25 March, 2021
Rapid Recovery for Tully Rafting
ONE of the region’s biggest tourism drawcards will be splashing back into action this weekend after a 12-month break and a return to local ownership.
One of the region’s biggest tourism drawcards will be splashing back into action this weekend after a 12-month break and a return to local ownership.
Raging Thunder White Water Rafting will recommence on the Tully River on Saturday, March 27, and bookings are open now.
Cairns Adventure Group (CAG) director Roderic Rees, who also owns Barron River rafting company Foaming Fury, managed to buy out his competition, Raging Thunder, from Sydney-based tourism giant Experience Co in November last year.
Mr Rees, a Cairns-raised father of two, said it was great to win a “terrifying David and Goliath battle” against Australia’s largest tourism company after starting as a guide at Foaming Fury 15 years ago and working his way up.
Since purchasing Raging Thunder, Mr Rees said he had received daily enquiries from people asking when the Tully River rafting tour was going to be running again.
Despite all the challenges facing the tourism industry, including JobKeeper ending this weekend, Mr Rees said Tully River rafting was too important and famous to stay closed.
“The Barron River is a grade three river, but The Tully is a grade four river, and one of the top five rivers in the world,” he said.
“The 2019 World Rafting Championships were held there. It’s held in high esteem all over the planet as one of the best rafting rivers.
“It has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and employed thousands of locals over its 34-year history.
“It’s a huge drawcard for the region and an important part of destination marketing for Australia as a whole.
“I see a real sense of pride in restoring that to the pedestal it should be on.”
Mr Rees also owns R&R Rafting which will soon be offering unique experiences to cater to the domestic market while international borders are closed.
“Australians are innately adventurous, so we want to give them tour options that satisfy that,” Mr Rees said.
Multi-day rafting expeditions will see guests hiking or getting helicopter drop-offs to remote waterways carrying light-weight single-person rafts in their backpacks.
Mr Rees said the tours would also have a strong focus on education about culture and rainforest ecology.
Tully River White Water Rafting will initially run on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while additional departure dates are available for groups or on demand.