Ayr is a sizeable regional town in the centre of North Queensland's sugar cane belt.
Where is it?: Ayr 1287 km north of Brisbane; 88 km south-west of
Townsville on the Bruce Highway and 12km away from the smaller town of
Lookouts: The well preserved buildings of 211 Radar Station at
Charlie's Hill, near Home Hill, are listed in the Queensland Heritage
Register for their historical and military significance. The location
gives extensive views over the surrounding countryside.
Things to see and do:
A rich network of creeks and mangrove-lined estuaries make the area a
mecca for fishing and crabbing. The Burdekin is a known hot spot for
the prized fighting fish, the barramundi, as well as estuary species
such as mangrove jack and trevally. Nearby Alva Beach (24km north)
offers miles of unspoilt, sandy coastline and is a popular spot for
beach fishing, birdwatching and windsurfing. It is also a close
launching point for a dive tour to the world-famous dive wreck, the SS
The mountainous Magnetic Island, just offshore from Townsville in
Cleveland Bay, has long become established as a holiday destination
with many hotels and several resorts in operation to cater for all
levels of service. The locals like it so much it has effectively become
a suburb of Townsville, with 2,107 permanent residents, but don't let
that put you of from visiting, either for a day trip or longer.
Cape Bowling Green: Bowling Green Bay National Park (24km north) is the
region's largest coastal park. Its coastal plains are dramatically set
against a backdrop of rugged granite mountains rising abruptly in the
distance. In this section of the park, Alligator Creek flows between
two rocky mountain groups - Mount Elliot and Saddle Mountain.
Billabong Sanctuary and theme park (67 km north west) the sanctuary's
facilities include hands on exhibits for the children, a swimming pool,
conducted tours of the animals, nocturnal walks, and extensive picnic
and barbecue facilities. The Sanctuary is dedicated to effective
conservation of Australia's native animals through display,
interpretation and education. It also reproduces some of Australia's
major habitats; eucalyptus forest, rainforest and wetlands in a single
location. Location: Bruce Highway, Nome.
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Burdekin Shire produces the most sugar cane per square kilometre in
Australia utilising underground water supplies and water from the
Burdekin Dam to irrigate crops when rains fail. The Burdekin sits on a
vast natural aquifer which is artificially replenished with water from
the Burdekin River. The area boasts more than 300 days of sunshine each
year. Winter temperatures rarely drop below 11 degrees; a truly
The Burdekin River was explored in the 1840s but not settled by
Europeans until the 1860s and only then, in its upper reaches as the
coast was marshy. The lower Burdekin was settled in the 1870s by R. W.
Graham of Lilliesmere and A. C. Macmillan, who began growing sugar
cane. The settlement which grew on the north side of the river was Ayr.
The town was named around 1888 after the Scottish town of Ayr, the
birthplace of Sir Thomas McIlwraith (1835-1900), Queensland Premier
1879-83, 1888, 1893.