Tully River

Upper (Tower 10 - Flip Wilson)

Verified! Intermediate Play Boating Dam Release Summer Autumn Winter Spring CLASS III


North Queensland. Tully

Contributed by Ben Sellers


Class: III

Season: Any - Hydro Power Station Release

Gradient: 1:50 approx.

Time: 3 hours plus playtime

Length: 6.3 km via the road

Level: All descriptions are for 88 MW release

Shuttle: Easy via Cardstone Rd

Character: Relaxed but challenging for beginners

Suits: Playboats and Riverboats

Please refer to Tully River Top Section for river level details and rapid descriptions 1-9. I've split this section out as it is paddlable mostly by beginners and is a good training stretch.

List of Rapids: Route descriptions are for easiest (safest) path, other options usually available. Quite a few unnamed races (grade I/II) are mixed in with these.

10) Tower Ten: (II) Pretty straight forward race, boney.

11) Pipeline: (II or III depending on route) This rapid begins with a chute river left and large basalt rocks on right. Two options, easiest takes the chute straight, staying on river left the whole time into eddy above helicopter rapid. More fun is start in eddy on right, boof across wall in centre to join chute and eddy out left.

12) Helicopter: (III) Good playwave at high levels for short boats doing flat moves but too shallow for enders. Good surfing practice for longer boats. Just blast though, eddying out right into centre stream if you want to play and left lower down for a break. Enter wave with speed from right corner to play.

13) Lava Flows (II, IV, V depending on level) Big wave train over curious but rough columnar basalt. To run, stay centre and paddle like a berserker once you hit the waves. One big wave with tiny eddy on right about half way down can see some big moves but it's very fast and narrow. Don't try to fit more than one boat in this eddy. There's a bigger set-up eddy on river left above this wave. Waves turn stopper at low levels.

Any carnage from Lava Flows MUST be cleaned up quickly as Cardstone Weir presents a significant retentive hazard directly below this rapid.

14) Cardstone Weir: (III on far left, V-VI in centre at high levels.) Natural Weir structure adjacent to the old Cardstone township (abandoned). If you decide to run the body of this weir, do not mess up as you'll be down for a long time. Much better option to save your loved ones unnecessary heartache is the left chute. Slide down river left, into small eddy in corner set up straight for drop and don't break your nose on your paddle shaft. Use signals to keep paddlers separate on this drop as it's easy to get stuck at the bottom and you can't tell from above till its too late. Small wave atop weir for experienced paddlers at low levels.

Access to road is available here.

14) Slalom: (III) Used to be a slalom course set up here. Start left of centre, picking your way down, ride the green water on left near bottom to avoid rocks centre and right. Eddies left and bottom right.

15) Devils Toilet: (II) Better at high levels, run straight on left or come in from right, ride the deeper wave out right at the end to avoid bum drag. Then follows a long race which is best run on river right at most levels.

16) Kool Moon Ck; (I) Kool Moon Ck on left. Shallow race, start right, move left - basic but prolonged.

17) Double D (cup): (III) So named due to large stopper on bottom left. Chicken chute on far right at high levels, beginning up high. Start centre and pick down over large rocks until the water smoothes and turns abruptly right. Turn and follow right or go over the stopper and stay there! Other option is stay more left to avoid most of the rocks, blast left across the top of the stopper and pause in the eddy. Ferry back right (upriver) across to where the water changed direction and shoot straight down. There is a flat hole below this rapid next the rock in the centre good for enders and such. Further down is a rocky race - stay in centre for least scrapes.

18) De-Vine Rapid: (II+) Vines in centre stream. Start just right of vines in centre to get a good ride while avoiding a dangerous rock pointing upstream in centre, half way down. Wave train finish. Keep out from under downed tree on left further down.

19) Walls of Jericho: (II+) One Move Wonder, rocky ledge diagonally across river, best path in centre with flick left at the wall. Boney.

20) Croc Rock: (III) Chicken chute river left, tricky. Start right of triangle rock, drop down on right of submerged rock half way down, possible photo eddy immediately right. Head back left to avoid boulders to finish. Don't go over the centre rock even at high levels as the landing is rocky.

21) Little Croc: (II) Not much to speak of, start centre, jog right and turn left off small rock to face downstream. Head over left down next two races to avoid bum scrape.

22) Carport: (I) Long race, stay right at end, very Boney.

23) Ski-ramp: (II) Final rapid this section, start right between log pointing down river and flat rock in centre, enjoy the waves to set-up on the ramp rock in centre at higher levels for some 360 action. Play wave half way down at high levels with 1 boat eddy on right.

Next rapid is Flip Wilson with the lookout on river right. This is the end of the easy section. Pull out here or refer to Tully River Middle section for more details.

Putting In: Tower 10, shown by numbers on road and small green marker posts on left (actually 100m back towards campsite from number on post) as you drive up, 7.0km upriver from campground turnoff. If you get to the lunch spot bus turn-around, you've gone too far.

Taking Out: Flip Wilson Rapid, river right with lookout and exposed access up drain. 1.7km upriver from campground. Other river accesses are marked on the road.

Camping: The Tully Gorge National Parks Campground is 3 hours from Townsville or Cairns. Turn inland at Tully’s second (from Cairns) or first (from Townsville) set of traffic lights and follow this road all the way in. All road distances for these descriptions are zeroed from the campsite turn-off.

Entry Date: 16 October 2007

Verified Date: 16 October 2007

Verified by: Tony Barnett


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