Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
Cairns Kayaking
The Russell River
Quick Guide

Google Image


Class: Grade II+- III

Level: ref BOM site below.[Russell at Bucklands]
3.5 minimum
4.0 Great
4.3 Good surfing waves
5.0+ gets very pushy, Grade IV+

Gauge: BOM river gauge

Length: 2.2km

Time: 40min walk in, 1/2 to 1 hours paddling, depending on scouting time.

Put in: Check the Googl image on next page to find the trail head from the carpark. Follow the rainforest track to the river, crossing a few smaller creeks along the way.

Take out: The Golden Hole. Exit river left on a sandy area just down from the carpark.

Character: Pool drop, large rock features.

Notes: Stop for a pub lunch and some refreshments at the Mirriwinni pub on the way home.

Opposite the Mirriwinni Pub is the road to Pugh Creek. Why not make a day of it. Usually if The russell is at 4.0+, Pugh should be running as well.
The Russell River is another of the larger rivers that run all year round! It's not able to be paddled all year round though.
The hike in takes about 30 to 40 minutes and is usually muddy, humid, leach infested, strewn with "Wait a while vines" and Stinging trees. But that's part of the adventure! Along the way you cross about 4 smaller creeks that are nice to stop and cool off in.

The paddle is relatively a short, sweet run after you get to know it. At lower levels [around 3.5m] it is a bit bony in places, but still good value.
It is best run at around 4.0m to 4.6m on the BOM site. This however can change quickly, so get in after big rain and not during. If it is already up over 4.0m when you leave home it can rise another ½ m during the 40min drive. So watch for heavy rain in the mountains to the west, as it can rise another ½ m during the walk in, and while you are paddling it. Anything over 5m is better left to grade IV paddlers.

The Waterfall rapid and the Rollercoaster warrant a look before running them. We usually scout them every time as river levels dramatically alter the lines and character of them.

Put In The Russell River is about a 45 minute drive south of Cairns. From the service station at Mirriwinni, continue south a further 2.1km and turn right off the highway into Bartle Frere Road, after 3.7km turn right into Price Rd. another 4.4km along Price and Biggs Roads you will enter a National Park Car park. Leave your car here, walk toward the toilet block, across the grassed park, up the hill toward the trail head. See the Google image for a better view.

Take Out Is at the Golden hole. This is a popular swimming spot, and on most hot summer afternoons, there will be locals every where. There is a bit of a sandy area with a bit of a ramp back up to the car park.

Note. Salt water crocs have been spotted p as far as the Golden Hole at times. This is a good indicator not to paddle any further down stream. There are no further rapids any way,

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