Roads give us direction. They provide us clearer paths and passages as we journey towards different destinations. In a large continent like Australia, roads are a traveller’s, specifically a road-tripper’s best friend. This isn’t only because roads lead them to places, but also because roads can be the actual destination.
The Great Green Way is one long, panoramic stretch of road and one of the most travelled and most visited roads in Australia, particularly Queensland. Anyone who travels along this scenic highway is totally in for probably the best road drive of his or her life.
A highway to over a dozen national parks and about 25 tropical islands, the 350-kilometre Great Green Way leads locals and visitors to a lot of breathtaking attractions and enjoyable activities an adventurous soul will definitely die to see and experience. So unleash your outdoor spirit, take a long drive, and bask in the unmatched beauty of this enchanting stretch of road. Here are the best spots and stopovers you just can’t miss along The Great Green Way:
Reef HQ Aquarium
How would you like to walk underwater effortlessly, without getting wet? Stop by and take a tour around the Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville and learn more about the diversity of the Great Barrier Reef in one place, without you having to hold your breath underwater. Awesome, right?
Enjoy the cool recreational activities at The Strand, a long shoreline in Townsville where you can relax and experience real fun. With its impressive assemblage of recreational parks, restaurants, and hangouts, you can truly relish your vacation in a relaxing beach atmosphere.
From The Strand, enjoy a view of Magnetic Island which is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and a popular spot for anglers. Over half of the island belongs to Magnetic Island National Park due to its rich wildlife. You can catch a ferry ride from Townsville to Magnetic Island if you are not in a hurry. I strongly suggest you do.
Moving forward to Ingham, you can’t miss the Tyto Wetlands—a gaping 90-hectare wetland with wealthy flora and fauna. Go hiking along its walkways, and pass by its collection of well-preserved lagoons, native plants, and other wildlife species. Witness a huge, amazing bowl of natural wildlife before you and revel in its peacefulness on board viewing platforms. You can’t help but praise the beauty of the place’s raw natural environment, which has also been the home of about 230 bird species.
It’s hard to miss Wallaman Falls as you drive through Ingham. Known as the largest single-drop waterfall in Australia, it is a must-see for all tourists passing by the region. As the waterfall produces an awe-striking cloud of mist that sets off dazzling rainbow colours, onlookers can’t help dropping their jaws in fascination. Visitors can also enjoy a nice hike towards the bottom of the falls where camping sites and tents are available for their convenience.
Hinchinbrook Island and Channel
Hinchinbrook Island is gifted with a lavish marine life flanked with stunning rainforests and landscapes. It’s not referred to as the world’s largest island national park for nothing. It’s one of nature’s huge jewellery boxes within which an amazing collection of land and water forms have been drawing the attention of many tourists for years. In the island, The Thorsborne Trail has been a popular hiking spot where hikers can experience and enjoy its lush natural vegetation.
Day and Night Tours at Mission Beach
Mission Beach is a mission every traveller must have in his or her bucket list. From the moment the sun rises ‘til it gives way for the moon to emit its calming glow, Mission Beach has places to wow you any time of day.
The Paronella Park is one popular recreational spot where you can truly have quality time with your friends and loved ones. Flanked by the beautiful Mena Creek Falls, Jose Paronella’s version of dreamland will make you forget all worries. You can enjoy a picnic near the falls, a series of hiking tours through its wealthy vegetation, a bout of tennis in one of its standard tennis courts, a romantic trek around Darkness Falls, and more. You can also get as much tan as you want in one of Mission Beach’s golden shores, more notably in the Dunk and Bedarra islands. There’s more to discover in this awesome place. You won’t regret taking time savouring its beauty.
Girramay National Park
It’s either you explore the mangroves and coastal areas of Edmund Kennedy or enjoy the calming sound of rushing water as you camp near Murray Falls. To make the most of your vacation, why not give time for both? Each moment you spend with nature is worth etching in your memory. You can’t have your Great Green Way drive half-baked, or rather, half-travelled.
Cardwell: The Heart of the Road
This relaxing and peaceful village by the sea, also known as the heart of The Great Green Way, will ease your weariness from the road. Before moving on, stop by and unwind at a caravan park in Cardwell or enjoy boating and fishing with the locals. Immerse in its rich culture by visiting historical sites and indigenous art exhibits.
Choose a comfortable accommodation in Cardwell, where you can calm your senses before taking on the road again. You can easily find a quality motel in Cardwell for an amazingly low price—a great reason for you to stay. There are also adventure packages available for those who never want to break away from the fun and exhilaration. Indeed, Cardwell has a lot to offer for both the bold and the delicate.
The Golden Gumboot
See why gumboots are such a big deal in Tully. “The Golden Gumboot” is in fact Tully’s price for winning as the wettest town in Australia, with its amount of rainfall averaging to 150 days per year. So gear up and experience the exciting activities involving gumboots, suited for all ages. If you happen to visit in time with the annual Golden Gumboot Festival, relish your stay by joining in the fun as much as you can! You will definitely love the thrill and sweat.
Art Deco Buildings in Innisfail
You can’t pass by Innisfail without noticing the remarkable architectural design of its buildings. But there’s more to it than just art. The structures depict how the town have mightily risen after two cyclones hit the area first in 1918 and the next one, almost a century after, in March 2006. The town’s wonderful heritage has been preserved well through the years. It is referred to as the place with the largest collection of art deco buildings in Australia.
You are close to reaching the farthest point of your drive, and it doesn’t cease to get better especially once you witness the awe-inspiring Babinda Boulders. It is a well-visited water form where IN SOME PARTS you can enjoy bathing in its cool waters. You must take note that only in areas allowed for swimming should you be soaked in. Despite the beauty of the boulders with luscious water flowing through them, safety must still be your priority. Make sure you are with a dependable tour guide.
Enjoy the plush tropical rainforest surrounding you. There are picnic areas and play equipment for children in the site. You can also enjoy an overnight stay in the place with camping spots, tents, and caravans available for rent.
Bask in the rejuvenating atmosphere of Frankland Island’s spacious sandy shores. It is a great site for diving and snorkelling as a rich and diverse marine environment surrounds the island. Make sure to wear the recommended swimming and diving suits to protect yourself from irritating sunburn and stinging jellyfish. Always follow marine rules for your safety and for the preservation of the whole marine environment.
You may be envisioning a huge pyramid, but Walsh’s Pyramid is actually a mountain. With its almost perfect cone-like slopes, you would think it is man-made. Rising up to around 922 metres, it is a popular trail for mountain climbers. You’ll pass through heavy vegetation and steep passages, so make sure you are well-geared and have professional climbers with you especially if you are a beginner. As you reach the peak, you’ll forget how tired your legs are as you gaze over such a view too good for adjectives.
Remember how you used to eat the cake first before the icing? Reaching Gordonvale is somewhat synonymous to the feeling of finally getting to eat the icing after finishing up your slice of cake. Gordonvale is a beauty, but you won’t just see the beauty of the place once you’re there, you will also feel the unrivalled elation of having finished one long destination.
And what’s a better geographical analogy to an icing than this sugar-filled town? Gordonvale’s dominant product is sugar as it has large and productive cane farms. They also have vast fruit farms where citrus fruits and bananas are abundant. Their fertile lands have been a great source of livelihood, not to mention the eye-catching attractions and lively activities in the area that can surely enchant any tourist or visitor.
The Great Green Way is a road of treasures—treasures free for all. Experience these jewels, and take care of them as you journey on. Take the long drive, and see for yourself how the harmonious blending of nature and man’s ingenuity forges beauty too great for words.
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By Debra Wright
Debra Wright is a creative and innovative blogger and online marketing specialist. She uses her wordsmith skills to share her ideas, thoughts, and tips to other people about topics that fascinate her, such as travel and recreation. Follow Debra on twitter @debrawrites…