Bushwalking around Townsville and Cairns
This entire region offers great delights to bushwalkers, although you are likely to get damp, either from the humidity or from a tropical shower (it is not called ‘rainforest’ for nothing). The Rainforest and Reef Information Centre at Cardwell is an interesting starting point to plan your next hike.
In the lowland rainforests and vine forests of the Mission Beach area, you have a reasonable chance of spying an endangered southern cassowary. Pick up walking-track maps from the Mission Beach visitor centre or try the 6-kilometre Musgravea track through the thick fan-palm forest in Tam O’Shanter National Park. Nearby, the 4-kilometre circuit up Bicton Hill provides some excellent views of the coast.
Barron Gorge National Park near Cairns has a wide range of tracks, from the 1.1-kilometre wheelchair-accessible boardwalk to Barron Falls lookouts and the 10-minute climb to Glacier Rock and its panoramic views, to long day walks and overnight hikes on the historic Douglas and Smiths tracks.
Rainforests in the highlands are generally cooler, and can offer quite different, and often expansive views over the hinterland. Paluma Range National Park, at around 1000 metres, has great views from the end of the 1.5-kilometre Witts Lookout Track (if you can ignore the powerlines), and the area is known for visitations from the beautiful blue riflebird. If you are quiet, you are bound to see plenty of other birds – such as chowchillas (the female has the rich rufous breast) – hidden among the paperbark satinash, figs and ironwood. If you are very keen on seeing a golden bowerbird, try the Birthday Creek Falls Track.
Girringun National Park, near Ingham, provides access to an extensive 110 kilometres of walking tracks, several of which start from the spectacular Wallaman Falls, reportedly the largest single-drop waterfalls in Australia (although most have not been properly measured). Really keen hikers can start the superb, eight-day Wet Tropics Great Walk from this location.
QPWS (Wallaman Falls walks)
Nearby Eco Activities
- Birdwatching - Townsville to Cairns
- Reef HQ, Townsville
- Bushwalking on Magnetic Island
- Hiking the Thorsborne Trail
- Swimming around Townsville and Cairns
- Wildlife experience - Cairns
- Chillagoe Observatory and Eco Lodges