Summer adventures in our own backyard
Summer getaways don’t have to mean airports and long distance travel. Here in the north we have some of Australia’s most stunning and unique destinations within driving distance. Whether it’s the red dust of the authentic outback, the opal-coloured wonders of the Great Barrier Reef or the tropical rainforest enveloped between the two, photographer and adventurer Anita Jamieson has been there. We asked Anita to share her top getaways for you this summer.
approx. 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville
This seemingly sleepy island offers activities for all budgets, as relaxing or adventurous as you please. Choose to lounge on the tropical beaches underneath the palm trees or explore the rugged coastline resonate of Jurassic Park. Hiking the 25km of National Park often will produce a photo opportunity with wild koalas (the island is home to Australia’s largest colony of koalas), so be sure to take your camera. There are many other activities are available such as snorkelling, sailing, jet ski, SUP (stand-up paddle boarding), fishing and diving to be experienced as well. Set yourself up with a bottle of wine and a picnic blanket at Horseshoe Bay to experience the spectacular sunsets to end the day.
approx. 50km west of Ingham
This is the highest permanent, single drop waterfall in Australia and is surrounded by one of the oldest rainforests on earth and hosts many endangered species of plants and wildlife. It is an awe-inspiring sight when you arrive at the lookout to witness the 268m-drop and hiking to the bottom of the waterfall gives you another perspective of its magnitude. There are also camping and toilet facilities if you choose to stay overnight.
approx. 120km from Cairns and 280km from Townsville
This unique castle nestled in behind the cane fields of Innisfail is a stand out. It was built in 1933 using the Spanish castles as inspiration alongside Mena Creek Falls. Take the guided tour around the grounds to gain a greater insight to its history and character. It is a place to be ‘experienced’ as the photos don’t quite do its beauty justice.
approx. 90km south-west of Cairns and 350km from Townsville
Atherton Tablelands plays host to numerous spectacular waterfalls, lakes and misty rainforest tracks. About 300km north west of Townsville is Milla Milla where you can drive the waterfall loop and explore Milla Milla Falls, Zillie Falls, Elinjaa Falls, Pepina Fallls and Mungalli Falls. Take your bathers and a camera as the scenery is second to none with its lush landscape.
approx. 134km west of Townsville and 480km from Cairns
This enchanting city is the gateway to Outback Queensland and takes you back in time with its heritage-listed buildings and history it holds from the Gold Rush era. Ravenswood is halfway between Townsville and Charters Towers, 40km of the Flinders Highway, rich in history and the remains of stunning old pubs still in use today. Stop in for a cold brew and a break from the heat, you may even have a ghost experience. (Visit Texas Longhorns 10km out and have a camp oven-cooked damper and a billy tea after riding a cowboy chuck wagon. Texas Longhorns is closed over the hotter months, so put this one on your winter list.)
approx. 70km north of Cairns and 400km from Townsville
When driving over Mowbray Creek into Port Douglas be sure to look on the western side for the local crocodile often seen sunning himself on the water’s edge. Spring Creek is a local’s secret swimming spot (no crocs!) with the clearest water I have ever seen, perfect for the relentless hot summer’s day. There are many restaurants and beaches to choose from, so spending a lazy week in this tropical paradise will have you feeling refreshed.