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Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

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Gloucestershire
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Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

Is it an interesting drive inland from Cairns to Townsville? Or would you recommend travelling on the coast road?

Cairns, Australia
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1. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

Interesting may not be the right word, perhaps different?

If you had already driven to Townsville from Brisbane I would say coastal.

Have sent you a pm.

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

If you can spare the time to go via the Gillies highway from Cairns, through the southern part of the Atherton Tableland then it is an excellent drive.

You can stop off at Lake Barrine for morning tea and scones, then onto the curtain fig tree, then onto the Hypipamee Crater, then via a spectacular lookout and down into Innisfail. If you have time to stay in this area overnight you can visit Paronella Park and Etty Bay where the cassowaries wander out from the rainforest and explore the beach. There is a little cafe there for snacks and coffee for the final drive into Townsville.

Hope this helps,

Jen

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

For additional information regarding the coastal drive from Cairns to Townsville. Click on below.

Places of interests on the coast :

Innsfall

Tully

Hinchinbrook Island and Passage

Ingham

Mission beach.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i18947-Getting_…

Dunk Island.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i18251-Brisbane…

Also agree J/T the inland road from Cairns via Atherton Tablelands - Mareeba, Atherton, Ravenshoe, cut across to coast to Innisfall can be extremely interesting too.

Cairns, Australia
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4. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

I've done it partly the other way from Cairns, but came out at Rockhampton, way south of Townsville. Took this route as Bruce Highway (main road) had been flooded for about three days around Townsville and was impassable, so we didn't do the Townsville-Charters Towers stretch of about 140kms.

I thought the Cairns-Charters Towers section was fascinating, and I don't think have ever seen so much wildlife, just from car window. The road is narrow, and as this trip was just after heavy rain the roadside grass was as high as the roofline of 4WD (you don't need 4WD as road is sealed)in some parts - don't even think about driving this road (Gregory Developmental road) at night, kangaroos everywhere. Charters Towers, an old gold mining town with some lovely architecture, is interesting; you'll pass by Greenvale a rather strange place built in the 70's for nickel mining and now not much more than a ghost town.

You'd come into the start of Atherton Tableland at Ravenshoe, from then on a very scenic trip down to Cairns.

Cairns, Australia
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5. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

Sorry starreemight, wasn't paying enought attention as I read that as Townsville-Cairns, just reverse my directions.

Gloucestershire
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6. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

Having read your advice I think we will be driving Cairns - Undara and then getting back to the coast road to Townsville where we want to visit Magnetic Island.

We could stay one night in Undara - can anyone suggest another good overnight place?

Gloucestershire
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7. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

Sorry folks - having had yet another look at the map and the distances.... (we are coming over from England)perhaps travelling Port Douglas, Cairns, Atherton, Ravenshoe, Innisfail would be better. Then spending one night around Ravenshoe and one in Innisfail?

We have 2 teenagers so want to do the white water rafting.

Difficult trying to make the right decisions so get the most out of the holiday!

Any help really appreciated!!!

Cairns, Australia
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8. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

Hi,

Innisfail is not a bad country town at all though tourists would probably stop in Mission Beach instead. Maybe consider the Sanctuary which is not a resort but has cabins with net walls so you are sort of sleeping in the rainforest. Kids may enjoy this. If you seek more comfort some UK expatriates run a place called Licuala Lodge and have some very nice breakfasts. Cut out of the rainforest but the rooms are very nice, If you are in a campervan then Etty Bay is popular, especially to see the Cassowary.

The Tableland is very green (usually) maybe stay the night in Yungaburra so you can try to spot platypus early am or late pm. Plus close by the crater lakes and the famous curtain fig, great photo spot. Or Malanda if you want too see a movie in an old fashioned theatre complete with deck chairs (not every night). Or Undara where you will see Kangaroo and lava tubes. Drier out there so very different to lush green of the southern tableland.

Herberton is getting a lot more attention now since they re-opened the historic village, so consider. Some may enjoy Irvinebank but I have never been there yet. Still lots on my to do list!

The coast road will be far easier to negotiate as it is called a highway, so even if you want to debate this description still far moreso than inland roads:)

You can access the tableland 20 kilometres south of Cairns via the Gillies Highway. Enroute you may stop at the Mountain View Hotel, far from posh lol but can have some lunch and the kids can have a splash in the river. This drive is very scenic, so not so good for driver who has mutliple curves to be concerned with. Going up you may miss the bikini Tree or the Frog rock but if the teens are bored ask them to try and locate them by looking backwards on their right side.

After the choices stated above you can descend the tableland and stop at the waterfall circuit, Ma Mu walkway and Mungalli Dairy for ice cream. Not too far from the base is Paronella Park.

Stay at Mission beach then you could consider a trip to Hinchinbrook Island from Cardwell.

Wallaman Falls from Ingham or Paluma or Rollingstone Beach closer to Townsville. There is hideaway cabins up Paluma way.

9. Re: Driving from Cairns to Townsville inland

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