Packrafting in Cape York, Far North Queensland

The best thing about living in Weipa, Far North Queensland, for half of the year is being in the middle of the incredible wilderness of Cape York. Rivers, beaches, rain forests, this place has everything. Best of all it’s so sparsely populated you can pretty well go anywhere and do anything without ever running into another person.

In the time I’ve lived there I’ve done trips down most of the larger rivers - the Wenlock, Archer and Jardine. Before I discovered packrafts a friend and I hiked into the headwaters of the Jardine with Airis Sport 11 inflatable kayaks and spent five days traveling down it. It’s an amazing river, clear green water, tropical rain forest and cypress pine groves, and white sand beaches.

A few months ago I took my packraft up to Elliot Creek, which is one of the tributaries to the Jardine. I launched at Elliot Falls and spent two days paddling to Jardine Ferry, which is about 60km down stream. Had a great trip - saw a lot of fish, mainy saratoga, and five saltwater crocodiles. It’s amazing to see the crocs sitting on the bottom of the river and gliding over the top of them.

Packrafting in the tropics is completely different to Tasmania, but just as spectacular in its own way. The Cape is basically flat so the rivers are all grade 1-2. Crocodiles are grade 5-6 though.

Tried to add some pics, couldn’t get it to work - have some on facebook though.

Wonderful looking country you have up there Richard, very nice, not sure about the crocs though, I have seen them eating Dugongs and pack rafts look like dugongs :slight_smile:


Looks awesome- but also not sure about the crocs!! Was bad enough paddling in the NT where there was supposed to be freshies (I’m allowed to be a wuss I’m from NSW). Thanks for posting- not sure I’ll be stealing this rip idea though…

The crocodiles aren’t as bad as you would think. I’ve paddled past at least 30 that I’ve seen, and only had two show aggression.

Croc experts I’ve talked to say that the natural diet of crocodiles is fish, and that they only tend to predate on people in relatively densely populated areas where over-fishing has reduced their natural food source.

That said there’s obviously a risk there, and people have to weight up whether it’s worth it or not. Planning to do some other cape rivers - the McHenry, which flows parallell to the Jardine, and the other branch of the Jardine, which starts near the East Coast above Hunter Falls, next year.