CASSOWARY COAST


This is the Cassowary Coast, stretching from sleepy beachside Cardwell in the south, to the sugar growing centre of Innisfail in the north. The Cassowary Coast is an incredibly green region of tropical rainforest, banana and sugarcane plantations, quaint vacation villages, and golden stretches of beach lined with palm trees. Inland from the coast are lush forest clad mountains, and rivers ideal for rafting, canoeing, cruising and fishing, as well as fresh water holes that are very popular swimming areas and picnic spots.

The Cassowary Coast is named after the beautiful Cassowary, a large flightless bird that inhabits the region. If you are lucky, you may see one of them, so keep your eyes open as they are an impressive sight. But be careful driving through this area, since road deaths are the biggest problem faced by the endangered Cassowary.

Most of the towns in the area were built around the pioneering sugar industry, but over the last century they have developed very different charasteristics. While Innisfail's European architecture is still a reflection of the pioneers who called that town home, Babinda supports a very successful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander craft and tourism co-operative. Gordonvale still has a Queensland-style town square, Tully is very well known for being a wonderful spot for white water rafting and kayaking, and Mission Beach is a paradise for holiday makers looking for solitude.

This stretch of coastline alone has more than 25 tropical islands off its shore, most of them inhabited. More than 12 mainland National Parks lie in the area, and it is the closest mainland access in Queensland to the outer Barrier Reef. The natural attractions are easily accessible - just off the highway are places such as the Babinda Boulders, Josephine Falls, Mount Bartle Frere, Mount Bellender Ker, the Palmerston National Park, the Mulgrave Valley, the Tully River and Cardwell's Forest Drive. But the 'jewel' of the Cassowary Coast is Mission Beach, a little hideaway off the main road and enveloped in tropical rainforest.

Just offshore from Mission Beach are some of the world's most magnificent islands, many of which are declared national parks. These islands are a beautiful spot to spend some time - whether it is only a few hours or a few days - and the best way to get to the Great Barrier Reef.

There are numerous resorts and accommodation houses available to suit every budget and occasion, including luxury beachfront apartments, villa's resorts, motels, hostels, caravan parks and camping sites, cabins, bed and breakfasts and farmstays. All accommodation facilities have been built to take advantage of the magnificent ocean views, golden beaches and tropical gardens.