Just an hour to the north of Townsville the arid landscape that has predominated since Bundaberg transforms into dark green plateaus shrouded in cloud. There’s superlative scenery at Wallaman Falls, inland from Ingham, and also near Cairns as the slopes of the coastal mountains rise up to front the Bellenden Ker Range. Forests here once formed a continuous belt, and though logging has thinned them to a disjointed necklace of national parks, it still seems that almost every side-track off the highway leads to a waterhole or falls surrounded by jungle – this is where it really pays to have your own vehicle. There are also islands to explore, including the wilds of Hinchinbrook, as well as the Mission Beach area between Tully and Innisfail, where you might find regular work on fruit plantations or further opportunities to slump on the sand.

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