Drive south from Cairns for a spectacular introduction to the Wet Tropics of North Queensland. At Gordonvale you cross the Mulgrave River with Walsh's Pyramid (922m or 3025') on your right.
The drive down the Mulgrave River valley between the Bellenden Ker range (1593m or 5226') on your right and the coastal range on your left is unlike any other drive in Australia. The predominant colour is green. The valley is wet and warm - ideal for the fields of sugar cane that fill the valley. Creeks flow all the year round here and there are many tumbling down the steep jungle slopes of Bellenden Ker. Babinda competes with Tully for the highest Australian rainfall for the year - the annual average is around 4m.
Babinda is a classic sugar cane town with a huge sugar mill to process the cane. It was closed and pulled down a year or two ago but for many years the plume of steam and smoke from the tall chimney stack was a feature of the landscape.
Drive up the main street and on to The Boulders picnic area. The main pool is right beside the tables and BBQs and is well shaded by the rainforest trees. It is ideal for kids. There are plenty of shallow areas and the swimming is safe.
Take the Devil's Pool walk downstream. It is well named. The Boulders are huge lumps of granite which have been worn smooth over thousands of years of rushing wet season floodwater. Do not walk on the rocks - they are very slippery with algae and it is easy to fall. Too many visitors have slipped and fallen into the shute. Few survive. The 15 minute walk through the rainforest to the three lookouts is easy and worthwhile.