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White Water Rafting in Australia on the Tully River

RAFTING white water
White Water Rafting Tully River

Leah Bursztynowicz
Sales Manager - White Water Rafting

One Stop Adventures caught up with Leah from Tully Rafting to see what all the fuss it about!

Leah, what is the name of your tour activity, where are you located and what do you offer as a product?

We're based in Cairns however our Tully Rafting Tour is in Tully, which is two hours south. It's white water rafting in grade three to four rapids on the world renowned Tully River. 

What are the main differences between standard and the extreme?

The extreme is $41 more. On our standard tour we have quite large rafts. We take up to about six people plus the guides in the raft. Participants don't need any swimming ability, so you're not really going to be thrown from the raft and all that sort of stuff on the standard trip. For the extreme the guide will look for the different current line down the rapids. The extreme rafts are smaller, so they're lighter, more manoeuvrable and easier to flip.

We only take four rafts per trip and you will be getting flipped out of the raft. There's a couple of different thrills we do, like cliff jumping. We also jump out of the raft at sections and go down the rapids just with our bodies. There's one in particular where you're under water for 10 seconds and then you pop out. So it's really exciting, really adrenalin pumping on the extreme. Whereas the standard trip is for everybody.

What age demographic usually travels on your tours?

We take anyone from 13 years old. We have two different options, the standard Tully Rafting and we also have the xtreme rafting. We take anyone from 13 years on the standard and for extreme we can take anyone from 15. We usually have people traveling with a group of friends or single travellers looking to meet friends while they're traveling.

What level of fitness would you need to go rafting and do you need to know how to swim?

A moderate level of fitness is okay. You don't need to be super fit. On the standard trip no swimming ability is necessary. The extreme is for those in for a bit more adrenalin and you need to be a confident swimmer with a good level of conversational English because the guys will be shouting instructions throughout the day.

Not only is it the best white water rafting trip in Australia. It is also one of the best in the world.

Do you offer pick up and drop offs, and what times are available?

We offer pickups from Cairns and Mission Beach. The Cairns pick up time is 6:30 a.m., Mission Beach is 8:30 a.m. There's also an option for self-drive, where we meet at The El Arish Tavern just off the Highway 15 mins north of Tully. It’s two hours south of Cairns and 25 minutes from mission beach just off the highway.

Okay perfect. What advice do you have for people to prepare or get in the zone before participating?

Just basically prepare for a day of laughs and fun. You may be a little sore the next day from all the paddling.

Would you recommend to bring your own sunscreen or do they provide it there? Do people need to bring towels and hats, and things like that?

You can wear a baseball cap underneath your helmet. Apart from that just board shorts, swimmers, take a dry change of clothes and a towel. We do provide sunscreen and you can reapply at lunchtime.

Do people need to wear shoes?

Yep, you can just wear runners or reef shoes. They will obviously get wet. If you don't want to get your own shoes wet, you can hire shoes for $5.

If they've got their own cameras or Go-Pros, are they allowed to bring them on their experience?

Unfortunately, due to safety reasons we no longer allow the GO PRO. We do have a professional photographer on the trip though that takes the best photo and videos. So at all the really good rapids, he'll be there taking photos of the group and you can purchase those photos at the end of the trip which come on a USB stick for $80. You can even split it with your group on the boat and share it among your selves

What kind of training do your guides receive and how experienced are they?

Raging Thunder has been operating Rafting trip on the Tully River for 34 years. So you can rest assured you are in safe hands. All our river guides have accredited certification and some of our river guides are on the Australian team, so they're all very experienced.

Can you run me through what a person experiences on the day?

We'll pick you up from your accommodation, whether it's Cairns or Mission Beach, or you can self-drive. The drive down to Tully is beautiful, it's through sugar cane and banana plantations. Tully is Australia’s wettest town so there’s usually some beautiful clouds and rainforest-clad mountains.

We have a comfort stop at the local El Arish Tavern where we meet people self driving and then from there we'll head up to the top of the Tully Gorge. At the top of the Gorge our expert guides will go through different skills and paddling techniques, they'll also kit you out with some life jackets, helmets, and paddles. Then you'll set off rafting on the river.

Now keep in mind that this is the only way to see this section of the Tully Gorge. It's an beautiful, rainforest clad mountain. So make sure you take a look around because once you're on the river, it's non-stop action. There's rapid after rapid. Half way down the river we stop at the beautiful pony tail falls and have a BBQ lunch. Then we get back on the river to continue the adventure.

We see about 14 kilometress of the river all up so it is a full-on day. At the end of the trip we'll head back to the Hotel where you can have a cold drink, check out your photos and purchase them if you like. Shortly after it's back to Mission Beach by about 4:00 p.m. or back to Cairns by about 6:00 p.m.

What qualifications, certificates, or awards has your company obtained?

We've won heaps of awards, our most recent was Best Tour Activity in Queensland, at the Golden Backpack awards in 2016.

What safety measures do you have in place?

With some of the bigger rapids we'll have river guides on standby on the banks of the river with row boats, ready, in case anyone accidentally falls out. We also have two medic rafts that are fitted out with all the first aid equipment, oxygen, and a defibrillator. Some of our guides are trained as EMTs, so if something did happen, then there's help at hand.

Why should someone choose your product?

Well not only is it the best white water rafting trip in Australia. It is also one of the best in the world. It's all weather, so even if it's raining you can do it and you don't need any experience. We give you everything you need to know.

Finally. Do you have any tips, or advice, or is there something that I've missed out that you'd like to mention?

Well we do have some exciting news on the Tully. It was announced just last week that the IRF World Rafting Championships will be held on the Tully River in 2019 which is something that we're excited about.

We'll be sponsoring the event and a couple of our river guides will be competing. So it’s big news.

Also at the moment we're giving away free t-shirts to anyone that does the extreme. That's just a bit of a bonus, you get to take the bragging rights with you, that you conquered the Tully.

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