RAVENSHOE to MOUNT GARNET
Also known as the Cairns Highlands, this area boasts prolific birdlife, wildlife and a range of attractions that cannot be found anywhere else in Tropical North Queensland. From Ravenshoe to Mount Garnet, the region is dotted with tiny settlements the visitor will find very appealling and extremely interesting.
FOR ALL THE BEST LOCAL ATTRACTIONS, ACCOMMODATION AND DINING AREAS IN THIS REGION, USE THE LINKS ABOVE OR SCROLL DOWN. TO OPEN AN INTERACTIVE MAP OF THE ATHERTON TABLELANDS IN A SEPARATE SMALLER WINDOW, CLICK HERE.
RAVENSHOERavenshoe, at 930 metres above sea level, is the highest town in Queensland, beating Herberton by just 15 metres! The town nestles in a region of mountain pastures and lush World Heritage listed rainforest. The road north of the town, leading to Herberton, is the highest declared road in Queensland at 1,143 metres. Ravenshoe is at the crossroads of the Atherton Tablelands and the Savannah lands of the Northern Outback, and is a significant stopover for travellers, either passing through by road or hiking the Misty Mountain Trails.
If driving from Millaa Millaa, you will have a hard time not noticing the massive wind generators about five kilometres before you reach Ravenshoe. There are over twenty of them, each 46 metres high, with blades 22 metres long. As you drive over the rolling hills, it is a spectacular sight to behold and has become a popular tourist attraction. The windmills were built to provide the district with an alternate, environmentally friendly power supply. The site is located on (of course) Windy Hill, and in fact, the huge amount of power generated by the 'wind farm' not only supplies local residents, but the excess is sold to electricty companies to earn income for the town. Trivia buffs among you may be interested to know that on a particularly windy day, the blades can spin at almost 100 metres per second at the tips.
Unlike other towns in the area, Ravenshoe's history was not based around mining, but forestry. In 1881, at about the same time as other regions of the Atherton Tablelands were being explored for their precious deposits of gold and tin, vast stands of cedar were discovered around what is now Ravenshoe. The first sawmill was built in 1899 but the town remained relatively undeveloped until the railway was extended from the coast to nearby Millaa Millaa in 1910. Bullock teams could then be used to haul the high quality rainforest timbers from Ravensoe sawmills to the railhead, bound for markets around Australia and overseas.
The area continued to rely on timber for its survival for 70 years, and it was understandable that the locals protested when the government nominated almost a million hectares of rainforest around Ravenshoe for World Heritage Listing in 1987. Almost 20 percent of this area had previously been designated for timber production. Initial fears were that Ravenshoe would decline in the same way as so many mining towns had, once their precious deposits were exhausted. But the town has managed to reinvent itself, and the older buildings have been well maintained, with attractive gardens. Ravenshoe now has a reputation for attracting creative, artistic residents, and there are many interesting craft shops in the town, along with a high quality art gallery. And the good news is that the pristine Ravenshoe forests have been preserved as a unique attraction for visitors.
The forests are popular with bushwalkers and birdwatchers, and there are a number of great walking tracks signed. To the south of Ravenshoe, 25 kilometres along an unsealed road, you will find a magnificent view of Tully Gorge, and the impressive 293 metre Tully Falls. Along the Kennedy Highway which leads to Mount Garnet, are the Millstream Falls, a spectacular sight especially during the wet season, when it becomes the widest waterfall in Australia. A great spot for a refreshing swim.
SERVICES: Ravenshoe has a petrol station, two supermarkets, two hotels, a bakery, and a range of cafes and restaurants. There is a medical centre, a police station, a post office, and ATM services are avilable at both of the supermarkets. Accommodation is readily available in Ravenshoe and includes bed and breakfasts, holiday cottages, motels, a caravan park and a hotel.
On the way to Mount Garnet, you will come across Innot Hot Springs, at the edge of the Northern Outback. The village is set on Nettle Creek, and legend has it that the water from the source of the natural mineral springs have beneficial effects on the weary traveller. In fact, during the 1800's, the mineral water was bottled and sent to Europe for use in medicinal purposes. Mules hauled the water over the Cardwell Range all the way to Townsville, where it was bottled at the Innot Cordial Factory.
Hot Spring Village offers visitors seven different pools, each of them with different temperatures, and several other spas to benefit from the healthy properties of the hot springs.
MOUNT GARNETMount Garnet is an old mining town, initially relying on its deposits of copper. After just a few years, the world copper price plummeted, and the mining company pulled out of Mount Garnet. But the miners stayed, and built a thriving industry excavating tin.
These days, attention has turned to zinc and silica, which are extracted just outside the town. The area around Mount Garnet is still renowned as a worthwhile location for gold prospectors and gem collectors. The town is a good base to explore the Mount Gibson topaz fossicking area, five kilometres northwest of Innot Hot Springs. Don't forget a fossicking licence is required. Licences can be obtained at the Mobil Store/Hot Springs Health Waters, in Innot Hot Springs.
The Wurruma Swamp, just east of Mount Garnet, is one of the wonders of the area, and is a favourite with birdwatchers. At certain times of the year the swamp is home to literally thousands of black swans.
SERVICES: Mount Garnet has a supermarket, newsagent, chemist, banking facilities, two fuel outlets, hotel, roadhouse, motel and small shops, as well as police and an ambulance service.
Continuing west from Mount Garnet for approximately 1.5 hours, the Kennedy Highway will bring you to the amazing Undara Lava tubes, near Mount Surprise. This is truly one of the region's prehistoric treasures, the largest and longest lava tube system on the planet, with a lava field that extended up to 160 kilometres from the crater. For more details of that spectacular destination, please visit our Cairns Unlimited UNDARA page.
CAPELLA STEAM TRAIN
Ravenshoe Railway, Ravenshoe (MAP)
NO LONGER OPERATING
History buffs, train enthusiasts and kids of all ages will enjoy an outing on Ravenshoe's 'Capella', a 1925 vintage steam locomotive. Every Sunday at 1:30pm, this historic steam train leaves Ravenshoe station, pulling its original carriages through open bushland and across trestle bridges to the little siding of Tumoulin, at 960 metres above sea level, the highest railway station in Queensland. The train makes its way back to Ravenshoe at around 3.30pm.
24 Moore Street, Phone / Fax (07) 4097 7700.
The Ravenshoe Visitors centre and Nganyaji Interpretive Centre provide a valuable insight into the pre and post European history of the area. The Nganyaji (meaning 'all of us together') Centre showcases the traditional lifestyle of the local Jirrbal tribe, featuring displays of their rainforest villages, hunting and gathering practices, community life and culture. Entry is free.
The 'Windy Hill' windfarm provides a clean energy solution to 3500 homes in the region, and the 40 metre high windmills make for quite a sight against the backdrop of rolling green hills. Wind Hill, located around three kilometres from Ravenshoe, is Queensland's largest wind farm, with 20 windmill working at all times. Windy Hill has a free public viewing area and carpark.
Besides the popular Millstream Falls and Tully Falls, which belong to the popular Waterfall Circuit, visitors will also enjoy:
LITTLE MILLSTREAM FALLS
Little Millstream Falls are a delightful series of falls cascading into a small lagoon. Approx half hour walk each way. From Ravenshoe, go to Tully Falls Road, turn onto Wooroora Road 1.25 kilometers on the right.
To get to Pepina Falls just follow signs from Old Palmerston Highway between Ravenshoe and Millaa Millaa. They are a good spot to see a platypus, mostly early morning and late afternoon.
To get to Souita Falls, from Old Palmerston Highway Ravenshoe to Millaa Millaa turn onto Middlebrook Road. The falls are fantastic for birdwatching and platypus spotting in the pool at the base of the falls.
At the end of Tully falls Road is Lake Koombooloomba, a hydro-electric water storage facilities which doubles as a recreational area for fishing and watersports. There is good barramundi fishing in the dam all year, and you can camp, swim and fish in the peace and quiet of the forest.
FORTY MILE SCRUB NATIONAL PARK
This is one of the few inland dry rainforest remnants in north Queensland. Camping is not permitted, but it's a pleasant spot for a picnic or a short walk. Toilet facilities and sheltered picnic tables are provided in the day use area beside the Kennedy Highway. For more information about this park, please visit our TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND'S NATIONAL PARKS page.
UNDARA VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK
The Undara Volcano is just one of over 160 volcanoes, vents and cones within the McBride volcanic province. Undara is significant because of the huge lava flow that formed the largest and longest lava tube system on the planet. The lava field extends 90 kilometres to the north and 160 kilometres to the north-west of the crater! Guided tours of the caves are available, and accommodation is in the nearby Lava Lodge, your choice of luxuriously renovated vintage railway carriages, on-site tents, or campsites. For more information about this park, please visit our UNDARA page.
MILLSTREAM FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Millstream Falls is reputedly Australia's widest single-drop waterfall. The park is an open forest of towering bloodwoods and stringybark trees, and is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Toilets, a shelter shed, picnic tables, wood barbecues and tank water are provided. Camping is not allowed in the park. For more information about this park, please visit our TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND'S NATIONAL PARKS page.
Ravenshoe. Phone (07) 4097 7408 / Fax (07) 4097 7408 / Mobile 0429 438 064
Wild Watch offers different kind of tours to suit everybody's tast. From birdwatching tours to sunset kagaroo spotting tours, Wild Watch has all the wildlife angles covered.
Among lots of events, this huge celebration for Ravenshoe includes 'Festival of the Forest', a renowned competitive exhibition of timber crafts and the multiple uses native timber, a festival that draws competitors and visitors from all over Australia. Other events included in this festival are the 'Torimba Market & Mardi Grass' and the 'Torimba Ball', with non-stop music from 7:00pm onwards. The ball takes place at the Town Hall and it is there where the Festival Queen will be crowned.
For more information about this and other events in Tropical North Queensland, please visit our TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND EVENTS CALENDAR
INNOT HOT SPRING HOTEL MOTEL
HOTEL TULLY FALLS
KOOL MOON MOTEL
CHILVERTON COTTAGES AND FINE DINING
POSSUM VALLEY RAINFOREST COTTAGES
HOT SPRINGS HEALTH WATERS
TALL TIMBERS MOTEL AND CARAVAN PARK
CHILVERTON COTTAGES AND FINE DINING
Public transport is quite limited throughout the region and it is generally recommended that visitors who do not have their own vehicle should hire a car. Why don't you let us sort out this for you and save yourself the hassle? Visit our CAR HIRE page and we will do all the hard work for you and get you the best deal on a rental car or campervan. After all, you are coming to Tropical North Queenland to relax, aren't you?
Trans North Coaches services the Atherton region, and connects the Tablelands with Cairns, operating a number of daily services on the Cairns - Kuranda - Mareeba - Atherton route. Connections are available with Kerry's Bus Service from Atherton to Ravenshoe and Herberton. There is no bus service to Mount Garnet. There are also connections with Chillagoe Bus Service along the Wheelbarrow Way to Chillagoe. In Mareeba, the Trans North agent is Mareeba News. Catch the bus at the Old Railway Station.
In Cairns, the route begins/ends at 46 Spence Street, but passengers can also also hail the bus at bus stops along Sheridan Street, or anywhere else along the route, provided it is safe for the driver to stop. Discounts range from 20% for tertiary students to 50% for pensioners and primary school children. Details of Trans North Coaches latest timetable and fares can be found on their website.
Ravenshoe has a taxi service. Phone 0428 976 233.
- MT. MOLLOY - JULATTEN
- MAREEBA - CHILLAGOE
- ATHERTON - LAKE TINAROO
- YUNGABURRA-CRATER LAKES
- MALANDA - MILLAA MILLAA
- RAVENSHOE - MT. GARNET
- HERBERTON - IRVINEBANK
In case of emergency only, dial 000. In all other cases, phone the local service for Ravenshoe:
Ambulance (07) 4097 6100 or 131233
Clinic (07) 4091 0244
Police (07) 4097 6200
EMERGENCY SERVICESIn case of emergency only, dial 000. In all other cases, phone the local service for Ravenshoe:
Ambulance (07) 4097 6100 or 131233
Clinic (07) 4091 0244
Police (07) 4097 6200