Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Barron River / Tinaroo Falls
Quick Guide


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Class: Grade III & IV

Level: Running over Tinaroo spillway.

Gauge: www.bom.gov.au


From .5m to .9m

Length: 10km

Time: 3 hours depending on play time.

Put in: At the bidge below the Tinaroo Dam wall
Take out: Leave a car at the end of Northey Rd [200m after xing the channel]This is private property!!!

Character: Flood stage river

Notes: Get permission from owners at take out to leave your vehicle and traverse their property later.
The Tinaroo falls run of the Barron River starts directly below the dam wall at Tinaroo.
The river is usually only paddle able when the dam is running over the spillway. [Later reference OSW] This happens only every few years, so when it is, make the effort to get up there.

Due to the fact that for 2 years at a time, the river only gets minimal water released, trees and other vegetation have grown up in the river bed. This means that when it running at a descent level, it is like paddling a flood stage river. There are a lot of trees to negotiate and a lot of features that are usually a long way out of water.

Starting at the bridge below the spillway, the 1st km is mainly just wave trains where it will take a slow right bend, a short pool then a sharp left turn followed by a longer pool. At just over a km the first rapid called, Cascade Rapids. This starts after the last pool and turns right at the bottom. In higher water, there is an easier run down river right. It is followed by a few smaller rapids and then a long pool with a left turn in the middle.

As the pool narrows, you should see a dwelling up on the hill at river left. This is the top of Tinaroo Creek Falls Rapids. The falls are more like a large cascade and not a vertical drop. They are run able, or an easier route is river right. At .7m to .9m OSW, the river right option is OK. Below that it is pretty boney. Both routes deserve a good look at prior to running them.

The next 2km is heavily populated by trees in the river. After which a small pool of about 150m appears and turns slightly to the right. This is the Gorge Rapid and is made up of large granite slabs which at .5m OSW is quite an easy grade III. but at .9m OSW it completely submerges all features and becomes a fast flowing, 300m long section of white water with some car size holes hiding amongst a rapid with no eddies. At this level it is definitely an exciting rapid to paddle, but would be pushing the upper limits of grade III+ or IV-. Again, take a good look at it. From river right, you can scout most of it.

The last major rapid is the Flying Fox. If you wanted to walk it, you need to be river left in the pool way before the river starts tilt downward

After this, the excitement drops a notch and a couple of easy rapids and some flat water pools will take you to the take out. Look for some pink flagging tape in the trees on river left. You will now see an old abandoned hut up from the river. Walk up across the verandah and around to the left and on up the road. It is about 1km back to the car. I hope you remembered to ask someone if it was OK to leave a car and traverse their land. They are lovely people, so please don't spoil it for later users.

You can continue another 10km down river and exit at a low bridge along Henry Hannam Drive. But this is another story. Just note! There are a couple of big rapids and falls in this run that are dificult to see coming. I have not paddled this section, but will get some to do some river notes for it.

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