Bruce Highway turn-off / Innisfail (21km)
Innisfail is the largest town (pop. 9000) between Cairns and Townsville. It has a rich Italian heritage dating back to pre WW1 when many southern Italians emigrated to North Queensland to join the cane cutting gangs (link: http://www.innisfail.oz-e.com.au/hist.html ). Now their descendants own many of the cane farms and banana and papaya farms surrounding Innisfail.
Don't be surprised if you hear more Italian than English being spoken in the shops and cafes. The town is on the confluence of the North and South Johnstone Rivers. If you cross the N.Johnstone opposite the hospital, Flying Fish Point road will take you out to the mouth of the river. You will also pass the Johnstone River Crocodile Park on the left about 3km from the bridge. Follow the road through Flying Fish Point onto Ella Bay Road will take you to Ella Bay after about 3km. This beautiful beach runs for about 10km to Cooper Point through the Ella Bay national Park which is a gorgeous lowland wetland ringed by the coastal range.