The National Park boat ramp is the main ramp to the saltwater section of the Ross River. This ramp is also known as the Barnacle St Ramp as it is located at the end of this street in South Townsville. To find Barnacle Street, head West out of the city along Railway Avenue. Take a left turn into Doorey St and follow this road to the end. The video below details exactly how to locate this ramp.
While the newer ramp contains a floating walkway and plenty of parking, the ramp is poorly positioned as it is heavily influenced by wind and tide. The ramp is excellent quality and easily used by large boats on almost any tide. I would always launch and retrieve on the lane that is down-current to any tidal influence. This avoids the issue of the tide pushing the boat onto the pontoon. In strong current, driving the boat onto a trailer can also be challenging, as the tide will push out the back end of the boat as you drive up.
The pilons for the floating pontoon have been positioned to one side of the walkway. A protective cage has then be put around these. However, there is no buffering for any boat approaching on that side. Therefore extreme care needs to be taken when approaching the pontoon on the downstream side. Almost every time I visit this ramp I see someone collide with the metal grate. When this pontoon was first completed I complained about the design to Councillor Vern Veitch. I was told it would be looked into and the possibility of padding investigated. But this has never been done and today there are numerous scars in the metal from past encounters with boats. It is also difficult to move the boat along the walkway on this side as any ropes need to be passed around the cage.
At the top of the ramp is a rigging area for 3 or 4 boats and taps for wash down. However it is a BYO hose arrangement. Bins are provided. The area is lit at night but there are no security cameras for the parking area. Damage to cars and trailers is common at all Townsville ramps, and will only increase with the lack of security. On the day I took these photos there were at lease 3 piles of glass in the parking bays from cars being broken into. I would not leave a car here for an overnight trip.
At the older section is four very good quality concrete lanes that are usable on most tides.
A floating pontoon is available, but it is not a walkway style down the middle of the ramp.
There is less parking provided in this section, but its not far to go park in the new section anyway. Parking bays for single cars is also available if meeting mates at the ramp. Security cameras are positioned over the parking area.
Fishing Townsville would like to remind readers that there is a 6 knot, no wash, speed limit in place all the way from the ramp to the mouth of the river. This is almost 2 Nautical Miles and makes for a slow start to the day. Its is the main reason many people avoid this ramp in favour of the Coast Guard ramp in the city. There is also a very shallow section of the river approximately 500m downstream of the ramp. Care needs to be taken through this section on very low tides.