Gum Tree Rapid

Gum Tree Rapid is a few hundred meters after the Ngumeni Portage put-in and the rapid is preceded by a large calm pool, so you know exactly where you are. Gum Tree is a long rapid being nearly 250m and changes fairly significantly between high and low levels. It is also the first of the "big three" namely Gum Tree, Tombi and Hippo, however Gum Tree is very different to the other two due its length rather than significant drops.

If you intend portaging Tombi, which follows immediately after Gum Tree, then you should get out just before the "bottom section" on the left. It is a much easier and safer take-out than trying to get out above just Tombi.

Low River Level

There are three distinct sections to Gum Tree. Keep right in the top section, but avoid broadsiding the distinct "land mark" rock. Keep left for the middle section, in order to stay in the deepest channels. The middle section ends with a barrier of rocks across the river that creates a small drop. By keeping left you will naturally find yourself lining up for the best channel, however a sharp right turn is required after the drop to avoid running aground on shallow rocks. Start turning right as you drop over and allow the small wave to assist in turning you.

In the bottom section, after the small drop, follow the main flow of water towards the right. The deepest channels at the exit point are under the large tree on the right at the bend. There is an optional sneak to go left, but at low water levels it is very shallow and you have a good chance of getting stuck.

Medium to High River Levels

In higher water levels there are plenty of options through Gum Tree that are not going to get you into trouble as long as you stay in your boat through the fast currents, numerous stopper waves and strong eddies! For a good line follow the same advice for above except keep well left in the bottom section.


Compare the images below for low and high levels. Both are of the bottom section taken from the same angle.


Aerial Flyby of Gum Tree

Portage Option for Gum Tree

The portage for Gum Tree is slow and difficult as there isn't a clear path. If you do choose to portage, take out on the left bank before you enter the rapid and put in after Tombi. If you only want to portage Tombi, get out on the left before the bottom section of Gum Tree.