Cairns River Tubing: Free-Floating Fun on the Mulgrave River

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The Wet Tropics region of Far North Queensland, Australia, is perfect territory for river activities with full flowing rivers coursing through luscious green rainforest.

Local tour companies around the Cairns and Port Douglas area offer everything from white water rafting to kayaking and paddle boarding, but if you want to be able to enjoy the river without learning how to paddle, then River Tubing might be for you.

what is river tubing?

picture of river tubesRiver tubing involves free floating down river on an inner tube.

All you have to do is sit in your tube (which has mesh in the bottom so you don’t fall through) and go with the flow.

It might look a bit tame compared to rafting but it is fun and since it’s pretty easy, it is ideal for families and people who want to experience a river activity more gentle than white water rafting.

foaming fury

Foaming Fury is a small and friendly local tour company.

We recently joined their River Tubing tour on the Mulgrave River in the Goldsborough Valley, about 30 minutes drive south of Cairns.

It was the perfect day for messing about on the river – sunny weather and reasonably high water levels.

There were 10 of us on the tour including our two lively river guides, Mikey and Max, who clearly love their jobs (and who wouldn’t?!).

the tour

river tubing tour near cairnsAt the start we had about a five-minute walk along a rocky riverbed to get to the area where we launched ourselves into the river.

Pushing our tubes into the river we started on some very gentle rapids and then drifted along while our guides talked us through some basic tips and tried to get us wet by making us stand on our tubes!

Getting wet is obviously all a part of the trip and, lucky for us, on the day we went the water temperature was perfect.

Floating downstream we soon came to a bigger set of rapids where we spent most of the morning going up and down river.

river tubing funThe guides pulled a rope across the river below the rapids so we could grab hold of it, pull ourselves out and walk back up along the riverbank for another go.

It was great fun trying out lots of different ways to ride the river.

It’s basically just like being in a waterpark but with much better scenery and no queues!

secret swim hole

secret swim hole mulgrave river near cairnsAfter about 5-6 runs, Mikey and Max showed us a secret little swim hole just nearby.

There is another creek that joins the river at this point with much cooler water and if you follow it uphill for about 3-4 minutes you come across a fantastic swim hole that clearly nobody else knows about.

We spent some time having a very refreshing swim, jumping in from the rocks and trying to climb trees to swing from, before making our way back to the main river. Then we jumped back in our tubes and drifted down to the end of the tour.

This Foaming Fury river tubing tour is a great way to spend half a day. It’s lots of fun and a wonderful way to enjoy the scenery around Cairns.

travel nq fast facts:

  • Ideal for families (children must be aged 5+)
  • Only take waterproof cameras with a cord that you can secure to your safety jacket
  • There is a fair amount of walking over rocks carrying tubes so if you’re taking kids, be prepared to have to carry two
  • Spray yourself in insect repellent because there are a lot of march flies
  • The cost of this trip is $79 for adults and $59 for children. For more information go to www.foamingfury.com.au

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