Burdekin Shire North Queensland
Just one hour’s drive south of Townsville is the Burdekin Shire – sugar capital of Australia, fishing mecca, bird watching paradise and traditional homeland of the Gudjda Aboriginal people.
The district is made up of the neighbouring towns of Ayr and Home Hill and includes over a dozen other smaller centres. It is as famous for its rich, flat farmlands as it is for its amazing waterways and scenic beauty. The Burdekin maintains a healthy reputation for its friendly residents, great specialty stores and laid back lifestyle.
As producer of the biggest and sweetest sugar cane in the country, the Burdekin is also one of the only cane growing regions left in Australia where cane is burnt before harvest. These magnificent cane fires light up the skies every evening between June and December and have become a tourist attraction in their own right.
Fantastic fishing is on offer in the estuaries and waterways of the fertile Burdekin Delta. Fishing tours are available to catch barramundi, mud crabs, prawns, mangrove jack and a host of other estuary species.
The Burdekin River Bridge, which links Ayr and Home Hill, is the district’s best known landmark. Known as the Silver Link, the 1,103m crossing is the only bridge in Australia built without a solid footing and is longer than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. An Engineering Heritage National Landmark Award was unveiled on the southern side of the Bridge in 2010.
The S.S. Yongala shipwreck lies just off the coast of Ayr and is ranked one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. This is a must do for experienced divers. Yongala Dive, based at Alva Beach, is the fastest way to get to the site and discover the magnificent marine life that calls the wreck home.
The Burdekin’s magnificent wetlands are home to an amazing array of bird life, some unique to the area. Bird watchers shouldn’t miss the chance to visit Plantation Park or Horseshoe Lagoon.