Things to do in Tully, QLD

🐸 16 Top Things to do in Tully, QLD

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Tully is a gorgeous little town situated in the Cassowary Coast region of Far North Queensland. It sits about 140km south of Cairns and 210km north of Townsville. 

With a population of less than 2500 people, Tully’s economy is mainly based on sugar cane and banana crops, with the Tully Sugar Mill defining the town.

While Tully may seem like a sleepy little town, it’s actually jam-packed with things to do for anyone visiting the area. From climbing inside an oversized gumboot, touring the sugar cane mill, swimming at Alligators Nest and rushing down some of Australia’s best river rapids, Tully is one small town you don’t want to skip past!

Work your way through these awesome things to do in Tully, Far North Queensland.

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Things to do in Tully, QLD

The BIG Golden Gumboot

Big Gumboot, Tully
BIG Golden Gumboot, Tully QLD

With the average annual rainfall for Tully being a generous 4000+ mm per year, the town of Tully likes to peg itself as being the wettest in Australia. But there is a bit of rivalry with the nearby towns of Babinda and Innisfail, which regularly receive more rainfall than Tully.

Tully has claimed the title of being the ‘wettest’ town in Australia!

The Golden Gumboot Competition

The Golden Gumboot is a locally famous competition between the towns of Tully, Innisfail, and Babinda in Far North Queensland, for the wettest town in Australia.

All three towns are situated in the Wet Tropics on land that was once covered in rainforest. Tully, Innisfail and Babinda experience some of the highest rainfall levels in Australia as a result of monsoonal rain and cyclones. Each year since 1970, the winner for the competition was awarded a rubber boot.

Tully Big Golden Gumboot
Annual rainfall sign inside the Big Golden Gumboot, Tully QLD

The Creation of the Big Golden Gumboot

Despite Babinda having received more rainfall than Tully over the last 40 years, the Big Golden Gumboot was installed in the Tully township back in 2003, displaying past flood records. 

The giant gumboot fibreglass construction cost $90,000 and was opened by the Tully Lions and Rotary Clubs in May 2003. It stands at 7.9 metres (25.9 ft) tall, laying tribute to Tully’s record year of rainfall back in 1950.

BIG Golden Gumboot
Address76 Butler St, Tully QLD 4854

A Rare ‘Big Thing’

Visiting the Golden Gumboot is one of the most popular things to do in Tully. This particular Queensland Big Thing allows people the rare opportunity to actually walk inside and climb to the top.

Inside the Big Golden Gumboot is a spiral staircase leading visitors to the top viewing platform, which affords fantastic views over the town and sugar mill. As you make your way to the top of the gumboot, take the time to look at the historical photos on display, which show flooding in the district.

QLD Big Things Checklist

QLD Big Things Checklist

Collect all 150+ Big Things as your travel around Queensland!

( Digital + Printable )

  • 150+ Big Things
  • Full street addresses
  • Tick boxes
  • Add in extra finds
  • Record find dates

Tully Sugar Mill Tour

Tully Sugar Mill, Tully QLD

Tully is home to one of the largest sugar mills in Australia and they’re one of the few mills around that actually allow tourists to inspect their operations as part of their guided tours.

The main objective of the facility is the milling of sugar cane to produce raw sugar of internationally recognised high quality. While all of the Tully sugar is exported, molasses is produced as a by-product, which is used as an important cattle feed supplement. The molasses is sold both domestically and internationally.

Essential Information for the Tully Sugar Mill Tour:

  • Enclosed footwear (no thongs or sandals)
  • Sleeved shirt (no singlets)
  • Shorts permitted (minimum mid-thigh length)
  • Only cameras and emergency medication can be carried in the Mill
  • Children must be at least 115cm tall and accompanied by an adult
  • Please arrive at the Tour Hut 15 minutes prior to the tour starting time

Tully Sugar Mill Tours Pricing & Times:

The sugar mill tours run during the ‘crushing season’ from June to November each year and go for about 1.5 hours. All bookings can be made at the Tully Visitor Information Centre.

Tully Sugar Mill Tours
Address1 Hort Street, Tully QLD 4854
Tour Duration1.5 – 2 hours
Tour PricesAdult – $30
Child –  $15 (under 17 years)
Family – $75 (2 x adults & 2 children under 17)
Age Pensioners – $25
• Monday to Friday – 9:45am, 10:45am, 12:45pm
• Saturday/ Sunday – 11.00am
• Twilight Tours (Mon, Tues, Wed) – 5:15pm (max. 8 people per tour)

Alligators Nest Swimming Hole

Alligators Nest, Tully QLD
Alligators Nest Swimming Hole, Tully QLD

If you’re looking for somewhere local to cool off then one of the great free things to do in Tully is to visit Alligators Nest Swimming Hole. 

Don’t worry, there are no snapping reptiles out there (it’s actually just named after the local Scout group)!

Alligators Nest is only about a 5-minute (6km) drive out of town into the base of the beautiful Tully Gorge National Park. There you’ll find a nice day-use area with a picnic table, gas BBQ, toilets and of course a clear, flowing creek, perfect for swimming in.

If you liked Babinda Boulders, then you’ll love Alligators Nest Swimming Hole. It’s a similar version of a sandy-bottomed, smooth bouldered water hole with fresh, flowing mountain water, coming down from Cardwell Range.

The water depth starts off quite shallow from the bottom of the access stairs, which allows for even young swimmers to have a safe splash. Explore the rainforest-surrounded boulders up the creek, or go for a swim downstream in the deeper water.

Read my complete guide to Alligators Nest for more information.

Alligators Nest Swimming Hole
AddressWalter Hill QLD 4854
Facilities• Picnic tables
• Toilets
• Gas BBQ shelter shed

Drive up to Kareeya Hydro Power Station

Kareeya Hydro Power Station has been producing 100% renewable energy since 1957. The original parts of the project included the construction of Koombooloomba Dam and Tully Falls Weir. As the region gets most of its rainfall in the first few months of the year, a water storage facility was required.

Cardstone Village

For 30-odd years, the staff and their families lived in the nearby village of Cardstone, which was built solely for the employees. Cardstone used to have accommodation, shops, a post office and a community hall, but these days there is nothing left to explore.

When the power station became fully automated around 1990, the village was demolished and revegetated with plants native to the region.

A Scenic Drive

Even though Kareeya Hydro Power Station is closed to the public, the 50km journey up through the rainforest from Tully makes for a beautiful drive.

The sealed road follows the Tully River all the way up to the end, finishing at Kareeya Hydro Power Station. There is a lookout up there, however, at last check, the vegetation is quite thick now, which doesn’t offer much of a view.

Kareeya Hydro Power Station
AddressTully Gorge Road, Cardstone QLD 4854
Distance from Tully52km | 41 minutes

Watch the Sugar Cane Trains During ‘Crushing Season’

Tully Sugar Cane Mill, Tully QLD

A really fun and free activity to do during the crushing season (from June to November) is to wander through town and watch the trains coming and going from the sugar mill.

You can go and stand across the road from the mill, near the Big Golden Gumboot at night and listen to the bells going off as each train announces its arrival. The lights from the trains bustling in and out of the mill add much excitement to an otherwise sleepy inland town.

Tully is like a buzzing beehive during the crushing season.

The Cane Rail Network

  • 700 tonnes of sugar crushed every hour
  • 200+ kilometres of rail network
  • 15 locomotives in the fleet
  • Harvest bins carry from 4 – 10 tonnes each
  • Trains run day & night during the harvest season
Sugar Mill Trains
AddressAnywhere along the train tracks throughout town

Tully Visitor & Heritage Centre

Before Tully was built in 1924, it was originally called Banyan. Although it was first surveyed in 1883, it wasn’t until the mid 1920s that the Government built a sugar mill for the area. From there the town began to grow, with the completion of the mill in 1925, making it the largest mill in Australia in its day.

These days Tully is one of the biggest sugar-producing regions in Queensland coming from over 22,000 ha of cane fields, stretching from Feluga right down to Kennedy Valley.

Second to sugar is bananas. Yep, the Tully area also has 5,000 ha of land dedicated to banana crops, filling about 8.5 million cartons of bananas each year.

Head to the Tully Visitor & Heritage Centre, on the Bruce Highway, to see displays of the progress of Tully and the surrounding region.

Tully Visitor & Heritage Centre
AddressTully Gorge Road, Tully QLD 4854

Tully Gorge National Park

Alligators Nest, Tully QLD
Tully Gorge National Park, QLD

The Tully Gorge National Park follows the Tully River, which swoops down the Cardwell Range, flanked by thick, lush rainforest all the way. While you’re visiting the area you can enjoy bushwalking, camping, picnicking and scenic drives through the beautiful Tully Gorge National Park.

The best way to experience Tully Gorge National Park is to take the scenic drive up Tully Gorge Road, which ends at the Kareeya Hydro Power Station.

The 52km drive is sealed the whole way and takes about 41 minutes (one way), without allowing for any stops.

What to take:

  • Plenty of drinking water for the day
  • Lunch & snacks
  • Insect repellent
  • Fly swat (for the march flies)
  • Hat
• DO NOT SWIM – Estuarine Crocodiles (the saltwater variety) can be found in some of the waterways in Tully Gorge National Park
• Look out for the endangered Cassowary – observe from a distance and do not feed or approach
• No mobile phone coverage

The following points of interest can be found as you meander up Tully Gorge Road. I recommend following along on the WikiCamps app for exact placements and photos of the points of interest, as well as additional crowd-sourced information.

Tully Gorge Road Scenic Drive Points of Interest
Tully Gorge View Point• Pull-over area to view the gorge & Tully River rapids
Tully Gorge National Park Day-use Area• Toilets
• Tap water (non-potable)
• Showers (cold)
• Camping
• BBQs (BYO wood)
• Picnic tables
Butterfly Walk• 400m loop walk
• Gravel path/ boardwalk
• Interpretive signs + spot lots of butterflies
• Access via the Day-use Area (above)
Koolmoon Creek Falls• 50m walk down to the falls
• Not signposted – small parking area off the road
Cardstone Weir Lookout• Lookout
Old Building Ruins• Remains of Cardstone village (built for the power station workers in the 1950s)
Ponytail Falls• Waterfall (short walk)
• Road signage – ‘Number 11’
• Picnic tables
Kareeya Hydro Power Station Lookout• Lookout (overgrown these days)
• Toilets

Tully Skate Park Art

Tully Skate Park, Tully QLD
Tully Skate Park, Tully QLD

Whether you’re a skateboarder or not, it’s easy to appreciate the bright and colourful artwork that has been professionally graffitied onto the ramps and surfaces. 

Tully Skate Park offers a range of quarters, hips, banks, steep low rails and ledges for the local active youth to get stuck into.

You can find Tully Skate Park located right next door to the Showgrounds, which is just a short stroll from the Big Golden Gumboot (across from the Sugar Mill).

Tully Skate Park
Address Cnr Butler Street & Murray Street, Tully QLD 4854

Raging Thunder Adventures

Raging Thunder Adventures
Photo: Raging Thunder Adventures

The Tully River is well known for its white water rafting with both grade 3 and 4 rapids. Head out onto the rapids with a crew of enthusiastic and experienced professionals who are passionate about making sure you have an awesome adventure.

Tully River has an international reputation as being the best rafting river in Australia!

Tully River Rafting Experience:

  • Meet at the top of Tully Gorge (if self-driving from Tully)
  • Transfers available from Cairns and Mission Beach
  • Meet your River Guide & fellow paddlers
  • Helmet & life jacket fitting
  • Safety briefing & paddling instructions
  • Warm-up on some small rapids
  • Rafting through grade 3 & 4 rapids
  • Arrive at take out point
  • Head to Feluga Hotel for dinner
  • Transfers back to accommodation
Tully River Rafting Experience
Address Tully Gorge Road, Cardstone QLD 4854
Tully River Rafting• 10am Start – Full day
• From $225 AUD
Tully River Rafting – Classic• 6am Start – Full day
• Includes BBQ lunch
• From $225 AUD

Head to Raging Thunder Adventures for all information and bookings.

Cassowary Coast Art Deco & Historical Walk

Tully Town Map, QLD

Explore the Cassowary Coast art deco buildings with the Historic Self-guided Walk through Tully township.

After a destructive cyclone wiped out many buildings throughout the Cassowary Coast area in 1918, many of the business districts were rebuilt in the popular art deco style, which was typical of that era.

The Tully Heritage Trail starts at the Visitor & Heritage Centre on the Bruce Highway and will take you past 20 different storyboards located through the town.

Tully Historical Walk Buildings:

1.Mullins Bros Buildings13 – 19 Butler Street, Tully
2.Castrisos Building30 Butler Street, Tully
3.Former Plaza Theatre72 Butler Street, Tully
4.Mullins Bros Hotel5 Butler Street, Tully
5.Williams/ Dibella BuildingCnr Butler & Still Streets, Tully
6.Mount Tyson Hotel21 – 25 Butler Street, Tully
7.Nolan’s Building32 Butler Street, Tully
8.Mangan Sadleir Building20 – 22 Butler Street, Tully
9.Mylonas Building30 – 37 Butler Street, Tully
10.Dorothy Jones Library34 Bryant Street, Tully

Tully Historical Walk Map & App:

There are three ways you can get your hands on the FREE Cassowary Coast Art Deco & Historical Walk brochure, detailing all relevant buildings throughout Tully and Innisfail.

  1. Head to any of the four Cassowary Coast Info Centres
  2. Download the booklet directly onto your phone or device
  3. Download the App – search “Tropical Art Deco” in your app store

Mount Tyson Walking Track

Mount Tyson, Tully QLD
Mount Tyson, Tully QLD

The mountain that towers over Tully (which you’ll see behind the Big Golden Gumboot) is named Mount Tyson. The peak is 687 metres (2,254 ft) high with Scout Rock providing the perfect vantage point to look out over the Tully region, sitting at 570m high.

The Mount Tyson Walking Track is a difficult grade track and is only recommended for people with a very good level of fitness. Allow 2 – 3 hours return for the trek up to the summit, then back down.

Mount Tyson points of interest:

  • ‘Scouts Rock’ or ‘Flat Rock’ – 570m elevation, 45-minute climb
  • Summit – 687m elevation, another 15-minute climb
Mount Tyson Walking Track
Distance5 km return
Time2 – 3 hours return
Walking Track RatingGrade 4
• Bushwalking experience recommended
• Track is long, rough & steep
• Limited directional signage
Track Entry PointEnd of Brannigan Street, Tully QLD 4854 (next to a large water tank)
Register Your NameFor safety reasons, it’s advised that you register your name before your hike
• Register at 5 Star Supermarket – Cnr. Butler & Bryant Streets
• Remove your name upon return
• Board is checked for returns at 6pm daily

Tully Heads & Hull Heads

Take the 20-minute drive to the coast to see where the Tully River feeds out into the ocean at Tully Heads. There, you’ll find a small coastal town with a population of about 354 people (according to the 2016 census).

3km up the beach sits Hull Heads, which is a popular fishing spot with a boat ramp and pontoon available. There are only about 113 people who live in the small village of Hull Heads.

Wander along Googarra Beach, which runs from the Hull River in the north to Tully River in the south. Enjoy the views out to Family Islands, including Dunk Island, then pop over to the Tully Heads Tavern for a drink or meal.

Remember, you’re in crocodile country, so unfortunately, you can’t swim in these waterways.

Tully Heads
AddressTully Hull Road, Tully Heads QLD 4854

Reinsdown Horse Riding & Farm Experience

Reinsdown Horse Ridiing & Farm Experience, Tully QLD
Photo: Reinsdown Horse Riding & Farm Experience

Just three minutes out of Tully is the popular Reinsdown Horse Riding & Farm Experience. They cater for beginners right through to advanced riders, so no experience is required for this adventure activity!

Reinsdown Experience:

  • Introductory lesson in the undercover arena
  • Picturesque ride through their farm & lush rainforest trails
  • Meet the cows
  • Cross beautiful mountain streams
  • See if you can spot Ulysses Butterflies, Wallabies & Cassowaries
Reinsdown Horse Riding & Farm Experience
Address75 Aerodrome Road, Tully QLD 4854
Experience Duration3 hours (2 hours in the saddle)
Times8.30am – 11.30am
1.30pm – 4.30pm
Minimum Age10 years
Cost$100/ person (discounts for full groups)
What’s Included• Horses & equipment
• Safety helmets
• Refreshments
• Photos taken of clients along the rainforest ride (free copies provided electronically)
What to Bring• Covered shoes
• Long pants
• Sunscreen
• Insect repellent

Head to Reinsdown Horse Riding & Farm Experience for more info and bookings.

Murray Falls

Murray Falls, QLD
Photo: Wikipedia

The beautiful Murray Falls is a 36km drive south of Tully, which will take about 32 minutes to travel by car. Murray Falls is nestled in Girramay National Park, where you will find crystal clear waters cascading over boulders into the rock pools below.

Things to do at Murray Falls:

  • Have a picnic in the grassy, shady day-use area
  • Stroll along the boardwalk to the waterfall viewing platform
  • Take the 1.8km (return) walk through the rainforest gully, then up to view the falls & Murray Valley
  • Swim in the rock pools by the day-use area (careful, slippery when wet)
Murray Falls
AddressMurray Falls Road, Murray Upper QLD 4854
Facilities• Toilets
• Picnic tables

Tully Markets

Wander the Tully Markets held in two locations from 8 am till 12 pm twice every month.

  • Every 2nd Saturday – Butler Street (main street)
  • Every 4th Saturday – Lions Park, Bryant Street

Camping in Tully

Tully Gorge Camping & Day-use Area
Photo: Explore Oz

There are two great camping areas within the Tully Gorge National Park. Both can be found along Tully Gorge Road, which runs up into the forested mountain.

Tully Gorge Camping & Day-use Area

This campsite is situated alongside the Tully River, 42km northwest of Tully. On offer are large, open, grassy camping areas with hard pads available (handy for wet weather).

⛺️ Tents, Campers, Caravans & Motorhomes
♨️ Wood BBQs (BYO wood)
🔥 Camp fires allowed
🪑 Picnic tables
🚿 Cold shower
🚻 Compostable toilets (wheelchair access)
⚡️ Generators < 65dB(A) permitted from 9am – 12noon
🦩 Cassowaries (do not feed, lock away rubbish & food)
🐊 Estuarine crocodiles
❌ NO: drinking water, pets, mobile phone reception

Tully Gorge Camping Area
Vehicle Access2WD (sealed road all the way)
Camping Suitability• Tents
• Campers
• Caravans
• Motorhomes
• Estuarine crocodiles
• Water dam releases

Cochable Creek Camping Area

The Cochable Creek camping area is the main trailhead for the Koolmoon Creek and Cannabullen Creek walking tracks.

⛺️ Tents & Camper Trailers
🪑 Sheltered picnic tables
🚻 Hybrid toilet
⚡️ Generators < 65dB(A) permitted from 8am – 7pm
🦩 Cassowaries (do not feed, lock away rubbish & food)
🐊 Estuarine crocodiles
❌ NO: open fires, drinking water, mobile phone reception, pets

Cochable Creek Camping Area
Vehicle Access4WD only
Camping Suitability• Tents
• Camper Trailers
Notes• Campsite is a 50m walk from the car park
• Camper Trailers can camp in the car park
Aus Line Break

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