Outdoor activities: Hiking
Sustainable tourism rating:
Queensland’s rainforests are part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage for their diverse wildlife and natural beauties so it is a must to go there for the Sportrotters!
Hikers will have a large choice of treks and walks in the national parks located between Townsville and Cairns, not to mention the Daintree Forest’s unspoiled beauty (just 200k north of Cairns).
The Paluma National Park located few kilometres north of Townsville is a great place to start testing your fitness. To access the park you must follow a long and winding road but the scenery is breathless.
Stop at Little Crystal Ceek, halfway between the motorway and the Park’s visitor centre, and go for a dip in a natural pool at the waterfall. Then, just before reaching Paluma village, try a first hike through the rain forest with lookouts over the sea and surrounding mountains (1h30 return).
In the village, you can go for a stroll and might encounter the “locals” (cassowaries, wild turkeys, parrots …) There is a short 10 minutes hike and two longer for about 1 hour each). The Sportrotters will have the leisure to hike for several days and discover all the wonders of this rich region. For those in a 4WD, Big Crystal Creek is a good option for a swim in the heart of the forest (5 km of dirt road).
Further north, you will arrive at Ingham, a town bordered by the Tyto Wetlands. This park consists of wetlands welcoming a large number of bird species (do not forget your binoculars!).
Allow at least two to three hours to stroll through the paths that go around the lakes with several birds hides. And the birds are not the only attraction, turtles and hundreds of wallabies will surprise you in the mornings and afternoons.
If you have time, do not miss the Wallamans Falls, 50 km (last 10 km are dirt road). These are the highest waterfalls in Queensland and you can spend the night there in a basic camp in the nature.
Back on the road, do not miss the lookout on the Hinchinbrook Island. Indeed, this island is one of the largest natural parks in the world and has unspoiled beaches on one side and crocodile infested mangroves on the other side. The hike lasts three days and only 40 hikers are allowed on the trail at the same time, so remember to book well in advance!
Still further north, you will arrive at Girringun National Park and one of our favourite hikes in the area: Dalrymple Gap.
The hike is accessible by two different entrances: either by the coastal highway or by inland. The sign indicating the start is not easily visible from the highway.
Once spotted, just follow the path (accessible with a 2WD vehicle) for 2-3 km and you will arrive at the car park that marks the beginning of the hike. You have two options: you can choose a six hour hike through the forest or opt for a shorter version two hour return (stop at the stone bridge or a little further).
The walk starts uphill through dense tropical forests where you will hear (if you are not lucky enough to see) many wild animals. The place is a great location to spot cassowaries. You can also see some wonderful trees like in most of the other parks in the region.
If you want to continue, the Girramay National Park where the Murray Waterfalls are situated is easily accessible (only 2 km of gravel road). The quiet camping managed by the National Parks is a good option for one night or more (5.75 AUD per person per night).If you want to reach the top of the falls and enjoy the beautiful scenery over the valley you can go for a medium level hike (one hour).
Still further north, you will pass Tully, known for thrilling river rafting tours and few kilometres further reach Mission Beach (and his skydive school), one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, famous for the cassowaries sighting.
Several hike and day tours are available during the dry season. One of the most recommended hikes is the Clump National Park hike (just five minutes north of the town). If you choose this destination in order to see cassowaries, we also advise you to go to Lacey Creek or Licuala.
Lots of hikes for all levels in the wet tropics region.
Exceptional landscapes and wildlife
A perfect mix mountains and sea outdoor activities (Mission Beach is the closest mainland spot to the Great Barrier Reef)
The climate makes it impossible to practice outdoor activities during the wet season.Best period from May to October.
Some hikes are very remote and it require a 4WD.