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.
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