Windsurfing champ and lifelong water sports enthusiast Simon Peters hosts a Stand-Up Paddle Scenic River Tour on the Blackwood where participants learn how to steer a board through the fallen logs on the narrow Chapman Brook on the way to the bigger waterway.
“Wobbly knees gradually get strong and within five minutes most people start to feel confident on the basics as we paddle along through the natural forest,” says Simon. “It’s completely safe, of course, but the natural bush of the surrounding park and the sense of isolation and wilderness gives it a real adventure feel.”
Helen Lee, also known as The Bushtucker Woman, runs the Bushtucker Canoe Tours on the much smaller Margaret River and says if you want seclusion then this is the river for you.
Helen has been working on the river with local and regional conservation groups for 25 years and has seen it transformed back to good health through good management practices. Named by The National Rivers Council as one of the best kept eco systems in Australia, Helen thinks the river itself is the jewel in the Margaret River Region.
“The river has gone from being quite a backwater when I first started, where the banks were exposed to too much heat because the town was basically using up all the water, to a place teeming with long-necked turtles, fish and marron,” she says.
Helen counts the relative difficulty of access as a plus and says once there, among the paperbark trees in an area she calls nature’s dining room, you are in for a truly unique experience. A number of tours include a showcase of wild foods found in the area. Her must-try pick is the Carpobrotus Virescens (also known as Pigface) which, if turned upside down and squeezed, pops out a juicy, high in vitamin C delicious fig.