While a town trumpeted as the wettest in Australia might be expected to be of limited appeal to travellers famous for their love of glorious weather, Tully has long been a splash hit with grey nomads.
Located some 150 kilometres south of Cairns and surrounded by bananas, sugar cane plantations and rainforest, the Queensland community has enthusiastically embraced its soggy statistics.
The 7.9-metre high Golden Gumboot is a much-photographed commemoration of the record-breaking 790 centimetres of rain that fell here in 1950.
Despite a permanent population of just 3,000 or so, there is a good selection of shops, services and caravan parks to cater to the needs of travellers. And there is no shortage of things to do, either.
Visitors can walk through town following the 20 history boards of the Tully Heritage Trail, which highlight the important buildings and places including the Violet Smith Park, the art deco structures and, of course, the Golden Gumboot.
While the giant gumboot, complete with fibreglass green tree frog on the side, may be the piece de resistance, the nearby Hearts Full of Hope Statue is also worth a look, paying tribute to those pioneers, particularly the Italians, who established the district’s sugar and banana industries back in the 1930s.
Both sugar and bananas are still big here and the industries attract plenty of seasonal workers to town. A great way to get to grips with the sheer scale of the sugar business is take a tour of the Tully Sugar Mill available during the crushing season which runs from June to December.
The mill still processes about two million tonnes of cane each year. For an overview of the area, it’s hard to beat a climb up the 640-metre Mount Tyson to the west of the town. A return walk to the lookouts will take some three hours but will be rewarded with views of Tully, the coastline, and the cane fields and banana plantations.
After a pretty strenuous hike like that, it could be time to cool off at the Alligators Nest swimming hole just to the north of the town. The picnic area here is surrounded by rainforest which is home to a wildlife including eastern water dragons, chameleon geckos, and southern cassowaries. There are also great swimming opportunities at Tully Gorge in Tully Gorge National Park, 45 kilometres or so west of town along a sealed road.
For the daredevils, the Tully River also has a reputation as one of the best white-water rafting spots in Australia, with adrenaline-pumping rapids and stunning views of world heritage-listed rainforest. The famous Tully Falls are another headline act for the area, but they can only be seen by entering the Tully Gorge National Park via Ravenshoe.
The Tully River drops off the escarpment here creating a stunning spectacle. And, the beaches of Mission Beach and the coastal communities of Tully Heads and Hull Heads are also nearby.
It may get more than its fair share of rain but a trip to this magnificent part of the country most certainly won’t throw a wet blanket over your Big Lap adventure.