We moved  84 kms south from Cairns to Innisfail as this is a good central location to explore interesting local spots. Our last visit here was shortly after Cyclone Larry in 2006, which had a devastating impact on the town and the the many crops grown in this region – you may remember when bananas surged to $9 a kilo! Our other memory is of our (now) Governor-General Peter Cosgrove getting the Australian Defence Force right behind the local people to help rebuild their lives after the cyclone.
Courthouse Innisfail Innisfail street scene 1 Art Deco 4 Art Deco 3
Now in every direction are rows of sugarcane, bananas, pineapples, papayas – plus there is now a tea plantation and a pepper farm (the only one in Australia apparently). It is a lovely town to stay in with several Art Deco buildings and a diverse mix of cultures resulting from immigrant cane cutters settling here many years ago.
Innisfail site 1 Innisfail site 2
Our van site overlooking the South Johnstone River in the River Drive Van Park is beautiful… although you always have to beware of crocs. It’s kind of sad that you are unable to swim at local beaches due to crocs, stingers or sharks – or a combination of all three. Some beaches have nets or lines, but we heard that a croc got inside one of the stinger nets … now THAT is perseverance!
There are many small towns dotted along this coast, all with a mix of posh and/or beach homes, a school, and a few resident characters (human or animal). First stop was Flying Fish Point to join the merry throng in the queue for fish and chips at the beachfront cafe – hard to beat on a sunny day overlooking the Coral Sea!
Another interesting stop was Etty Beach, a small settlement that bans dogs completely in order to protect a small group of cassowaries living there. These tall birds have several similarities to emus including Dad being the responsible parent. However they don’t sit on their eggs but add vegetation to the nest to maintain a constant warm temperature until the chicks hatch. This Southern Cassowary started with 3 – one was run over by a car, and one has ‘disappeared’. This left this big brown chick who will soon develop the beautiful adult blue throat colouring and red wattles. It was rather lovely to see them wandering up and down the beach, quite oblivious to all us silly humans trying to take photos of them.
Cassowary & chick 1 Cassowary & chick 2 Cassowary & chick 4
Our favourite haunt here is Oliveri’s continental deli which would put many big city shops to shame. The shop started in the 1930s, selling all those homesick European migrant workers their favourite foods in this tiny narrow building. Now it has huge long counters and cabinets of beautiful Italian meats, a wonderful range of cheeses and their own marinated olives – plus they also make delicious lunch rolls and coffee…. and they are starting to treat us like locals!

4 thoughts on “Innisfail

  1. Amanda Kendle

    Looks like a gorgeous area! I well remember that explosion in banana prices, it was when my son was just starting to eat solids and bananas were his #1 favourite food – it was terribly expensive for us!!
    Cassowaries are amazing – we always went to see the baby ones at the Perth Zoo (but they were sent over to an animal park somewhere on the east coast, I forget where).

  2. Joan Wood

    Hi Ian and Ginny,

    Love reading about your adventures and your photos are truly amazing. Thinking of you both. Stay safe and keep having a wonderful time. You both deserve it.

    Lots of love.
    Joan xxx

  3. Kathleen Holt

    Hi Ginny and Ian,
    I love looking through your blog….Ian your photos are just wonderful… is like reading a glossy travel guide.
    So wonderful to hear that you are loving this beautiful country of ours….we really are the lucky ones!
    Enjoy and we will speak soon…have fun with Steve Parish!
    Kathy and Ray
    xoxo 🙂

  4. Daphne Titus-Rees

    Hi Ginny and Ian,

    I found your wonderful blog while Googling for images of Cassowaries – I really love the bottom one of the Cassowary and chick on the beach and wondered if you would consider giving me permission to use it on a tourism website? I am project-managing a new website for Destination Daintree (the Daintree Marketing Co-operative) and although I have lots of Cassowary images it’s amazingly hard to find a really ‘wow’ one!

    If you agree, would you have a high resolution copy you could email to me? We would of course ‘credit’ you on our page of contributors to the website.

    This is our current site but we’re aiming for the new one to be much more impressive!!!

    Happy travels!

    Kind regards



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *