UC Sport Study Tour: Rafting the Tully


A day of experiencing true Adventure Tourism up in Cairns with a white water rafting trip on the Tully River with Roaring Thunder. The Tully is a technical river (in low tide at least) with many rock obstacles and well recognized around the world as a good breeding ground for rafting guides. The adventure tourism industry in Cairns has taken a recent hit however as one company folded, in part at least due to challenges facing them with insurance after recent stress in that industry after the earthquake in Christchurch, NZ. Cairns has primarily one major adventure tourism company which has absorbed most of the gap in the market.


As for most things related to Adventure tourism, safety and insurance is high on the agenda. Insurance can cost upwards of $100,000 and safety precautions must be closely followed. White water rafting comes under the Maritime Authority, and companies must follow their guidelines. During the paddling many of the safety precautions were obvious such as helmet and PFDs, guides standing bank side with safety ropes at particular points and of course there being a guide for each raft. What I found interesting was that there is no wider governing accreditation of raft guides, that’s not to say they aren’t well equipped to do their job. Our guide underwent 6 weeks of training with the company, followed by ~10 weeks of on-water training, hundreds of raft trips being logged and documented before being allowed to guide a raft on his own.

For us, the trip was lots of fun and required quite a bit of team work to get us down safely. The river involved a number of category 3 and 4 rapids and only a few went swimming when they weren’t supposed to.  Check out the pictures and video for some of the highlights.


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