So I stayed in Mission beach for two nights and one full day. There is very little to do in Mission beach due to the cyclone which unfortunately hit the town two and a half years ago. Backpackers now only go there for two reasons now; either to do a sky dive or to do the white water rafting trip. I chose the latter as I can barely bring myself to go on a roller-coaster, and so having the guts to jump out of a plane seemed somewhat unlikely.
The white water rafting trip takes place down the famous Tully river. One of the most famous places for rafting in the world. The rapids reach a grade 5 at parts down this river; any higher than this and you cannot go down on a raft (although a kayak is allowed), and so for rafting this as extreme as it gets. There are three options for this trip; the gentle half day which only takes you down the gentle rapids, the full day raft, or the extreme rafting which combines all the fun of the rafting with extreme jumps, swims and slides. I decided that if I was going to do it I was going to do it properly so opted for the extreme version. Grade 5 rapids, the extreme trip and one girl who had never been white water rafting before. There was never any question that I was going to have to get wet a lot on this trip!
There are three boats that go out with five guests in each boat, each with an experienced guide at the back. On all my other trips there had been light hearted jokes about dangers and risks, but on this trip no such jokes were made. The safety talks were serious and were not designed to put anyone at ease. The waver we had to sign talked about death a scary amount. And then just as I felt I couldn't get any more nervous my guide told me not to be nervous as he was a qualified paramedic. We need a paramedic on this trip?! Suddenly jumping out of a plane didn't seem like such a bad idea.
But we set off and ended up having the best day ever. The rapids were crazy but brilliant. We were never given any kind of break from the relentless adrenaline rush. Every time the rapids were slightly calmer they got us to jump out of the boat and swim through them. We were warned to breath each time we came to the peak of a rapid as we wouldn't be able to breath between them as our heads would be underwater. This turned out to be much easier said then done as almost all of us came out coughing and spluttering from breathing at an inconvenient time.
Every time there was a big pile of rocks, or a tree with branches hanging out over the river we would get instructed to climb and then jump. I am proud to say that despite being very outside of my comfort zone I completed every jump, even if a little reluctantly. There was only one part of the day where I chose to not take part. There was a part of the river that had rocks up so high that there was only a narrow pass for the water. We were told we could slide down this narrow pass on our bums. It looked pretty easy and was only a small drop down. But we were given a safety warning as the pressure of the water would then push you down so far underwater that if you did not equalise during the push down you would damage an eardrum. You would be underwater for between 8-10 seconds. I am not confident with equalising and the whole idea of this filled me with fear. I told my guide I didn't fancy it and he was incredibly understanding. One girl in my group who did do it failed to equalise properly and had ear ache for the rest of the trip. I was left feeling that I had made the right decision.
It's safe to say this trip was by far the biggest challenge of the trip so far. The adrenaline rush was still strong hours after I was back at my hostel. But, all this said, I would without doubt say that this is my favourite thing that I have done in Oz ... so far!
I haven't figured out a way of putting these photos in an album, but for now follow this link and you should be able to see them: