Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure

Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure

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Imagine the rush of adrenaline as you navigate through turbulent rapids. The cool spray of water is on your face, and the roar of the river echoing in your ears. 

This is not any outdoor bucket list experience: this is rafting Tully River in beautiful Australia. This a mecca for thrill-seekers and water sports enthusiasts around the world. 

If you’re someone always up for a daring escapade, then rafting the Tully River deserves a top spot on your travel bucket list. 

If you live for the thrill, don’t mind getting a tad wet, and want a bucket list memory that will last a lifetime, then going white water rafting on the breathtaking Tully River is a no-brainer.

So, let’s dive in and find out why traversing the wild waters of Tully River needs to be your next bucket list adventure!

Bucket List Review of Rafting Tully River

My Overall Rating7/10
Who Needs to Add This to Their Bucket List?Adventure enthusiasts who
love water sports
Best Time to GoOctober to May
Traveling DifficultyEasy to Moderate
Physical DifficultyModerate
Popularity Rating3/10
Group/Tour RequiredRecommended
Wheelchair AccessibleNo

If you need more information about the categories of this table, please check out the Bucket List Reviews guide.

Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure
Lunch break with waterfalls in Australia!

What is the Tully River and Does it Deserve a Place on Your Bucket List? 

Nestled within the stunning landscapes of North Queensland, Australia, you’ll find the magnificent Tully River. This is a gem among the country’s natural wonders. 

This beauty is perched in between Cairns and Townsville, it is located on the edge of Tully Gorge National Park.

This river roars through UNESCO World Heritage Rainforest, offering an exquisite backdrop to an exhilarating rafting experience. 

What makes Tully River extraordinary is its dependable year-round rapids. The temperature ranges from 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 90°F) all year. Thanks to consistent rainfall in the area, it maintains a steady flow of white water, making it a paradise for rafting enthusiasts. 

It’s a pulse-raising, thrill-inducing adventure that teems with wildlife and vibrant vegetation. The Tully River is not only a venue for an unforgettable rafting journey. It’s a spot where nature and adventure harmoniously intertwine. 

With grade 3 to 4 rapids (ISRD), it is no surprise that it’s a top contender on any adrenaline junkie’s bucket list!

My Personal Experience Rafting the Tully River in Australia

My rafting experience started when I flew into Cairns, Australia from New Zealand

I originally traveled to that location because I wanted to go on a diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef. Looking for other things to do before I ventured onto Fiji, I ended up going with a tour out of Cairns to a full day rafting on the Tully River. 

With my bar very low and just looking for an adventure, my mind was blown! I had white river rafted in my home state of Colorado, but this was next level! 

I decided to go with Raging Thunder Adventures. I have nothing but good things to say about this company and it was a perfect Australian rafting adventure!

Maybe it was the pristine backdrop, the rushing adrenaline filled rapids or the waterfalls, but this soon became one of the most underrated things I did while exploring Australia

My favorite highlight of the trip was hoping out of the boat and going down a natural waterfall slide on my back! 

Needless to say that Tully River took me by surprise. I would definitely recommend it to all of my nature or adventure bucketlisters! 

Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure
Rafting down Tully River in Australia.

Guided Tours for Your Tully River Rafting Adventure

Rafting the Tully River is a bucket list-worthy adventure, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. The untamed waters of this magnificent river, while exhilarating, can be daunting for first-timers and seasoned rafters alike. 

That’s why opting for a guided tour is a safer and, in many ways, a more rewarding option.

I know that some companies will let you go out with your own raft and that you might be able to kayak on your own. I, however, I didn’t see any indication that it was possible to white river raft on your own, especially the sections with tougher rapids. Therefore, you might not have a choice

That’s okay though! Guided tours for rafting the Tully River are run by experienced professionals who know the river like the back of their hand. They are trained to navigate the rapids, ensuring your safety while you enjoy the thrill of the ride. 

With them at the helm, you can focus on absorbing the breathtaking views, capturing the wildlife, and immersing yourself in the exhilaration of the river’s waves.

Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure
A big thumbs up from our rafting friends!

Rafting Tully River Tour Ideas

Moreover, a guided tour isn’t just about safety. It’s an opportunity to enrich your experience. Your guides will fill you in on the history of the area and point out unique species of plants and animals that you might otherwise miss.

Tour operators also provide all the necessary equipment. This includes helmets, life jackets, and high-quality rafts, so you don’t have to worry about managing logistics.

So, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking to cross another thrilling adventure off your bucket list, or someone looking to step out of your comfort zone, rafting the Tully River with a professional tour group is undoubtedly the way to go!

When I visited Tully River, I went on a full-day tour from Cairns. It lasted around 11 hours and was the perfect way to cross rafting on the Tully River off of my bucket list. See an example of a highly-rated tour below:

What You Need to Bring for a Successful Trip on Tully River 

Packing for your rafting adventure on the Tully River can make or break your experience. So, it’s crucial to get it right. First and foremost, remember that you’re going to get wet – very wet. Pack accordingly and expect everything to be drenched by the time you are done. 

Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure
Making some new fish friends while stopping for lunch on my Tully River adventure.

Swimsuit or Quick-Dry Clothes

For the rafting itself, wear a swimsuit or quick-dry clothes, and avoid cotton as it holds moisture. 

When I embarked on this adventure, I wore a swimsuit with a long-sleeved rash guard over. This was perfect because I could get wet, but I also had maximum protection from the sun – my porcelain skin would have never survived! 

Sturdy Shoes that Can Get Wet

A sturdy pair of water shoes is a must to protect your feet from rocks. Most tour companies will provide or require lace-up shoes. As I have mentioned before, these will get very wet! 

I decided to wear my Chacos: they can get wet, are very secure, and have a tough sole to push off rocks and other river debris. 

Sun Protection

Don’t forget sunscreen and a maybe a hat to shield yourself from the Australian sun. You are on a river with minimal shade after all! 

If you wear sunglasses or normal glasses, be sure to bring a strap to keep them secure during your adventure. 

Change of Clothes

After your adventurous rafting shenanigans, a change of clothes for the end of the day and a towel to dry off are essential. Plus, if you come from a major city such as Cairns, the last thing you want is to sit on a bus in wet dirty clothes for over 2 hours! 

Waterproof Bag

Lastly, pack a waterproof bag or case to keep your essentials like phone, wallet, and keys dry. 

Personally, this is always a gamble. I have personally never had issues with dry bags but I have had backpacking friends ruin passports and phones this way! If you do choose to take your belongings with you, I would suggest double bagging in waterproof bags just to be safe. 

For example, when I go paddle boarding, I will put my valuables in a waterproof dive box and then put that box into a dry bag. 

Where to Stay Near the Tully River

When it comes to accommodation near the Tully River, there’s a variety to choose from to cater to all tastes and budgets. 

For those who enjoy being close to nature, camping at the Tully Gorge Campground offers a delightful opportunity to sleep under the stars, with the roar of the river as your lullaby. 

If you prefer a bit more comfort, consider staying at the Tully Motel, known for its friendly staff and clean, comfortable rooms. 

For a more luxurious experience, the Sanctuary Retreat in Bingil Bay offers stunning cabin-style accommodation nestled in the heart of the rainforest. 

In some cases, you may choose a bigger city and then commute. I was initially in Cairns due to diving. Conveniently, I was just a few hour’s drive from Tully and chose a tour that operated out of Cairns. 

No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll be well-positioned for your bucket list adventure on the Tully River.

Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure
A magnificent view of the river before we went white river rafting.

Top Tips for Safety and Enjoyment on the Water

When embarking on your bucket list adventure of white water rafting in the Tully River, safety should always be the top priority. Here are some essential tips to help ensure you have a thrilling yet safe experience.

Listen to Your Guide

Your guide is an experienced professional who knows the river intimately. They’ll provide a safety briefing before you hit the water.

Listen carefully to your guides instructions and follow them diligently.

They will teach you how to handle the raft and what to do in case of emergencies.

My tour operator had a hilarious safety video beforehand, complete with some previous rafting fails. 

Wear Appropriate Gear

Always wear the safety gear provided by your tour operator. This includes a helmet, life jacket, and sturdy shoes. Make sure that they fit properly and are secured before you get on the raft.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Being honest, I was at the front of the boat with another gentleman. Behind the man was a lovely German girl. During one of the rapids, he accidentally flew back and hit her with his helmet. She got a small bloody nose, but was fine and could have been a lot worse. 

I don’t tell this story to scare you, but to give you a small heads up to be aware of your surroundings and other people as much as you can, especially during the rapids. 

Stay in the Raft

While it may seem obvious, it’s important to stay inside the raft, especially when navigating rapids. Always hold onto the raft’s safety ropes when on the water.

Spoiler alert: I did fall out briefly and sometimes it is out of your control. I got very lucky and was able to enter the raft very quickly. For safety reasons, I would try your best to stay in the raft to the best of your ability. 

Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure
Me and my group after some big rapids where I may (or may not) have just fallen into the water!

Know How to Swim

While not mandatory, knowing how to swim can give you an extra layer of safety. You will have a life jacket at all times. 

If you end up in the water, try to float on your back with your feet downstream to protect yourself from oncoming obstacles.

Stay Hydrated and Don’t Forget to Eat

Tully River rafting is physically demanding. Stay hydrated and don’t forget to eat to keep your energy levels high.

On my tour (and most tours), you will stop in the middle of an awe inspiring location for some amazing food! 

Check Weather Forecasts

The Tully River is in a wet region, and weather can change quickly. Check the forecast before heading out and be prepared for various weather conditions.

Tully River is in a wet region. Rafting is doable even when it is raining. Listen to your guide and use to best judgement to take the weather as it comes!

By following these tips, you can make the most out of your Tully River rafting adventure. It’s all about having fun, so embrace the thrilling rapids, marvel at the stunning rainforest, and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Are you ready to get into the water instead of float on top of it? Don’t forget to check out my Great Barrier Reef Guide!

Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure
G0ing down rapids on Tully River.

Final Word on Adding Rafting Tully River to Your Bucket List

In conclusion, if you’re on the hunt for an adventure that will leave you breathless, exhilarated, and filled with unforgettable memories, white water rafting on the Tully River is an absolute must-add to your bucket list. 

From the moment you suit up and step into your raft, to the thrill of navigating your way amidst the rushing rapids, every minute spent on the Tully River is a testament to the raw beauty and power of nature. 

With a well-packed bag, the right safety measures, and an adventurous spirit, this adventure is guaranteed to be a highlight in your lifetime of travels. 

So, what are you waiting for? The Tully River is calling, and it’s high time for you to answer. Buckle up, get out there, and cross this epic adventure off your bucket list!

Tully River, Rafting Tully River: Your Next Bucket List Adventure
Admiring the beautiful views while rafting the Tully River.

Adventure Bucket List Resources

I am here to help your travel adventures go as smoothly as possible! That way you can check off that bucket list with minimal complications and spending!

AIRFARE – It is no surprise that like many travelers, I have found that Hopper is one of the best resources to use when finding cheap flights. 

ACCOMMODATION – My two favorites are Booking.Com for hotels and VRBO for rentals. 

GUIDED TOURS –  If you are looking for quick and easy tours, check out GetYourGuide and Viator

MULTI-DAY TOURS –  For more in-depth tours that span several days, TourHub has many great options with reputable travel companies. Use my code (ALEXANDRA1GURU) for up to 5% off your next bucket list adventure. 

TRANSPORTATION –  You can either rent a car yourself with Discover Cars or do a guided bus tours like Big Bus Tours

CREDIT CARD –  I always use my Chase Freedom Unlimited card for all of my purchases. There is no annual fee and you get 1.5% cash back and 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel. 

SIM CARDS –  Avoid expensive roaming charges with an eSim card with Airalo.

TRAVELER’S INSURANCE –  Check out VisitorsCoverage for affordable insurance plans.

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