The sugar town of Babinda, 35 kilometres south of Gordonvale, was settled as far back as 1880; Mt Bartle Frere, Queensland's highest mountain at 1,622 metres looms behind it. Babinda Creek comes down from this mountain and flows through the Boulders Wilderness Reserve, 6.5 kilometres from the town. The Babinda Boulders have been weathered by the constant high volume of water. And a 21 kilometre drive from Babinda leads to Bramston Beach, with its Pacific Park picnic area and a caravan park and campground. Between here and the highway is Eubenangee Swamp, a National Park; it is lowland gallery rainforest combined with freshwater wetlands, an important habitat for many birds.
Innisfail is 26 kilometres south of Babinda, a town at the junction of the South and North Johnstone rivers, and is surrounded by banana farms and sugarcane plantations. The road along the Johnstone River to Flying Fish Point continues north through stands of rainforest to Ella Bay, a seemingly endless golden beach and National Park. And about 15 kilometres south west of Innisfail, on Mena Creek, is the curious Paronella Park, a Spanish-style castle in the rainforest, built in the 1930s by a Catalan immigrant, Jose Paronella. Although now weathered and covered in moss, it can be visited and offers walks through bamboo stands and views of the creek. There is a tea house in the old castle too.
It is 160 kilometres from Innisfail to Townsville along the Bruce Highway and there are beautiful beaches and great views on the way. The Cassowary Coast is the stretch of coastline, roughly between Innisfail and Cardwell, and halfway between Innisfail and Tully is the turnoff to Kurrimine Beach. This is a quiet fishing and holiday village with a major reef flat, King Reef, adjacent to the shore. Not far south of here is the Mission Beach area, a string of holiday resorts from Garners Beach to South Mission Beach. Offshore is Dunk Island, reachable by regular ferries and water taxis. The Kennedy Track leads to the mouth of the Hull River, 4 kilometres south of South Mission Beach. And along the road leading back to the main road to Tully, is the Licuala State Forest with large stands of Licuala ramsayi, the Fan palm, native to Queensland. The small town of Tully, set among sugar cane fields and banana plantations, is one of the wettest towns of Australia with an annual average rainfall of 4,200 mm. It was established in the 1870s and developed when a sugar mill was constructed in the 1920s. The Tully river is nowadays the scene of white water rafting where it leads out of spectacular Tully Gorge. A road leads up to Tully Gorge National park, with great views on the way. 43 kilometres south of Tully is the town of Cardwell, from where regular ferries and tours depart to Hinchinbrook Island, a 35 kilometres long island separated by the Hinchinbrook Channel from the mainland.
Continuing south, past the town of Ingham, is Paluma Range National Park centred on the mountain village of Paluma, at an elevation of 900 metres. Jourama falls is one of the beauty spots here, with great views and rock pools with huge boulders. Finally, 110 kilometres south of Ingham is Townsville, the commercial and industrial "capital" of Tropical North Queensland, a city of almost 200,000. The Strand is the long esplanade along the Pacific Ocean, with a long, inviting beach; however, as everywhere along the coast, swimming is safest in the "stinger" enclosures offering protection from the box jellyfish, or, safer still, in the Rock Pool.