Cassowary Coast

About the area

Key Statistics


The Cassowary Coast Regional Council area is located in Far North Queensland, about 90 kilometres south of the Cairns CBD and 260 kilometres north of the Townsville CBD. The Cassowary Coast Regional Council area is bounded by the Cairns Regional Council area in the north, the Coral Sea in the east, Hinchinbrook Shire in the south, and the Tablelands Regional Council area in the west.

Included Areas

The Cassowary Coast Regional Council area includes the localities of Bamboo Creek, Basilisk, Belvedere, Bilyana, Bingil Bay, Birkalla, Bombeeta, Boogan, Bulgun, Camp Creek, Cardstone, Cardwell, Carmoo, Carruchan, Coconuts, Comoon Loop, Cooroo Lands, Coorumba, Coquette Point, Cowley, Cowley Beach, Cowley Creek, Cullinane, Currajah, Damper Creek, Daradgee, Daveson, Dingo Pocket, Djarawong, Djiru, Dunk, East Feluga, East Innisfail, East Palmerston, Eaton, Ellerbeck, El Arish, Etty Bay, Eubenangee (part), Euramo, Feluga, Fitzgerald Creek, Flying Fish Point, Friday Pocket, Garners Beach, Garradunga, Germantown, Goolboo, Goondi, Goondi Bend, Goondi Hill, Granadilla, Gulngai, Hinchinbrook, Hudson, Hull Heads, Innisfail, Innisfail Estate, Jaffa, Japoonvale, Jarra Creek, Jubilee Heights, Kennedy, Kooroomool, Kurrimine Beach, Lower Cowley, Lower Tully, Lumholtz, Maadi, Mamu, Maria Creeks, Martyville, McCutcheon, Mena Creek, Merryburn, Midgenoo, Midgeree Bar, Mighell, Mission Beach, Moresby, Mount Mackay, Mourilyan, Mourilyan Harbour, Mundoo, Munro Plains, Murray Upper, Murrigal, Nerada, New Harbourline, Ngatjan (part), No 4 Branch, No 5 Branch, No 6 Branch, O'Briens Hill, Palmerston (part), Pin Gin Hill, Rockingham, Rungoo, Sandy Pocket, Shell Pocket, Silkwood, Silky Oak, South Innisfail, South Johnstone, South Mission Beach, Stockton, Stoters Hill, Sundown, Tam O'Shanter, Tully, Tully Heads, Upper Daradgee, Utchee Creek, Vasa Views, Walter Hill, Walter Lever Estate, Wangan, Wanjuru, Warrami, Warrubullen, Webb, Wongaling Beach and Wooroonooran (part).

Land Use

The Cassowary Coast Regional Council area includes significant areas of national park and state forest, rural areas and urban areas. The Council area encompasses a total land area of 4,700 square kilometres. The main township is Innisfail, with the next largest population centres being Tully, Cardwell and Mission Beach. Urban areas include residential, commercial, industrial, entertainment and tourist land uses. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, particularly sugar cane farming and banana growing, with some tropical fruit and vegetable growing, cattle grazing, timber production and fishing. Tourism is an important industry, with world-heritage rainforests, beaches, tropical islands, coastal ranges and numerous resorts.

Name Origin

Cassowary Coast Regional Council is named after the tall, flightless bird which inhabits parts of the region.

Indigenous Meaning

The original inhabitants of the Cassowary Coast area were the Bandjin, Djiru, Girramay, Gulnay, Jirrbal and Mamu Aboriginal people.


European settlement dates from the 1860s when the township of Cardwell was established as a port. Land was used largely for crop growing, grazing and timber production. Population growth took place from the late 1800s into the early 1900s, aided by growth in the sugar cane industry and the establishment of the townships of Innisfail and Tully. Expansion continued during the 1920s and 1930s when many Italian migrants settled in the area and the north coast railway line was opened. Significant development occurred from the post-war years, with the population of the Council area increasing from about 17,000 in 1947 to about 21,000 in 1961. Growth continued between the 1970s and mid 1990s, aided by tourism, with the population rising to about 23,000 in 1976, to about 26,000 in 1986, and then to about 30,000 in 1996. The population was relatively stable between 1996 and 2011, and then increased slightly to about 31,000 in 2016.

Major Features

Major features of the Council area include the Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, numerous National Parks (Barnard Island Group, Basilisk Range, Brook Islands, Clump Mountain, Djiru, Edmund Kennedy/Girramay, Ella Bay, Family Islands, Girringun, Goold Island, Hinchinbrook Island, Hull River, Japoon, Kurrimine Beach, Maria Creek, Moresby Range, Mount Mackay, Palmerston Rocks, Tully Gorge and Wooroonooran), Bedarra Island, Dunk Island, Hinchinbrook Island, various other islands, Blencoe Falls, Murray Falls, numerous beaches (including Cardwell, Cowley, Etty Bay, Flying Fish Point, Garners, Kurrimine, Mission, Narragon, South Mission, Tully Heads and Wongalong), various Regional Parks (Carello Palm Swamp, Etty Bay Road, Meingan Creek, Walter Hill Range, Warrina and Warrubullen), several Conservation Parks (Djilgarin, Jalum and Kurrimine Beach), the Tully River, Warrina Lakes, Alligators Nest Picnic Area, Mamu Ranforest Canopy Walkway, South Johnstone Sugar Mill, Tully Sugar Mill, Cardwell Bush Telegraph Centre, Australian Sugar Heritage Centre, Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, El Arish History Station, Murdering Point Winery, Golden Gumboot, Charley’s Chocolate Factory, Mission Beach Skydiving, Tully River White Water Rafting, Anzac Memorial Park, Paronella Park, Warrina Lakes Park, Cowley Beach Military Training Area, TAFE Queensland North (Innisfail Campus), Innisfail Hospital, Tully Hospital, Cardwell Country Club, Innisfail Golf Club, Tully Country Club, various state forests and Cardwell Forest Drive.


The Cassowary Coast Regional Council area is served by the Bruce Highway, the Palmerston Highway, Mourilyan Harbour, Dallachy Aerodrome, Mundoo Aerodrome, Tully Aerodrome and the North Coast railway line.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council

economic profile