Thrills and Spills in Gregory River Race

Gregory Canoe Race 2

Spectators line the Gregory River in northwest Queensland every May to cheer on an array of canoes and kayaks in Australia’s largest and most isolated canoe race.

The annual Gregory Down River Canoe Race in the Gulf Savannah regularly attracts more than 100 paddlers on the May Day weekend as they battle rapids and overhanging branches on the scenic 43km course.

North West Canoe Club President Larry Wilson says experienced competitors vie for a pool of more than $6000 in cash prizes with the bonus of $2000 for anyone who can break the race record of 2 hours, 43 minutes and 23 seconds set by Matt Flower and Chad Meek in 2001.

“The race is also for novices with the shorter 17km course much easier to navigate, and we cater for an assortment of vessels from plastic kayaks to Canadian canoes,” he says.

“Both the 43km and 17km courses are open to single competitors and teams allowing anyone who wants to join in to have a go and we have some boats and equipment available for hire.”