As our car was about the price of a house, our original plan was to sleep the night in the car. I thought it was a nice idea to end up somewhere near the ocean so we would be woken by the sun rising. Tully Heads was our first test. All the spots we tried were not really suitable, so we headed into the town of Tully and tested out what was available.
It was about 9.30pm, not really too late, but definitely too late for Tully. We tried a couple of the pubs to check if they have rooms, one girl (probably a relation to our good friend at the car hire company) said to us "yeah, we have rooms but all the money's gone upstairs so you can't check in". Evnetually we decided to stay in the Tully Motel out by the highway. Somehow the guy behind the desk managed to translate "Francisca Borquez" as "Franasca Basquet". Our room was comfortable and clean, which is a lot more than I would have expected from a dorm room above a pub.
Next morning I called the boss from the hostel in Cairns to organise some accommodation for myself. I told him we spent the night in Tully, he laughed. We visited the information centre, which was full of friendly and informative staff, this seems to be a rare find in the north of Queensland. They really went out of their way to help us, instead of staring us down like we had interrupted their important business they were conducted in an empty shop.
First stop in Tully was the golden gumboot. This is a giant statue of a boot, 7.9m tall to represent the highest ever rainfall in Tully. The town has the highest average rainfall in Australia. We were lucky as it was a beautiful sunny day.
From Tully we moved on to the much more scenic Mission Beach. I was originally hoping to get this far the previous night, but Tully was as good a stop as any in the scheme of things. Mission Beach has a huge length of unbroken coastline, I think it's close to 20km. Unfortunately most of it was covered in seaweed. The beaches were surprisingly empty though, Mission Beach is a hugely popular spot for skydiving, but we didn't get to see anybody in action. It is also famed for being a hotspot for the cassowary, but we didn't get to see any of them either.
We drove a little further on to a spot called Bingil Bay, where we stopped for a bite to eat. We weren't going to have another day of surviving on ice cream alone. From Mission Beach we passed through Innisfail. Entering the town there is a sign "Congratulations to State of Origin players Billy Slater and Ty Williams". I don't think I have ever seen that sort of sign in any town, which might just make Innisfail one of the biggest league towns in the country.
Shortly after Innisfail we moved inland and proceed to check out a wide variety of rainforests and waterfalls. We began at the Ma:Mu canopy walk. This walk was constructed after Cyclone Larry ripped through the area in 2006. It allows you to get pretty amazing views through the forest canopy over to the North Johnstone river which you can see far off in the distance.
It costs about $20 each to go on this trip, which is essentially a walk the rainforest. It is a fairly new construction, and a great view, but the price seems incredibly steep for what you are getting. At the end of the elevated walkway, you go up into a tower, which just seems completely Tolkien-esque....something that could be used as an Orc guardtower.
The view from the top was impressive, to say the least. You look down over a large bend in the North Johnstone river, little did we know, this was not the last we'd see of the river and our day had only just begun.