Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Barron River Lake Placid
Quick Guide
II+ - III from hydro
III+ to IV+ flood stage
2.5 Km's of Pool drop rapids
River bed rock with some large boulder type rapids.
1Km of flat water to take out.
River Levels
BOM river level
5.85 min to 6.30 max from hydro
7.60+ is flood level for experienced paddlers only
Lake Placid is about 15minutes drive from the city, then 5km's to the put in
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 lower levels. The bridge to the hydro station provides a great viewing deck 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

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.

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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