6 MUST-SEE PLACES IN TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
Updated: Jan 3
If you're hanging out for a tropical holiday and have two weeks to spare, it might be time to start planning your Tropical North Queensland itinerary!
Tropical North Queensland has an abundance of natural delights and endless experiences on offer - so where should you start? These are my six top picks for any fellow nature lovers (think waterfalls, rainforests and offroad adventure) looking to visit the wet tropics.
6. Cassowary Coast
The Cassowary Coast is known largely for its high annual rainfall, idyllic palm-lined beaches and wet tropics rainforests. The region's highlights include Cardwell Spa Pools, Mission Beach, Lacey Creek, Alligator's Nest and Etty Bay. Plan some walks around sunrise or sunset to increase your chances of seeing native wildlife, including the prehistoric namesake of this region - the Southern Cassowary. My best tip to spot them: visit Etty Bay, a secluded beach that is known to have resident cassowaries.
5: Tully Gorge Lookout.
Although the township of Tully is situated on the Bruce Highway not far from the eastern coast, don't be fooled by the name of this lookout. To access this spectacular vantage point of Tully Gorge, you will need to head inland to Ravenshoe, the highest town in Queensland, and then drive south to the lookout. This section of the gorge plunges an impressive 300m from the Cardwell Range down to the Tully River.
4: Atherton Tablelands Giant Fig Trees.
The Atherton Tablelands is arguably the heart of Tropical North Queesland and home to sections of endangered mabi forest - habitat for the Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo. Pictured is the 500 year old strangler Cathedral Fig Tree near Lake Tinaroo, an amazing feat of nature that really needs to be seen to understand its true size. Drive 20min further south and you can also visit the Curtain Fig Tree, a similarly ancient specimen just outside Yungaburra township.
3: Paronella Park.
Situated on the banks of Mena Creek, Jose Paronella opened his castle home to the public in 1935 and now his dream is kept alive as one of North Queensland's leading tourist attractions. Visitors can tour the park daily - learning about its history including the carefully designed structures, hydro-electric plant, suspension bridge and extensive tropical gardens. To make the most of your visit, stay overnight in a cabin or campsite so you can join both a night and day tour of the grounds.
2: Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Circuit.
I've already mentioned the Atherton Tablelands, but this list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the iconic waterfall circuit - Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa Falls. These three picturesque cascades have facilities to swim, picnic or look for wildlife - whatever your heart desires. If you've got a little extra time up your sleeve, put Babinda Boulders and Josephine Falls (located just north of Innisfail) on your itinerary for a swim too.
1: Daintree Rainforest.
Within a few hours drive of Port Douglas lies Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation, both part of the Daintree National Park. As one of the oldest surviving and most biologically diverse rainforests in the world, this area is not only spectacular but also of significant importance for conservation. The area offers hiking, swimming, 4WDing, eco-tours, access to the Great Barrier Reef, rich indigenous history, food for every taste and boutique accommodation so it's no wonder this is my top place to visit in Tropical North Queensland.