The Cassowary Coast region is located in far north Queensland and extends from Garradunga in the north to Cardwell in the south and the East Palmerston district in the west.
I had been told that Mission Beach was a ‘must-see’ place to visit and so decided to take a drive up the Cassowary Coast, which includes the towns of Innisfail, Tully, Cardwell and Mission Beach.
Hinchinbrook Island sits off the coast, and the drive through this whole area features the sugar-cane fields of Ingham and Cardwell.
Talking to some of the ‘locals’ along the way reveals some valid cause for concern regarding sediment run-off from more than 2,000 hectares of cane farming land potentially polluting waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-26/sediment-run-off-cane-pollution-clairview-mackay-qld/10427726
I love the real old Queenslander homes and this one caught my eye, in Ingham. I don’t think anyone lives there as it looked pretty desolate. The whole area seems very dry as you can see by the colour of the earth here.
Cardwell has a lovely long stretch of beach, however I was told that daring to even put a toe in the water is risky. No need to tell me twice!
I did actually see a Cassowary along the side of the road up near Mission Beach, but was unable to stop and take a photograph. The speed limit is reduced to 80kph throughout this area to hopefully avoid collision with these very striking-looking birds. However, I was surprised to read here https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2019/4/why-the-cassowary-is-the-worlds-most-dangerous-bird-568931/ that although Cassowaries are certainly striking to look at, with a vivid blue face, two red wattles (flaps of skin) hanging from their neck and a hollow “helmet”, known as a casque, atop their heads – they are actually very dangerous birds.
I spent a pleasant night at View Caravan Park in Mission Beach. It’s the kind of place where you can strike up a conversation with other travellers in the camp kitchen at meal-time. I was fortunate to meet up with a young Scotsman working in the mining industry who pulled a bottle of wine out of the fridge and offered me a drink in a china mug. That’s one of the wonderful things about travelling, especially on your own – you might have to make an effort to be sociable but you’re often rewarded with some interesting characters who have amazing stories to tell.
This little cafe is a real hive of activity in Mission Beach. It’s family-owned and operated and hosts musical evenings while serving delicious food to locals and visitors. The coffee is pretty good, too – and of course, I love the purple effect!
Perhaps there’s an element of the old hippie style do you think?
While I was sitting enjoying my coffee, several school buses came along and stopped outside the cafe to drop off schoolchildren – it seems like a popular stop as quite a few parents were waiting for their kids and catching up with the locals for a chat as well.
I have really been enjoying tropical North Queensland and the contrast with the Territory and WA. It was fantastic to have my sister for company whilst in Townsville. We also visited Magnetic Island, which I’ll write about in a separate post.