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Flying into North Johnstone River.
Flying into North Johnstone River.
Heli-rafting down North Johnstone River.
Sorrel and the gang heli-rafting.

Heli-Rafting

Thursday, July 6, 2000
Sorrel checks out R'n'R Rafting on the North Johnstone River in Queensland, and from what I can see, she's in for an adrenaline-pumping ride.

If you choose to take a two-day trip you will cover about 40km (about 10km in the first day, which consists of transportation, briefing and rafting to the campsite, with some stops to take in the scenery).

A two-day R'n'R trip involves a pick-up in Cairns at about 6.15am and breakfast at Mirriwinni Roadhouse. At Mungalli Falls, it's all hands on to put your gear into watertight barrels.

Then it's a short walk to One Tree Hill, where you are ferried to the river helicopter for the flight to the junction of the North Johnstone and Beatrice rivers. This is where the rafting starts, after a general briefing and safety instructions.

The first rapid, The Junction, is one of the largest, and you raft on from there until about midday when you stop for lunch. Then you raft until about 4pm, have a stroll through the rainforest and enjoy dinner and a chat around the campfire.

After breakfast on day two, the rafts are loaded up and off you go until lunch time, tackling two more rapids before the outboard motor takes over for the rest of the trip. After a cool drink at the Mirriwinni Hotel, a bus takes you back to Cairns.

The campsite is quite primitive. It has no running water (there is a creek for bathing), electricity or power. Permanent tarpaulins are set up at the campsite, but you need to take everything else with you — firewood, tents, mattresses and food. Nothing is to be left behind — not even left-over firewood.

Palmerston National Park was gazetted in 1941 as a World Heritage area, and in 1986 the State Forestry Department handed the North Johnstone River to the National Parks. Its origin is volcanic and the river flows through Basalt Gorge, where in some places the sides are 100 metres high.

Location

Palmerston National Park, 120km south of Cairns.

Cost

R'n'R Rafting two-day trips along the North Johnstone River cost $415 per person, including meals, helicopter transfers and some equipment.
A one-day Tully River trip costs $138 per person for five hours of rafting, transfers to Tully and a barbecue lunch.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission.

More information

R'n'R Rafting: (07) 4031 7766
1800 079 039
Qantas: 13 1313
Best Western: 13 1779
Website: www.bestwestern.com.au

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