QLD: Far North; Cairns and Townsville
"Savannah, Tropical Beaches and Higlands"
Townsville to Cairns and into the Northern Reaches of the Great Dividing Range
In Queensland's far north can be found two contrasting cities that both offer so much for the tourist and visitor. While Cairns is a tropical district that is always green and wet Townsville has a drier savannah-like appearance and though only a little way south of the tropics the rainfall is surprisingly less than 'just up the road'.
Cairns is a true holiday maker's paradise that is bursting at the sides with attractions and some of the most original and exciting scenery in Australia.
The place is blessed with sunny beaches, pristine rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef. Nevertheless during the stinger season, November to May, it is very strongly advised that all swimmers swim within the enclosures and between the lifeguard flags.
Palm Cove Beach and Trinity Beach, just north of Cairns, have developed into major tourist destinations with International Five Star Resorts and luxury hotel accommodation being developed for the more discerning visitor. In more recent times the city of Cairns itself has been modernised and enhanced, making it a more relaxing place for locals and visitors to enjoy.
Attractions include the Daintree Rainforest, the Kuranda Railway, snorkeling or sailing on the Great Barrier Reef, fishing for barramundi and much more.
Townsville attracts the people of the world like a magnet. Its unique and diverse beauty is unparalleled as it is set in the middle of the sub-tropics and has rainforests, reefs, white sandy beaches and outback bush all within reach of a modern city. Just to the north there is Mission Beach and to the south the Burdekin. Just standing on the two and a half kilometre foreshore is a popular pastime as the views across Cleveland Bay to Magnetic Island are something special.
Magnetic Island, or Maggie as it is often referred to by the locals, can be the place to spend that idyllic escape. It is only a short ferry ride across pristine waters to the island and the heart of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Words cannot describe the place as the unique bird life is abundant and koalas roam wild. There are dozens of beaches and bays around the island, and the visitor is free to roam and take in all the splendour and beauty the island is renowned for.
Both cities have well equipped airports and the train ride north from Brisbane is a wonderful experience. There are two services with the faster Tilt Train and the more prestigious Sunlander with its sleeper cabins available and great buffet car.
The very best way to travel here is by train; just sit back and relax. The Sunlander and Tilt Trains come from the States capital 1600 kilomtres away to the south and the Savanahlander, Kurandah and Gulflander Routes across the Far North are enjoyed by visitors from all over the world.