Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Mossman Gorge
Quick Guide

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Class: Grade III to IV

Level: 2.6m min. We have run it at 3.7m


Length: 3.5km

Time: 2 to 2 ½ hours depending on play time.

Put in: 1 1/2 hour drive North of Cairns to Mossman then a 2km hike from the car park.

Take out: Aboriginal Mission 2km before carpark
Character: Granite boulders, rainforest covered River.
Access to Mossman Gorge is currently restricted, It is possible to access the gorge during quite hours, however due to major constructions in the parkland you must catch the shuttle bus up from the aboriginal community. Arrangments are currently being discussed with NPW to rectify this issue

Mossman Gorge is a National Park and situated about 60km north of Cairns. Tourists flock to this river, just to stand and watch its crystal clear flows make their way through what could be described as one huge boulder garden. The whole river is made up of huge granite boulders. This obviously makes for great paddling when the water level is right.

After a 2 or 3 km walk / scrub bash, you arrive at the put in. depending at which tree you turned right at, could mean you are above or below the 1st grade 4 rapid. Getting there is best done with a local who has been there recently himself. At this point, the river has not been paddled much further than 3km up from the car park. If you put in and soon come to a fork in the river, take the right braid. This is a grade III+ to IV rapid that is difficult to see its entirety from your boat. There are eddies to catch and scout on the fly, but when the level is up over 3.5m [Check here] this rapid can get pretty pushy and the eddies harder to catch. You definitely want to do this one upright!!!

A couple of km's of steady grade 3 boulder garden, pool drop type action will bring you to the top of the pools that all the tourists come to see. You might have taken the time to scout it out on your walk in. You will see the timber viewing deck from a couple of hundred meters upstream. Eddy hop from river left, across to river right prior to the final drop. Usually by the time 6 to 10 kayaks get to this position there will be a small crowd on the viewing deck waiting for action and they are generally rewarded with some one messing it up good and proper.

From here the last km has a couple of good drops and some steeper rock gardens to negotiate. The 2nd last rapid has a rocky entry that requires lots of eddying and steady progress making your way from left to centre. It is a blind drop into a 20m long sometimes bouncy bubbly rapid. Just stay upright and you'll be OK.

The final rapid is a popular swimming spot for the local Aboriginal kids. You may see them from above the rapid. The hole at the bottom isn't too sticky and after making the pool you may be tempted to go back and have a play in it.

The take out is about 200m down stream from here on river right. Walk up to a grassed clearing where a road will lead back to the road you drove in on. You can leave a car hear as a shuttle to save walking back to the car park. [1.5km's]
Youtube movie
Kayaking Mossman Gorge Video

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