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Down down the Mitta Mitta.

Experience world-class whitewater rafting in the exceptional wilderness of Gippsland's Mitta Mitta River with Rafting Australia.

Feb 6, 2023


Words: Gippslandia

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Can’t say that amidst all the rain Gippsland has been receiving that we thought, “Heck yeah, let’s go charge the rapids of a swollen river!” But after a chat with Rafting Australia’s Linton ‘Smithy’ Smith, it’s all that we can think about.

Originally a kayaker, Linton admits that as a younger man, he watched rafters bounce their way down the river wondering, “These guys are crazy… Why are they so out of control?”

But then a mate that couldn’t grasp kayaking purchased a raft. And, he saw that Linton was immersing himself in life on the river, so he threw down a challenge: “Smithy, you love this. Why can’t you do this as a job?”

Some more equipment was purchased, and very quickly Linton had a successful business on his hands. Now, 30 years later, Linton and his wife Tracey are enjoying a fantastic year as the bumper rains have resulted in record water levels down the Mitta Mitta River and full-bore summer rafting adventures are on the cards this year.

Linton stresses that, “People don’t realise the wilderness to be found in Gippsland… this piece of river is exceptional!”

Along the Mitta Mitta you’ll be dwarfed by towering granite gorges, and it offers world-class whitewater rafting, with 60 rapids classed between levels two and four, and quintessential names like Graveyard, Dislocation, the S-Bend, Waterfall (original!) and the Gobbler. You get a solid shot of adrenaline just thinking about it.

Linton offers that in the 80s and 90s their clients were largely looking for a big hit of excitement and laughs, but now travellers are more discerning. While ‘adrenaline junkies’ still flock to Rafting Australia’s river trips, Linton says that the clientele is increasingly diverse, with loads of family trips, groups of friends, colleagues and corporate experiences. An outdoor education program with Brighton Grammar School has led to more parents joining their children on whitewater trips due to the awesome bonding experience it provides.

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Rafting Australia has provided the pontoon for numerous wedding proposals, but Linton says that one of the most memorable trips was taking a gent down the river who had to bid on his dream home at the stroke of 3pm. Linton had the client standing atop a large rock that managed to capture a whisker of reception, just enough for the guy to bid in the auction. Unfortunately, the gent didn’t secure the place, to the frustration of his partner, but he did enjoy an excellent rafting adventure!

The perception of rafting being a risky venture is shifting, especially as equipment advances, such as toe cups that you slot into, which then allow you to gain purchase and paddle into rapids, while also ensuring that participants largely remain in the raft.

Linton says the biggest hurdle is that Australians don’t fully grasp the quality of whitewater and wilderness in our Gippsland backyard, but that once we do, we’ll be compelled to keep returning for the experience. Linton highlights the local crew that have loved three trips in just four months. They just can’t get enough of the Mitta Mitta – it’s all they think about too.

To book your exciting jaunt down this stunning river, visit raftingaustralia.com.au now.

Gippslandia - Issue No. 25

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