There was a collective sense of joy and relief once I did all the chores that need urgent attention I have been delaying for months and others for years. I could finally hit the road again and escape to some of my favourite places just hours drive south of Cairns. My plan was to wander through one of the small, charming town along south of Cairns like Babinda before arriving in the township of Innisfail. It is not an arduous drive, with just 60 kilometres from Cairns. Every town is different in its own way and all have charming atmosphere. The direction I took, driving south along the main A1 highway, I was surrounded by stunning landscapes, beautiful rolling hills and lush farmlands.
The township of Babinda is a typical tropical Queensland rural town with a population of approximately just under 1500 people. The main street offers quaint shopfronts and a misty rainforest mountain backdrop which makes it a eye-catching town to explore. Arriving in the township of Babinda, it is an unusual, a sugar-cane farming town nestled proximity between the foot hills to Queensland’s two highest mountains Mount Bartle Frere (Queensland’s highest peak) and Mount Bellenden Ker and amongst is the lush farming lands and tropical rainforest. Learning the historical past of the town, the sugar mill was the main focus of the town and most people worked in the sugar industry in one way or another. Since the closer of the sugar mill in 2011, many people have left and others today still work in the sugar-cane farms but Babinda is still a thriving little town and has all the social and economic infrastructure of a small town. It has a tourist information centre, hospital, public library, restored historic picture theatre, a public pool, schools and a rambling huge heritage-listed hotel.
Taking a little wander along this one main street town, almost 100 metres long, I found this tiny town impeccably tidy. Many old buildings including Babinda Hotel looks like most buildings and hotels in North Queensland but interestingly Babinda Hotel have an unusual history. With curiosity, many locals were obliged to gladly share the history with me. Apart from tidy town and friendly locals, I thought it was a good place to stop for breakfast before heading to Babinda Boulders. I was in for a real treat at one of the local cafe as the popular and favourite Babinda Bakery, famous for its cream buns was closed on the day I visited.
The real beauty of Babinda is found in the National Parks just located within few minutes of drive. Driving only just 6 kilometres from the Babinda township, I reached Babinda Boulders. Arriving at the Babinda Boulders, I was instantly stunned and amazed of the beauty of the area. This place has a vast picnic area, equiped with barbecues, picnic shelters, toilets and billboards detailing the history of the area. The Boulders make it a perfect stop on a hot day and it is an area that a whole family can enjoy.
The Babinda Boulders is very popular among locals and visitors. Many come to see the rainforest but most importantly the popular freshwater swimming holes set amongst thick rainforest. This place is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Australia. This place has a series of crystal clear swimming holes where people of all walks of life come to enjoy and the water is cold all year round. These swimming holes have easy access into the creek via a platform. They are safe to swim in, in designated areas. Who wouldn’t be swimming in this beautiful and prisitne environment.
The picnic area and the swimming holes are just a small part of this exciting place. There a number of tracks that are easy and well marked. If Babinda Boulders isn’t on your bucket list of great walking, it should be. This walking tracks are short and paved with breathtaking scenery and you get to see the beauty, diversity and history of the area. This walking tracks are perfect year-round tracks. After working up a sweat on the walks, I just headed down to the swimming holes and cool off in crystal clear waters.
The well marked tracks are easy grade to suit every ability but Boulders along the walk just captured my imgination. The Boulders are a series of large granite Boulders located in Babinda Creek. They have rough surface but over time they become smooth and slippery by the tropical rain. They are huge and impressive to see but during rainy season, these rocks become a death-trap for anyone that disobey the rules, especially the Devils Pool. The rocks become slippery and once you fall into twisting rock pools, it becomes impossible to located. It is accessible 1.3 kilometre walk from the carpark but it is not a swimming spot and for viewing only. But it is very impressive to view during rainy season when the water gushes over the rocks.
Walking along beneath some of the Tropical North Queensland’s tallest rainforest trees and the ferns and ever-changing scenery sets out a perfect way for nature lovers to learn about Babainda’s unique flora, while enjoying the walking track’s best views. The Boulders Gorge Lookout was just incredible. I have to confess that I was uttely amazed by not only its views but by its incredibly greenery beauty. Standing on this viewing platform surrounded by thick tropical rainforest and seeing the beauty of the lush surrounding environment was just worth visiting the area. Breathtaking is one word to describe it.
Spending only limited time on this place wasn’t long enough to explore others parts of the area. This is a beautiful spot to come for relaxation at the cool waters, going for easy walk along the tracks or simply enjoying the natural rainforest in the picnic area. For keen photographers, it is a great spot for taking photos so don’t forget your camera.
The most I enjoyed about this place is as I walked through the tropical rainforest, I could hear birds chattering, the formation of tropical tree roots twisting into unusal and impressive shapes and the canopy offers a cool covering from the tropical sun.