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Whitewater rafting.
Whitewater rafting.
Whitewater rafting.
Catriona hits the rapids.

Penrith Whitewater

Thursday, May 25, 2000
Catriona hits Australia's first artificially created rapids, Penrith Whitewater. It's a huge adrenaline rush.

There is a walkway right around the course, and grass banks with room enough for about 3000 spectators. When major events are being held the grandstands can expect to seat between 8000 and 10,000 people.

The stadium will be closed to the public between July and November this year to allow athletes to train, and for the duration of the Games themselves. At other times anyone can go along and enjoy the fun.

There are three types of trips available to the public; all must be pre-booked. Several rafts can take 6-8 people with an experienced river guide on board. There is a safety briefing before the trip and all participants are fitted with life vest and safety helmet.

A session lasts about 90 minutes, which is about eight to 10 trips down the rapids. You must be at least 12 years of age to participate, plus you should be able to swim and be confident in the water.

Self-guided rafting trips are available to people who have done the guided trip once. After a lesson and safety briefing, you can guide a four-person raft if you are over 16 years old.

Inflatable kayaking offers the most challenges. The guides show you how to paddle your own one or two-person kayak, if you are over 16 years of age and have had previous whitewater experience.

Natural and man-made materials have been used, and there a six submersible pumps, each one pulling 2.8 cubic metres per second of water from the Olympic rowers warm-up lake to the start pool at the top of the course. The water is then pumped down the rapids to the finish pool.

The Grade 3 U-shaped course is 320m long and ranges from 8-14m wide. The drop from the top to the bottom is 5.5 metres. Obstacles are movable so the course can be altered, and there is a conveyor belt to carry rafts from the finish pool to the start pool.

If you just want to watch the Olympic athletes or your friends tackling the course, you can do that from the Whitewater Cafe.


Penrith is about a one-hour drive from the centre of Sydney.


90 minutes of rafting costs $55.
Open to the public every day, except during the Sydney Olympics and other special events.
Bookings are essential.

More information

Penrith Whitewater Stadium
McCarthy Lane, Cranebrook 2749
Ph: (0247) 30 4333
Fax: (0247) 30 4300
Best Western: 131 779
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission.

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