A sugar town which receives the highest rainfall of any town in Australia (it has an annual average rainfall of 4.27 metres and holds the record for the highest annual rainfall in a populated area of Australia, with 7.9 metres in 1950). Tully is situated at the foot of Mt. Tyson. Tully’s Golden Gumboot is 7.9 metres tall, representing the highest rainfall in any Australian town. The record was set in 1950.
Location: 1,557 km north of Brisbane on the Bruce Highway
Places of interest: localities of Silky Oak, Lower Tully, Euramo; Tully River; Tully Falls; Tully Heads; Hull Heads; Mission Beach; Clump Point; Bingil Bay; Kareeya Gorge; Murray Falls; Mt. Tyson; Tully Gorge Alock State Forest; Hull River National Park; Hull River Wetlands Orchid Forest; Cardstone Village; Cardstone Weir (40 km); Golden Gumboot; Tully Sugar Mill
The Tully Heritage Trail is a series of 20 story boards located around the town area. The first story board is located in front of the Tully Visitor & Heritage Centre where you can collect a map of the trail.
The Tully Sugar Mill was built in the 1920 s to service the developing sugar cane industry. Today the mill is a major employer in Tully and also provides limited additional seasonal work during the harvesting season. Tully Sugar Ltd processes around 2 million tonnes of cane per year but climatic conditions have a significant impact on this figure. During the cane crushing season from June to November, guided tours are conducted through the mill. Tours need to be booked at the Tully Visitor & Heritage Centre, Bruce Highway Tully. Phone (07) 4068 2288.
Brief History: The Tully area was first settled in the early 1870s when James Tyson’s nephews tried to grow sugar as well as raise cattle. It was not until 1924, when the government decided to build a sugar mill in the area, that the settlement began to grow. The mill was completed in 1925 the same year that the town was formally gazetted. At the time it was the largest mill in Australia. In 1935 the Tully River was dammed for hydro-electricity and it is now a major supplier of electricity for both Cairns and Townsville.
Origin of Name: in 1872 the river running through the area was named after William Alcock Tully, the Under-Secretary for Public Lands and Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands in Queensland at the time. Originally known as Banyan, the town was surveyed in 1883.
On the Bruce Highway between the towns of Cardwell and Tully is the turnoff to the town of Jumgun and Girramay National Park. Here the rainforest-clad mountains meet tropical lowlands in the scenic foothills of the Kirrama Range, and the clear waters of the Murray River cascade over boulders into rock pools. Murray Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls in north Queensland, with spectacular water-sculpted rocks and crystal clear pools. The day-use area is a great location for a picnic. The falls can be viewed from the boardwalk and viewing platform. For the more adventurous, a walking track through the rainforest will take you to a lookout, with views of the falls and the Murray Valley. Camping is permitted at Murray Falls, Girramay National Park. Permits are required and fees apply. Murray Falls is 41km north-west of Cardwell or 36km south-west of Tully.
Tully Gorge National Park is 35km west of Tully along the Tully Gorge Road, which is sealed and accessible by conventional vehicles. It is a pleasant drive through agricultural land before entering the rainforest of the national park. The road ends at the Kareeya hydro-power station and there is no road access to the Tully Falls (this access is via Ravenshoe). To reach the National Park from Tully, turn off the Bruce Highway onto Dean Road, 1.4 km south of Tully. Travel 46 km to the park Dean Road becomes Jarra Creek and then Cardstone roads. The camping and day-use areas are a further 7 km.
The Tully River plunges from Koombooloomba Dam through a narrow, densely forested gorge. This is one of the wettest areas in Australia and the river, which has Grade 3-4 rapids, is one of the best white water rafting spots in Australia. A national park camp ground, 43km from Tully is situated next to the Tully River and it also includes a short butterfly walk.
Alligators Nest: This picturesque picnic area with a cool fresh water swimming hole is nestled within World Heritage rainforest and is part of Tully Gorge National Park. The swimming hole is 7km from Tully and amenities include a sheltered picnic area with a barbecue, toilets and a carpark. It s a favourite spot for Tully locals. Camping is not permitted Alligators Nest is a day use only area.
Mount Tyson walking track: Mt Tyson is situated to the west of Tully and overlooks the town. The summit is 640 metres high with Scout Rock at 570m providing a lookout over Tully and the surrounding district. There is a walking track to Scouts Rock and the summit that takes 2-3 hours return. The track starts at the end of Brannigan Street next to a large water tank. It is a reasonably strenuous walk but on a clear day the views from Scout Rock make the effort worthwhile. Walkers are advised to register their climb on a board at the 5 Star Supermarket (corner of Butler and Bryant Streets) and to remove their name upon return. The board is checked at 6pm to ensure that all walkers have returned.
Tully Heads is situated at the mouth of the Tully River just 21kms from Tully. Googarra Beach runs between the Tully River and the Hull River, giving beautiful views of the Family Group of Islands and Hinchinbrook Island. The township has a caravan park and tavern as well as a picnic area along the esplanade with a children’s playground.
Just 3kms from Tully Heads is the beachside village of Hull Heads. With access to estuary and reef fishing from an all weather boat ramp and pontoon, Hull Heads is a well known spot for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Tully Coastguard operates from the mouth of the river and the adjacent Hull Heads Camping Ground is a popular stop-over for campers.