South Central: The Cassowary Coast

The South Central Coast - also called the Cassowary Coast - stretches from Cairns southward to Ingham, dissected by the Bruce Highway which meanders through mill towns surrounded by cane fields and fruit farms.

While most of the coastal lowlands has been cleared, there are still plenty of natural places to explore - from isolated tropical beaches to Queensland's two highest mountains, the mist-shrouded Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker.

The coastal towns are the wettest in Australia receiving as much as 4 metres (13 feet) of rain each year. The high rainfall produces special features which attract visitors to the Cassowary Coast - beautiful waterfalls, white-water rapids and luscious green forests. If you are lucky, you may see one of the magnificent birds that have lent the Cassowary Coast its name.

The endangered cassowary is Australia's largest flightless bird, standing as a high as a human with a colourful red and blue neck. There are a number of cassowaries around the coastal village of Mission Beach, so please drive carefully while you are travelling through this area. Unfortunately, careless drivers are one of the main reasons why these birds are being pushed closer to extinction. Feeding cassowaries might be seen as helpful by some people but it is actually very dangerous and also another cause of cassowary deaths.

This region extends into the dry end of the tropics and the forests here are quite different to those in the north. The trees often have smaller leaves and hoop pines grow here rather than the kauri pines of the northern forests.

The World Heritage Area also includes magnificent stands of tall eucalypt forest and dry tropical open woodlands. Enjoy this diversity when exploring the local walking tracks and waterholes. The southern wet tropics region also includes numerous spectacular waterfalls such as Wallaman Falls, Murray Falls and Blencoe Falls. Scenic drives and walks through state forest and national parks abound around the Cardwell and Ingham areas.

Wet Tropics World Heritage Area Map Cairns and Central Coast Northern Wet Tropics South Central Southern Wet Tropics Tablelands
Northern Wet Tropics Cairns & Central Coast South Central Southern Wet Tropics Tablelands

Spots of interest for your itinerary...

Alligators Nest, Tully Gorge

Bartle Frere

Clump Mountain, Bingil Bay

Djiru National Park

Eubenangee Swamp

Goldfield trail, Wooroonooran National Park

Josephine Falls

Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walk

Tully Gorge

Tyto Wetlands

Wallaman Falls Walks


For more information:

Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Tully Visitor and Heritage Centre:
07 4068 2288

Comprehensive regional park guides

Click the links to download brochure PDFs:

Atherton and Evelyn tablelands (3.6MB) 
Tropical coast (Cairns to Townsville) (8.2MB)
Cape York (4.2MB)



News and Events

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News and Events

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Yellow crazy ant taskforce go to battle

Yellow crazy ant taskforce go to battle

Taskforce set to hand-treat yellow crazy ant infestations in southern Cairns suburbs and World Heritage Area... READ MORE

The Authority's July eNews out now

The Authority's July eNews out now

From taking to the skies to getting down among the rainforest and communities, the Authority has been spreading itself wide. ... READ MORE

Kids get 'wild' with eco-art sculptures

Kids get 'wild' with eco-art sculptures

The Wet Tropics Management Authority has joined students, parents and teachers at the Cairns Botanic Gardens Centre to celebrate their contributi... READ MORE