CHILLAGOE & PETFORD
Easily accessed by conventional vehicles via the Wheelbarrow Way, Chillagoe is a genuine outback town with fascinating attractions and abundant wildlife. Starting at Mareeba, the Wheelbarrow Way was named after the gold mining pioneers who, when work was scarce and transportation limited, trudged out bearing their worldly goods in a wheelbarrow. An annual footrace with wheelbarrows commemorates this along The Way each May and raises money for charity. Dimbulah, the gateway to the gold fields, sprang up on the Walsh River to service the ore trains. Once mining faded, cropping became the focus and today sugar cane, mango and lychee plantations can be seen. Almaden, Petford and Emuford are all linked by the Etheridge railway line, which welcomes the Savannahlander train on its weekly run from Cairns via Almaden and Mt Surprise to Forsayth. Petford, the junction of the road from Herberton, was originally called Wadetown and known widely as a watering hole for the miners of the day. Climb the range to the remains of the 100-year old Lappa Pub, another famed stopover of old. On entering the Chillagoe region, a dramatic landscape created by massive limestone bluffs and rock formations greets travellers.
HISTORY After the gold rush in the
1880s, Chillagoe’s population grew to thousands in a new mining boom. However, the much-anticipated mother lode of copper did not materialise and the State Government took control of the smelter until production ceased in 1943. The ore smelter was never reused and can now be viewed from a high vantage point that also features interpretive storyboards. This is Chillagoe’s landmark that can be seen from a great distance.
CHILLAGOEMUNGANA CAVES NATIONAL PARK
Explore an exciting underground world of vast chambers, eerie narrow passages, dripping stalactites and stunning limestone cave ‘decorations’. When you join a park ranger-guided cave tour, the natural beauty of the caves will leave you spellbound. Your caving experience will be enhanced by new state-ofthe-art LED lighting systems and elevated walkways that allow you to see intricate detail as well as sense the awesome ‘big picture’ of Chillagoe’s limestone cave systems. Learn about how the caves and Chillagoe’s distinctive landscape were formed over hundreds of millions of years. After your cave tour, discover the area’s colourful mining heritage with a visit to the historic Chillagoe Smelters. Enjoy views over these fascinating ruins and catch a magnificent outback sunset.
TOURS Billy Tea Safaris offer a
fully inclusive one-day Chillagoe and outback day tour, so why not let someone else do the driving, so you can take in all the history?
SWIMMING The Chillagoe Weir is a
great swimming hole with plenty of shade and picnic tables. It is only a few minutes drive from the town centre (the turn off is on the road to the airport).
DID YOU KNOW?
About 400 million years ago Chillagoe was the site of a shallow sea with thriving coral reefs. Over time, the limestone formed by those ancient reefs has been folded, stretched, heated and weathered to form the jagged glittering limestone bluffs and underground caves that characterise today’s remarkable landscape.
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