper Great Southern regions, actually starting as a river near Wickepin. The Avon River is 295 kilometres in length and the basin covers an area of 120,000 square kilometres, extending from Northam in the west to Southern Cross in the east, north to Dalwallinu and south to Pingrup. From its confluence with Wooroloo Brook in Walyunga National Park the Avon becomes the Swan River. Approximately 60% of the Swan River’s flow is from the Avon River.

The main Northam Pool on the Avon River (start point for the Avon Descent) is the only permanent stretch of natural inland water along the entire Great Eastern Highway between Perth and Adelaide.

The Avon Descent passes through some of Western Australia’s most picturesque country. You will travel through the farming regions of historic Northam and Toodyay, forested national parks, steep gorges, the Swan Valley vineyard region and, eventually, into the tidal waters of the upper Swan River.

The Avon Descent offers competitors conditions ranging from long stretches of flat water that can test the endurance of the fittest athlete through to rapids, sure to test the skills of all who attempt to navigate their unknown contours. 

ROAD CLOSURES

Road closures are in place for this event. For full road closure details, head to www.northam.wa.gov.au/roadreport