Inland 26 kms from Mission Beach lies Tully, which has a reputation for being the wettest place in Australia with an average rainfall of 4.27 metres. Lush with rainforests and turbulent waterways, the area offers visitors excellent opportunities for white water rafting and tropical rainforest bush walking.
Tully was first settled by Europeans in the early 1870’s when they arrived in the area to grow sugar cane and raise cattle. The settlement really didn’t grow until the Queensland government decided to build a mill in Tully, which when completed in 1925 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 to Cairns and Townsville.
Today, Tully is one of the main sugar growing regions of Queensland with more than 22,000 ha of sugar cane extending south from the Kennedy Valley to Feluga in the north. During harvest season from June to November, the Tully Mill employs close to 220 full time staff and 80 seasonal staff. Another major industry in the district is bananas, with about 5,000 ha of land in the area devoted to the crop. It is, in fact, the largest local and regional employer with many seasonal positions filled by young people on working holidays. About 8.5 million cartons or $200 million are exported out of the district each year.
Tully has added it’s own icon to the list of Australia’s biggest things – it takes the form of a giant gumboot! The height of the gumboot is 7.9 metres, the record amount of rain Tully received in 1950. Inside the gumboot is a spiral staircase leading to a viewing platform with views of the main street and the sugar mill.