Etty Bay is a short side-trip from the highway between Townsville and Cairns. More specifically, it’s about 7 km from Mourilyan. It is a beautiful little bay, with rainforest right down to the sand.
It reminds me most strongly of Bingil Bay, at the northern end of Mission Beach, but it has a little more infrastructure. There’s a camping ground with the usual amenities including a shop, and a lifesaving club. That’s about all, but it’s all any reasonable person needs in such a beautiful place.
Townsville to Cairns is a 350-km trip I have done lots of times, nearly always breaking it along the way, and I have just added Etty Bay to a list of stopping points which includes Paradise Pool, Frosty Mango, Tyto wetlands, Jourama Falls, Cardwell (foreshore any time, or Attie Creek Falls if a longer break is possible) and The Boulders. None of these is more than a few minutes from the highway and any of them will happily fill half an hour or half a day – or more. I just don’t know why it took me so long to discover this one.