Suggested Tours

3/4 Nights 4/5 Days

The Wheelbarrow Way encompasses some of the richest and most important history of our national heritage. It is the saga of true-blue Australiana. It is also a drive through an ancient landscape, with spectacular formations and beautiful caves

Day 1
Depart from Cairns/Port Douglas. Drive via Mareeba and Dimbulah to Mt. Mulligan and Tyrconnell Historic Gold Mine
Attractions: Near Dimbulah: Impressive Mt. Mulligan with its significant geology and tragic history:
Historic Gold Mine: Gold Panning:
A guided walk at dusk through a Pioneer Cemetery. Overnight in a luxury cottage. Camping facilities available.

Day 2
Continue along Wheelbarrow Way to Petford. Drop in at the old store, and meet Living Legend authoress, Doreen McGrath.
Continue on route to Chillagoe
Attractions:World famous caves: historic smelter site: marble quarries: Aboriginal culture: Time-line at The Hub.
Overnight accommodation or camping.

Day 3
Return to Petford. Turn right to Emuford. Inspect one of the oldest mining batteries in Australia, restored vintage vehicles and horse drawn carriages. From Emuford the road meanders up to the quaint village of Irvinebank, set in rugged mountainous terrain. It was from here that Scottish entrepreneur – John Moffat – ruled over his vast outback empire.

Loudoun House Museum, the 115Year old home of John Moffat:
Heritage Walk: Vulcan Mine: Scenic drive to Lookout at Mt Misery.
Overnight and dine at the Irvinebank Tavern.
Free camping available.

Day 4
Route continues to historic Herberton.
Experience a Day Walk and picnic in the Herberton hills, with Wilderness Expeditions.
Also, talk to the Visitor’s Centre about other Heritage Walks and attractions. Overnight,
or circuit through the green tableland, before descending into Mareeba and the brown country. A side trip to the Hau Wang Temple in Atherton, is recommended. Bird watchers, check separate listing.

5 nights 6 days

The Prehistoric Way features geological wonders from the 2000 million year old part of the ancient Australian continent, down to the relative recent time of only 10,000 years ago. The evidence is all there to explore!
Fossils from an early coral reef, when life was beginning to flourish in the oceans, long before it moved on to the land; limestone bluffs, the remnants of that early coral reef; spectacular caves, probably home to the largest number of cave dwellers in the world, and suggested home to many more yet to be discovered. Marine fossils from the age of the great dinosaurs, and the giant marsupials from the era Australia became an island continent. Lave Tubes. Hot Springs. Volcanic Craters and Crater Lakes.

Visit 190,000 year old Undara Lava Tubes, the longest system in the world. Follow signage along Ootan Road to link with the Wheelbarrow Way, just outside of Almaden. Stop in at the Railway Hotel for a cold drink, a home-made pie and a chat. Continue along Wheelbarrow Way to Chillagoe, which boasts that its history goes back over 2000 million years. Overnight.

Suggested Tours: World famous caves: Aboriginal Culture: Fossils from 3 geological ages: old cemeteries: geological attractions: Museum: Time-line at The Hub:
Old Smelter Reserve. overnight.

Depart for Mareeba via Petford and Dimbulah. Optional side trip at Petford, to Emuford Battery. At Dimbulah, follow signage to Tyrconnell Gold Mine. View the stunning escarpment of Mt Mulligan and experience gold panning, mine tour and cemetery walk at dusk. Overnight.

Rejoin Wheelbarrow Way and follow route to Mareeba.
Optional side trip to: Xanthin Australian Trees, the Coffee Works, Mareeba Heritage Centre, Beck’s Museum, Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetlands Reserve.
Overnight. Suggest farm stay or at Jabiru Camp at the Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetlands Reserve.

Depart for the green Tablelands. Visit Atherton Tableland Information Centre. Self drive the volcano route – Mt Hypipamee National Park, Crater Lakes, Seven Sisters etc
Overnight. Exit on desired route.


Day 1
Start from Cairns. Drive to Yungaburra, stopping off at Cathedral Fig Tree and Lake Barrine. Overnight Yungaburra.

Day 2
Visit Lake Eacham, Curtain Fig, Lake Tinaroo and other features. Leave Yungaburra for Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetlands Reserve, stopping off en route at Hastie’s Swamp, Atherton. Overnight at Jabiru Camp in the Mareeba Wetlands.

Day 3
Leave Mareeba for Kingfisher Park, Julatten, stopping off at Big Mitchell Creek, Lake Mitchell and Mt Molloy.
Overnight Kingfisher Park.

Day 4
From Kingfisher Park drive early morning to Mt. Lewis. Afternoon, visit Mary Farms and Mt Carbine. Overnight Mt Carbine Village & Caravan Park.Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetlands Reserve etc

Day 5
Depart for Port Douglas via the Rainforest Habitat to Breakfast with the Birds, then to Cairns. Visit Botanical Gardens and Centenary Lakes, with possible visit to Cairns Crocodile Farm.

Day 6
From Cairns, take a boat trip to Michaelmas Cay. Overnight Cairns.


Day 1
Visit Cairns Esplanade, Cairns Botanical Gardens, Centennary Lakes, Pioneer Cemetery. Travel to Daintree Township from Cairns. Overnight stay at Red Mill House

Day 2
From Red Mill House, go out on Chris Dahlberg’s Specialized 6:30am early morning River Tour. Travel to Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge in Julatten. Birds around grounds and surrounding areas.

Day 3
From Kingfisher Park visit Mt. Lewis in the morning., then after lunch, Mt. Molloy and Mt Carbine for the Bustards and dry land species.
Overnight Kingfisher Park.

Day 4
From Kingfisher Lodge, travel to Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve, stopping at Lake Mitchell, Big Mitchell Creek, , stopping at Lake Mitchell, Big Mitchell Creek.
Overnight at Jabiru Camp in the Mareeba Wetlands.

Day 6
Visit Hastie’s Swamp, Atherton, then on to Yungaburra, Lake Barrine, Lake Eacham, Curtain Fig Tree, and Lake Tinaroo. Overnight stay at Yungaburra.

Day 7
Return to Cairns.

Please note, every effort has been made to ensure all information was correct at time of publications.

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On the 3rd September 1873 at Georgetown, North Queensland, a hand written notice was nailed to the bark wall of the Mining Warden’s office.

“J V Mulligan reports the discovery of payable gold on the Palmer River. Those interested may inspect at this office the IO2oz he has brought back. ”

The rush was on, and the pastoralists followed. The development of Far North Queensland had begun.
Men from countries around the world toiled in an incredibly hot, hostile environment. Their mode of transport was basic. When work became scarce, or it was time to move on, they walked. Irvinebank to Chillagoe, Chillagoe to the Hodgkinson gold fields, or over the wild ranges to Mt Molloy.
“Dad pushed a wheelbarrow in which were stacked all their belongings. A few pieces of iron, which would be used as shelter; maybe some hessian. A spade, a lantern, a few kitchen things and very little else. Mum and the children walked behind. Mum, usually with a babe in arms. ”
(Quote from old-timer Mr. Peel)
It is as a tribute to these pioneers, who trudged the dusty tracks, that this route has been named The Wheelbarrow Way. With little more than determination, they carved out a future and opened up the vast uncharted territory, just back o’ Cairns ……….the Cairns Outback


Southern Cassowary
Great- billed Heron
Square-tailed Kite
Grey Goshawk
Red-necked Crake
Bush Hen
Australian Bustard
Squatter Pidgeon
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
Double-eyed Fig Parrot
Red-winged Parrot
Pale-headed Rosella
Rufus Owl
Lesser Sooty Owl
Papuan Frogmouth
Bluff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher
Noisy Pitta
Lovely Fairy Wren
Fern Wren
Atherton Scrub Wren
Mountain Thornbill
Graceful Honeyeater
Bridled Honeyeater
White-browed Robin
Grey Whistler
Bower’s Shrike Thrush
Yellow-breasted Boatbill
White-eared Monarch
Pied Monarch
Barred Cuckoo-Shrike
Victoria’s Riflebird
Spotted Catbird
Tooth-billed Bowerbird
Golden Bowerbird
Great Bowerbird
Black-throated Finch
Blue-faced Finch