Tully’s main claim to fame has always been its title as ‘the wettest town in Australia’, but in our opinion, getting wet on a kayaking adventure with Ingan Tours is by far the best reason to visit this small country town.
Tully sits halfway between Cairns and Townsville on the ‘Great Green Way’.
Like many small towns along this stretch of highway, it is an inconspicuous sugar cane town, so you’re more likely to find tractors there than culture and sophistication.
However, don’t let the over-sized gumboot shrine in the middle of Tully put you off because if you look beyond the rather ordinary-looking town, you’ll find extraordinary natural waterholes and creeks.
Local indigenous tourism operators, Ingan Tours, run daily five-hour kayaking adventures down the beautiful Bulgan Creek in Tully. This is an unbelievably awesome way to spend a day and a really good reason to visit Tully.
I had so much fun the day I went on the tour I didn’t want the day to end and I wasn’t the only one.
Our guide Doug was a wealth of knowledge, not only on the local area, the local Dreamtime legends and the indigenous traditions, but also as an experienced kayaker and rafter, so we were in good hands.
Having previously kayaked down Babinda Creek (with Babinda Kayaks), I had some kayaking experience, but a kayaking trip down Bulgan Creek is totally different.
In Babinda you are provided a lifejacket and kayak and are free to paddle away at your leisure. In Tully, the tour doesn’t begin until you have had the full safety talk, learnt the right way to use the oars and had a practice in the water.
let the paddling commence!
The kayaking adventures cover eight kilometres of creek with quite a few fast flowing rapids that need guidance to manoeuvre.
However, you don’t need to be an expert kayaker to tackle the rapids, as many kids kayak solo (generally eight years and up) and can confidently tackle the rapids on their own, you just need to follow the directions given by your guide.
Doug stops before each one to give everyone a rundown of the best route through the rapids and often gets everyone to paddle down one-at-a-time so he can assist if anyone gets stuck.
And there is a good chance you will get stuck at some stage. The kayak doesn’t always follow your lead and sometimes you need to hop up and down on your kayak or dig your paddle into the water to try to get yourself unstuck.
In fact, I capsized at one point and it wasn’t even on rapids!
I was trying to avoid a spider web from an overhanging branch, leaned over too far and ended up toppling over. Luckily the water wasn’t as cold as I was expecting and it wasn’t very deep so I was able to stand up, flip my kayak back over and climb back on.
Most of the other kayakers avoided capsizing, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t get wet, so be prepared.
Throughout the day Doug stopped regularly to tell us stories about local plants and animals and their importance to the area and to the indigenous population.
We also stopped half way for some billy tea and damper (or a coffee and Milo) and to stretch our legs and have a swim. Any leftover damper was fed to the fish in the creek.
Apparently there are also platypus and turtles in the creek, although we didn’t see any on the day we were there.
As we finally pulled our kayaks out of the water at the end of the day, everyone was on a high, it was such a fantastic day. I will definitely be doing it again.
For more information about Ingan Tours kayaking adventures call them on 1300 728067 or go to their website www.ingan.com.au.
travel nq fast facts:
- There are several opportunities to enjoy both river and sea kayaking in North Queenslands. Search for kayaking in our search box to find more stories.
- There are also many other river activities available that enable visitors to enjoy the tropical rainforest from a different perspective