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Great Barrier Reef Islands

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area

Free Entry 

Stretching more than 2,000 kilometres along the Queensland coastline and covering 35 million hectares, the Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef. It is home to an abundance of marine wildlife - including more than 1,500 brilliantly coloured species of tropical fish, 4000 species of molluscs, 400 species of sponge and 300 species of hard corals.

The Great Barrier Reef's islands and cays support bird species by the hundred, including reef herons, ospreys, frigate birds and sea eagles. The reef is also of cultural importance, containing many archaeological sites of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. Some notable examples include Lizard and Hinchinbrook Islands with their spectacular galleries of rock paintings.

The many diving and snorkelling opportunities provide visitors with the best way of getting close to the Great Barrier Reef's many wonders. Tourism operators offer professional accredited dive courses, introductory reef dives and for the experienced, extended dive charters incorporating night dives or guided ecology dives. If delving into the deep blue is not for you - there are semi-submersible craft, glass bottom boats and a variety of land-based reef attractions.

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Great Barrier Reef
Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Queensland
Australia

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Misty Mountains Wilderness Walking Tracks

Ravenshoe, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
The Misty Mountains wilderness walking tracks are a 130 kilometre network of short and long wilderness tracks takes visitors through pristine, high altitude rainforest with crystal clear creeks, waterfalls and panoramic views.The tracks cross the Walter Hill Range and the Cardwell Range, extending from the coastal plain to the tablelands. The area forms part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and is recognised for its diversity of rainforest types, plant species and outstanding landscape features. Four long tracks—the Koolmoon Creek, Cannabullen Creek, Cardwell Range and Gorrell tracks—make up the Misty Mountains wilderness walking tracks. Sections of some of the tracks are accessible for shorter walks. Walkers must be well prepeared, self-sufficient and responsible for their own safety. Tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return. A reliable form of communication is essential and satellite phones and PLBs (personal locator beacons) are the most effective.

Millstream Falls National Park

Ravenshoe, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Plunging over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow, Big Millstream Falls is reputedly the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia. Lying in the rain shadow of the eastern dividing ranges, the dry open woodland here is in stark contrast with the rainforest which is only kilometres away. This area is rich in World War II history. Camp sites were constructed for the Battalions of the 7th and 9th Divisions between 1943 and 1945. Picnic in the shady day-use area among the blue gums and ironbarks, or walk down to the viewing area above Millstream Falls. Explore their history as you wander the World War II Heritage track past the camp site remains, where informative signs tell of the conditions at the time and show how the soldiers lived, worked and played. Ride mountain bikes or trail bikes through the park's internal roads and firebreaks. At Little Millstream Falls, view these beautiful falls from just near the car park or enjoy a different perspective by walking the narrow path to the base of the falls.

Clump Mountain National Park

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
This park, on the scenic coast just north of Mission Beach, contains some of the few remaining patches of undisturbed tropical lowland rainforest in North Queensland. These rainforest remnants are important habitat for the endangered southern cassowary. Bicton Hill is the main feature of the park. The summit of Bicton Hill was historically used as a lookout by Aboriginal people and later as a ship lookout by the area's first permanent European residents. Challenge yourself on the four kilometre Bicton Hill circuit walking track and be rewarded with spectacular mainland and island views, and a chance to see rare rainforest plants and the elusive cassowary. Stay on the track at all times and take care around cliffs, steep slopes and at the lookout.

Djiru National Park

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
This park protects some of the last remaining lowland rainforest in the wet tropics, including a rare patch of licuala fan palm forest and is one of the few places you're likely to see an unusual and endangered bird, the southern cassowary. The park is within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Enjoy a barbecue at Lacey Creek day-use area and learn about cassowaries at the information shelter. Nearby, signs in the cassowary arboretum identify the trees that cassowaries feed on. Stroll along the short circuit walk through the forest and past a viewing platform overlooking the creek. Take a picnic to Licuala day-use area and follow the children's cassowary walk. Amble along the longer circuit walk that leads you under the bright green, patterned canopy of licuala fan palms. Keep a lookout for cassowaries and always 'Be Cass-o-wary!'

Tully Gorge National Park

Tully, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
In this park, the Tully River plunges down the Cardwell Range, through the densely forested Tully Gorge, in Australia's wettest area, part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Heavy rainfall encourages lush tropical vegetation and ensures plenty of white-water on the Tully River. The park can be accessed from four different points, three on the coast near Tully and one from the Evelyn Tableland. Relax and enjoy a picnic beside the river in the Tully Gorge day-use area. Set up camp in the pleasant Tully Gorge camping area to enjoy the pleasant surrounds. If you're feeling adventurous, join an organised white-water rafting tour or take a stroll along the short, wheelchair-accessible Butterfly walk to learn about butterfly food plants. Climb the very steep and challenging Mount Tyson track to the 678 metre summit of Mount Tyson and enjoy views of the Tully township, coastline and Hinchinbrook Island from the lookout. Have a picnic and swim at Alligators Nest day-use area. In the tableland section of the park, walk to the Tully Gorge lookout to enjoy spectacular views of the deep gorge and Tully River below or mountain bike on the park's internal roads and firebreaks. .

Licuala State Forest

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
Licuala State Forest boasts several enjoyable walking tracks. Enjoy the native wildlife of the area as you walk around the forest…the Ulysses butterfly, cassowaries and green tree frogs. Be sure to look upwards to enjoy the sunlight shining through the beautiful palm leaves…it's truly remarkable! The Licuala Fan Palm is native to the area and has the majority of the fan palm trees in all of Australia. Children are catered for in the forest…they can even follow cassowary footprints to a nest full of eggs on the children's walk! Licuala State Forest is a beautiful place to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Little Millstream Falls

Ravenshoe, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Plunging over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow, Big Millstream Falls is reputedly the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia. A walking track leads to a viewing area over the falls. Here, in the rainshadow of the eastern dividing ranges, the dry, open woodland vegetation is dominated by eucalypts. A separate entrance to the park takes you to Little Millstream Falls. View these beautiful falls from just near the carpark or take the steep and narrow track to their base. Millstream Falls National Park lies within the traditional country of the Jirrbal Aboriginal people. The Jirrbal lived in the rainforest in semi-permanent villages, and used the rainforest’s rich resources for food medicine and materials.

Tully Falls and Tully Gorge

Ravenshoe, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Follow the scenic Tully Falls Road to the spectacular Tully Gorge Lookout. The falls only run in a big wet season, but the walls of raw rock and rainforest which plunge 300 metres (984 feet) down to the Tully River are still an awe-inspiring sight. An 800 metre track takes walkers to the Tully River above the falls. It is a spectacular 295 metre Gorge for much of the year, during the Wet Season the Falls appear after much rain.

Tully

Tully, Cassowary Coast Area
Tully is a small town about 140 kilometres (or about two hours' drive) south of Cairns and has the reputation of being one of the wettest towns in Australia. With all that rain, the nearby Tully River is one of the best places in Australia to go white water rafting. The Tully River has excellent rapids that range Grade Three to the more challenging Grade Four. Tully is also one of Queensland's largest sugar cane and banana producers and is very popular with the backpacker market who work seasonally on the farms. And don't forget to stop by for a photo of the 7.9 metre tall 'Golden Gumboot'!

Mission Beach

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Nature takes centre stage at Mission Beach with its long unspoilt beaches, deserted islands and white-water rivers fringed by rainforest. There are no crowds at this seductive and easy going destination which is perfect for relaxation or discovering adrenalin pumping outdoor activities. This is the birthplace of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, so exploring the reef is a must. Reef boats leave from the Clump Point jetty, join a kayaking tour or hire a dinghy and take a picnic to a deserted Great Barrier Reef island. Mission Beach has 14 kilometres of sandy beaches, so it is easy to find a quiet place to relax with a book or indulge by checking into the couple's room at a day spa and relaxing with the fabulous beach views. There are four villages that are collectively known as Mission Beach: South Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach, North Mission Beach and Bingil Bay. Lush rainforest touches the shores of Mission Beach, hiding the elusive southern cassowary. Look for these majestic creatures on an easy rainforest walks and keep an eye out for the brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly, another local icon. Nearby is the spectacular Misty Mountains Trail, a series of long-distance walking tracks through high-altitude rainforest. Several follow the ridgelines used by the area's traditional owners, the Jirrbal and Mamu Aboriginal people. The serene beauty of Mission Beach hides another side to this friendly beachside retreat - adrenalin-pumping adventure. Skydive from a plane on to the beach, head into the heart of the rainforest for white water rafting or explore the area on a jet ski or mountain bike. Luxurious resorts, elegant hill-top apartments and beach houses are favourites for those wanting to escape from their busy lives, or choose from family-friendly motels, beach caravan parks and popular backpacker hostels. Mission Beach is about a two hour drive south of Cairns.
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