How to see world-class nature in one place
01 March 2022
Planning your next adventure and think you need to travel to exotic destinations to see world-class nature? Nah mate - all of your bucket-list nature experiences are already here…in Townsville North Queensland - Hinchinbrook.
Renowned for its world-class natural beauty, with rugged island gems awash in waterfall wonders - including Australia’s tallest, Wallaman Falls – expansive coastal beachfronts perfect for an afternoon’s fishing in what is arguably one of the nation’s best sports fishing locations, to some of the world’s oldest continually living rainforests in the UNESCO Wet Tropics regions – this Little Italy of the Hinchinbrook region really has it all.
Australia’s tallest waterfall
When it comes to epic waterfalls, Wallaman Falls in Girringun National Park is hard to rival. The highest permanent single drop waterfall in Australia, this mighty cascade is more than five times taller than the world-famous Niagara Falls in North America, standing a staggering 268m and runs all year round.
Located 52 kilometres west of Ingham and nestled in some of the oldest rainforest on Earth, explore the reaches of this natural gem, which is also home to many endangered flora and fauna including the jurassic cassowary, on one of the many tracks and trails. The Djyinda walk, a 3.2km return trek to the bottom of the falls, is where you can fully appreciate the thunderous magnitude of this incredible force of nature.
Top tip: Pick up a picnic hamper from the local JKs Delicatessen for gourmet Italian fare and enjoy at one of the many picnic tables overlooking this Aussie icon.
Largest island national park
Just a short boat ride through the Hinchinbrook Channel, you will discover the Jurassic beauty of Hinchinbrook Island. Protected since 1932, Hinchinbrook is one of Australia's largest island national parks (39,900 hectares) and only allows 40 visitors at any one time, so you’re very likely to wander its wild beaches and leave only your footprints.
The island is also renowned for its natural infinity pool atop the picturesque Zoe Falls – well worth the hike to the stunning views of the island, and a great place to cool off. If trails are your thing, then tackle the world-famous multi-day hike – Thorsborne Trail, which takes in climbs of Queensland’s 3rd highest mountain – Mount Bowen.
The island’s cloud-covered mountains support fragile heath vegetation, which often reveal even more magical waterfall oases – including Zoe Falls and Mulligan Falls. You can make your own way, or opt for a local tour guide. New tours available with Wild Hinchinbrook, departing Lucinda.
Secluded forests for biking adventures
From coastal escapes to cool forests, inhale the scent of pine in the Abergowrie State Forest. Choose from short walks, swimming, birdwatching, or just relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity that the forest has to offer. But if you’re in line for fast-paced adventure, then pump up those tyres and put the pedal down, with wilderness mountain biking trails meandering through the forests catering to all fitness types. From kid-friendly dirt tracks to the more adventurous water-crossing off-road trails, throw caution to the wind and indulge your sense of adventure with this action-packed activity. Don't forget to take in the scenery as you whirl by - this truly is nature's playground.
A somewhat hidden gem, and right off the Bruce Highway, is the unique 90-hectare natural wetlands of TYTO. Home to over 245 species of birds, native Australian wildlife and numerous tropical plant species, take a leisurely stroll along the four kilometres of walkways and stop along the way to enjoy the lookouts and viewing platforms.
TYTO Wetlands is located just 500 metres from the township of Ingham and situated just a few hundred metres off the Bruce Highway down Cooper Street; TYTO Wetlands is a carefully preserved natural environment that integrates lagoons, walking tracks and native flora.
The area is named after the endangered Eastern Grass Owl (TYTO Longimembris) TYTO meaning monkey faced owl that can be found in the Hinchinbrook Shire, one of the few places in the world where this owl can be spotted regularly. These owls can be seen leaving their grassy habitat just on dusk.
The TYTO Precinct also features an interactive and informative Visitor Information Centre, Regional Art Gallery, Parklands, Conference Centre and Library.
Top tip: While you’re here, get active and follow the well-worn paths of the local Park Run! Saturday morning events are 5k and take place in parks and open spaces. On Sunday mornings, there are 2k junior Park Runs for children aged four to 14 years.
Sports fishing mecca
The Hinchinbrook region is renowned for its incredible fishing! With several charter companies providing the ultimate on the water fishing adventures, you’re just about guaranteed to reel in a whopper! If you’ve got your own boat, or you just want to stay as close to the water as possible, try one of the many beachfront communities found in this part of the world – Forrest Beach, Lucinda, Taylors Beach to name a few. Perhaps you might like to try something a little more adventurous? Jump on a heli-fishing tour with the crew from Hinchinbrook Adventures and discover some of the most exclusive (and best) fishing locations this little part of paradise has to offer.
If luxury is your middle name – then sail the seas to nearby Orpheus Island (or any of the 16 untouched isles of the Palm Island Group), where the surrounding reefs are some of the most spectacular. Don the snorkel and fins, and swim with the fishes to get a truly immersive experience on the Great Barrier Reef. While the island lodge is exclusive to guests, Yanks Jetty is public access and your gateway to over 1000 different vibrant and colourful marine species which enriches the value of Orpheus Island, making it a paradise for nature lovers and campers.
Being a small island gives you a great opportunity for walking and hiking, as you trek your way through stunning eucalypt forests with the ever-present backdrop of spectacular horizons. Extend your stay and camp on an island paradise – but bookings are essential.
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