|Bowen - Innisfail via Townsville|
|To the Heart of the Tropics|
Beyond the Whitsundays, you’ll travel through increasingly tropical terrain that stretches all the way to Cairns. This is lush agricultural land, bordered by national parks, beautiful beaches and warm Coral Sea waters.
From Airlie Beach the Bruce Highway leads to Bowen, famous for its exotic fruits like mangoes and rockmelon, and then the twin towns of Ayr and Home Hill, on the Burdekin River and at the centre of a rich sugar-growing region. From here it’s a short drive to Townsville, Australia’s largest tropical city.
There’s plenty to do around town - visit the superb Great Barrier Reef Wonderland, the Maritime Museum and Museum of Tropical Queensland; admire the panorama from Castle Hill; and enjoy dining, shopping and nightlife at the casino. There are more delights offshore - the beaches and diving are excellent, there are boat trips to the Great Barrier Reef, and a visit to Magnetic Island is essential. Swimming, boating, diving, snorkelling, fishing are all on offer here, and you are likely to see koalas.
To the north, Ingham is another sugar town, and from nearby Lucinda you can take boat trips to magnificent Hinchinbrook Island - with its high peaks, waterfalls and pristine beaches. The main access point for the latter, however, is Cardwell, also the gateway to World Heritage-listed Edmund Kennedy National Park.
Tropical Tully has the dubious distinction of being Australia’s wettest town - an incredible four metres of rain falls here annually! Make sure you leave the highway to visit Mission Beach: with 14 km of sandy beaches and day trips to Dunk Island, this is an absolute must. The next major settlement is Innisfail - a sugar city with a large Italian population and attractions that include a crocodile farm and a tea plantation to the west.
Where to Stay
Time required: 3-4 days are recommended.