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Rainforest to Reef

Rainforest to Reef

Discover the magic of the Great Barrier Reef or wander ancient rainforests, immerse yourself in unspoilt nature and let your active mind explore!


3-5 Days

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  • Ancient rainforests
  • Australia's largest single-drop waterfall
  • Great Barrier Reef

Day 1

Day 1

Embrace the natural beauty of the Paluma Range National Park, the southern gateway to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Here you can relax in the cool mountain air of the Paluma Range. A favourite swimming spot for locals, Big and Little Crystal Creek (yes, that’s right – it’s a two for one) run year-round with fresh mountain streams surrounded by cool rainforests. Paluma is exactly what you would expect of a picture-perfect picnic spot. 

On the trails: Take the road less travelled and wander the trails snailing through the Paluma region, including Witt’s Lookout, Birthday Creek Falls and Jourama Falls Track.

Little Crystal Creek arched stone bridge (c. 1930) is not only heritage-listed but is also surrounded by pristine waterfalls with small pockets of water making perfect swimming holes. A littler further north is also the magnificent Jourama Falls, with rockslide formations, clear pools, and picnic areas.

Day 2

Day 2

You'll be amazed when you stand in front of Wallaman Falls, the Southern Hemisphere’s highest permanent single-drop waterfall, located in Girringun National Park – just outside of Ingham. In between the forest clad ridge tops and rainforest lined gullies and creeks, Wallaman Falls stands at a staggering 268 metres. Let a local lead the way with North Queensland Tours offering guided walks to Wallaman Falls and other Wet Tropics locations!

An avid hiker? Conquer the multi-day Djagany (Goanna) Walk which follows an old forestry track through she-oaks, open forest and rainforest (permit required). Hiker's Delight Itinerary

Closer to town, the TYTO Wetlands is also a must-see – particularly for the hobby twitcher. Over 110-hectares of rehabilitated wetlands, TYTO is home to unique flora and fauna including over 240 species of birds and many Agile Wallabies. With extensive walking tracks, bird hides and viewing platforms, it is a great way to get up close and personal to wildlife.

Day 3

Day 3

Home of the official headquarters to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville is the perfect place to learn all about Nemo and his reef friends. While the ever-popular Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium undergoes some exciting new upgrades – experience the real thing with regular reef trips to the Great Barrier Reef leaving most days from Townsville or Magnetic Island. 

If street art is your thing, don’t miss the urban inner-city Street Art Trail which will lead you through the city centre – capturing a locals’ interpretation of our natural paradise in mural form.

Day 4

Day 4

Take a short 20-minute ferry ride with SeaLink Queensland across to the locally nicknamed “Maggie”, where the adventure is up to you.

Spend the day (or ideally days) exploring the 23 beaches and bays dotted around the island, either by car (if you travelled by Magnetic Island Ferries car barge) or hire topless jeep with Magnetic Island Adventures. If you want to experience some of the most remote and exclusive beaches on the island take a discovery tour with Aquascene Charters or go luxe with a Beach Club Picnic.

Make a splash along one (or both) of the self-guided snorkelling trails at Geoffrey Bay and Nelly Bay and get an up-close-and-personal look at the wonders of the coral reef – right off the beach! Or for the more adventurous, hop aboard your very own sea kayak to paddle the calm waters on an eco-accredited tour with Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks.

If nature and wildlife is also your thing – you’re in luck – because Magnetic Island is also home to Northern Australia’s largest colony of koalas in the wild!

Tip: Wake before the sun and take the gentle stroll along the Forts Walk – it’s the best place to spot a furry companion, and also a pretty sweet sunrise vantage point… can’t beat a 360-degree view! Want a local’s point of view – take the Fort Walk tour with Magnetic Island Best Bus Tours.

End the day sailing the high seas on a luxury yacht with Big Mama Sailing, or Pilgrim Sailing. Both tours offer a sunset sail – so kick-back and relax while you sip a champagne and take in the watercolour skies across the horizon.

Day 5

Day 5

It's nature’s greatest gift to the world and it’s right on our doorstep! The Great Barrier Reef is a majestic underwater playground, a mosaic of colour and life, and a living treasure.

If you want to see the Great Barrier Reef and get amongst the magic of this underwater spectacular, you can’t go past a dive or snorkel trip to the outer reef. Take a tour with Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive or for the more experienced divers, head out with Yongala Dive to SS Yongala – Australia’s best dive site and one of the world’s top wreck dives!

Whether it’s your first dive or your 50th, a visit to The Museum of Underwater Art’s ‘Coral Greenhouse’ at John Brewer Reef is an absolute must. Townsville’s newest underwater attraction is the first-ever underwater building created by international underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. This diving sensation is hoped to advance reef education, spread the message of reef conversation and offers opportunities for scientists, marine students and tourists to engage - either by snorkel or dive - in action-based learning and to conduct globally important research on coral reef restoration.

Luxe Upgrade

Take your island-hopping adventure to the next level – literally, with a scenic flight over Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef with Townsville Helicopters or Nautilus Aviation. With flights ranging from a 10-minute scenic tour, to a more indulgent remote island picnic – this luxury upgrade is an epic way to see Townsville North Queensland’s island oases.

Stay a little longer...

Explore further and experience the awe of the Outback on the Outback, History & Heritage Itinerary.

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