Top Ten Australia Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Canoe the Jardine River
By Ron Moon & Viv Moon

The Jardine rises clear as crystal, bubbling from the sands close to the east coast just a short distance from the northernmost tip of Australia in Queensland; it then flows west through a wilderness of heath and rainforest. No whitewater river, this is rather a wild, untamed stream that remains unmarked by the hand of man along its complete length.

Only a few people have paddled it for anywhere near its whole length; doing so demands a rigorous four-wheel-drive trip and a full day's walk, with an inflatable canoe in the backpack, to get to anywhere near within its upper reaches. Then, for four or five days, or longer, you pass through untouched country, the only sign of civilization being a car ferry on the river that takes travelers to the Top of Australia at Cape York.

At its mouth, the Jardine empties its gin-clear waters across a wide sandy delta into the calm shallow expanse of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Even here there are few signs of civilization—just the odd fishing shelter here and there, built by the fishermen who visit this coast occasionally. This is wilderness canoeing at its best.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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