Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Barron River Lake Placid
Quick Guide

Class: Grade III to III+

Level: 15meg to 60meg depending on release
Wet season flooding can be 300megs+++

Gauge:BOM river gauge
5.7=15 megs
6.0=30 megs
6.3=60 megs
Length: 2.5km rapids, 1km flat to take out

Time: 1 to 1 ½ hours depending on play time.

Put in: 100m before hydro bridge

Take out: Lake Placid

Character: Pool drop, large boulder features and

Notes: There is a great café at the take out that serves hot food and drinks. It is open till late for those late summer afternoon paddles, or pre full moon paddle drinks!
Lake Placid Video

Many full moon runs are run on this river when the water is on and the moon is up. Make sure to hook up with some locals for this experience.

Camping is available at Lake Placid visit:
The lower section from the Barron Gorge Hydro Station to Lake Placid is primarily hydro release with the exception being the wet season from November to March when the heavy rains can increase the river volume considerably. The river is commercially rafted daily by a number of rafting companies and can have up to 20 rafts on it between 2.00pm & 3.30pm

This section of the Barron is the main playground for white water paddlers in the area. Its proximity to the city and convenient put in and take out make it perfect for after work runs. You would hook up a car shuttle almost any afternoon with some of the local paddlers.

The river itself is mainly pool drop with numerous play spots along the way. At the put in, a flat water section provides a good warm up area and has a wave that works at 15megs to 30megs. The bridge to the hydro station provides a great viewing position for spectators who seem to gather to watch the kayakers get started. The image below shows the power station bridge at the put in with the river running top left to bottom right. see image below

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The two Grade III+ rapids of interest are the Rooster Tail and the Cheese Churner. These are approximately 1/3 and 2/3 way down the river. The Rooster at lower levels [15meg] is probably worth a look at, on your first run unless you have a local guide to give you a line, as the rocks that create the rooster tail become exposed and seem to be magnetic to plastic. There is a portage on river left, or a B line river right at lower levels. To scout it, eddy out on river left. The B line gets a bit sticky above 60 and The Rooster gets easier.

The Cheese Churner is adjacent to a huge boulder on river left. The easy portage is river right about 100m before the boulder.

Take out: To get to Lake Placid, travel north from the city, along the Cook Highway approx 9km past the International airport traffic lights, turn left at the 4th roundabout and go another 2.5km then turn right at the traffic lights and follow the signs to Lake Placid. Leave a car at the lake car park. In the image below you can see the path to get from the lake to the carpark, and the restaurant up on the right.

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Put in: Back track ½km before turning left. The drive will first take you through some Lake Placid residential housing and then heads up and over a hill where the road narrows and the river returns on your left at the bottom of the hill. For the next few km's the road winds and undulates through the rain forest getting glimpses of the rapids until you reach the dead end. The track to the put in is about 100m back from the hydro station gate. Walk down a well worn track to the pool. Unfortunately, Google maps didn't drive all the way to the put in, but the image below shows the road part the way up.

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Youtube movie
Barron River Boys
Youtube movie
Cairns 08 wet season preview.
Youtube movie
What not to do kayaking the Barron
Youtube movie
AJ's Ugly wet entry

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