Welcome to Ingham, gateway to The Tropical Coast, this area is renowned for eco-experiences such as fishing, bird watching, Indigenous stories and natural attractions. Stay for a few days in town or at the beaches to allow yourself the time to explore the region. There is a choice of quality, affordable accommodation including motels, pubs and caravan parks.
The Tyto Wetlands, about 500m south of town, has lagoons and walking tracks that are home to more than 230 species of birds, numerous tropical plant species and wallabies galore. The name comes from the Eastern Grass Owl (Tyto Capensis), an endangered species which can be seen taking flight at dusk. While at the Tyto Centre, have a look at the visual displays of what local cane farmers have achieved by creating their own wetlands and conservation management initiatives that effectively manage the eco-diversity of farming areas to ensure sustainability for future farming generations and protection of the Great Barrier Reef.
You might like to learn about the history of Ingham and nearby Halifax. Wander through an impressive collection of ornate mausoleums at the New Ingham Cemetery or take in the peaceful Botanic Gardens.
Ingham has a number of exciting events throughout the year such as the annual Australian Italian Festival, which celebrates Italian history and migration to the area. Its motto is “Amore Della Vita” which means Love of Life. Another event celebrating the local lifestyle is the Maraka Festival held each year.
Driving west out of town is Abergowrie State Forest in the Herbert River Valley where you can camp under tall eucalypts, swim in Broadwater Creek and bush walk. It is accessed via Trebonne, 8km west of Ingham.
On the same road out of Ingham you can enter Girringun National Park. Highlights include Mt Fox, a well preserved dormant volcano, and Wallaman Falls, Australia’s longest permanent single-drop waterfall. Camp near the falls at Stoney Creek to spotlight sugar gliders at night. There are two short walks or venture on the 110km Wet Tropics Great Walk which takes you through Girringun’s rainforest, hinterland, eucalypt forests and woodlands.
Travelling out of town to the beaches you will see Victoria Mill, the largest sugar mill in the Southern Hemisphere. The mill recycles its waste product into energy through an electricity generating plant which feeds power back into the electricity grid.
Catch some waves at Forrest Beach, 20km east of Ingham. It has a store, modern beachfront hotel with a open air bar, caravan park, boat ramp, stinger net and the surf life saving club.
There are calmer waters at Taylors Beach further north, a popular fishing spot at the mouth of Victoria Creek, where you will find a caravan park, general store and a boat ramp.
The Hinchinbrook Heritage Trail continues at Halifax, a small community which was once the hub of the Herbert River district. Historic building facades, and great little pubs sit among the heritage-listed mango trees lining the main street, a reminder of the town’s heyday. Lay your hands on the Halifax’s Tree of Knowledge to absorb its secrets and learn more at the Herbert River Museum and Gallery.
Magnificent Hinchinbrook Island looms large at Lucinda, a fisherman’s paradise. This is a popular departure point for charters in the channel, it is close to the Palm Island Group and Orpheus Island and the famous Throsbourne Trail. Join the locals fishing from the old sugar jetty or launch your tinnie from the Dungeness public boat ramp.
Lucinda has the world’s longest offshore sugar loading facility, a jetty that stretches almost 6km out to sea and follows the curve of the earth. Its beach has a stinger net and there is a public walkway along the foreshore. Get some local fish and chips for dinner and enjoy a picnic with a view of Hinchinbrook Island and the channel mouth. Accommodation ranges from a hotel motel, caravan park with freezers to store your catch in, and a resort.
Head out via Halifax to the highway. You will pass the tiny town of Macknade, the site of the Herbert River’s second sugar mill. Here you will find a beautiful nine hole golf course set among the sugar cane, framed by cane trains and dotted with majestic rain trees - a quintessential North Queensland picture.
Click the below images to enlarge