Croydon is the eastern terminus of the 'Gulflander' railway, also known as the 'old tin hare', which runs the 150 kilometre route from Normanton. The railway was completed in 1891, even utilizing specially designed metal sleepers, which allowed the train to travel immediately after major flood waters had passed. But Croydon's glory days lasted for only twenty years, before the goldfields were all but exhausted. Visitors to Croydon today may find this colourful history difficult to imagine. In its day, the town had its own aerated water factories, gas lamps lighting the streets, two foundries, coachbuilders and town criers. Today, the population of Croydon is just over 300.
And the Gulflander railway hasn't shown a profit since 1907!
The legacy of Croydon's bygone days is still very visible within the town. Restoration and conservation is ongoing on the town's historical sites. Colonial style buildings, heritage listed sites and characters from the past are all part of Croydon's outback charm.
Nearby Lake Belmore, just four kilometres from town, is a great place for a barbecue and a swim, maybe even to go waterskiing or catch a Barramundi. A regular stocking program to ensure future fishing has been implemented. Camping is not allowed but there are free barbecues, and toilets and showers.
Just outside town, on the road to Lake Belmore, you will find something that may seem a little out of place in the Australian outback; an archaeological site where a Chinese temple has been unearthed. During the gold rush, the town had a large Chinese population, and you can even see remains of a large pig roasting oven - used during Chinese celebrations and feasts. The site has numerous interpretative signs and biographies of Chinese families who lived here.
ATTRACTIONS AND THINGS TO DO - CROYDON
Just outside of Croydon, you will find a mining museum which includes a working mine display (only run at certain times), restored stamper, miner's hut and related mining machinery from the original Iguana Consols Mine. There is also a collection of early mining machinery located next to the Croydon Shire Offices.
Croydon has a fantastic Heritage Precinct which is open at the same time as the True Blue Visitor Information Centre and is free for everyone to wander through. Enjoy the features of the Town Hall, Police Station, Police Sergeant's Residence with Gaol out the back and Courthouse (c.1887). While at the Courthouse, be sure to press the 'RED' button inside to listen to a court case from 1902.
CROYDON GENERAL STORE
Be sure to visit the Croydon General Store which is the longest trading General Store operating since 1894, still operating as a General Store today and has a rich and interesting history. Here you will find original piping for the carbide lights and a museum area which houses a wide range of implements and tools.
ANZAC FEDERATION PARK
ANZAC Federation Park features a series of steel sculptures by Hans Pahl of Atherton including the War Memorial Book, focusing on the role of Aboriginal Culture, Chinese Settlers and the Pastoral Industry in Croydon's Heritage. The park is on the corner of Samwell and Aldridge Streets.
CHINESE TEMPLE SITE
Croydon had a large population of Chinese settlers during the gold rush days. In recent times archaeologists have rediscovered and interpreted the Croydon Chinese Temple Site which is a must see on the way out to Lake Belmore.
Built in 1995 to supply town water to Croydon, Lake Belmore has become a popular recreational area for everybody. The lake is a good place for keen fishers, with a good supply of Barramundi, Sooty Grunter, Striped Sleepy Cod and Spangled Perch. Lake Belmore is equipped with barbecues, picnic tables, toilets, and an undercover children's playground. Anybody spending a day there will have a great time swimming, waterskiing or just relaxing.
Croydon and the whole area surrounding it is a birdwatcher's paradise. The Savannah provides bushland, open grass plains, swampland and massive waterways. Croydon has earned a reputation for the flocks of pink and grey Galahs than live in and around the town. Lake Belmore is a good spot to see many birds in their natural habitat.
People with an interest in flora shouldn't miss the Savannah, which offers a huge contract between the wet and the dry seasons of the year. The Kapok tree, a magnificent tree typical of the tropical rainforest which flourishes mid year, is worth observing. Its root was used by local Aboriginal people as medicine and they refer to it as a wild cotton tree.
From April to November, the True Blue Visitor Information Centre Staff can offer guided tours of Croydon. For more information, phone 07) 4748 7152
PODDY DODGERS MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Croydon Poddy Dodgers Music Festival is an annual event that features a Night Bull Ride, a talent quest, street floats, markets and a Beaut Ute Competition. The festival always takes advantage of the ideal climate prior to the wet season.
Check our TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND EVENTS CALENDAR for details of this and other regular events in the region.
ACCOMMODATION - CROYDONCroydon holiday accommodation is a little limited, but there is traditional pub style lodging, and a caravan parks with self contained and ensuite cabins. Scroll down or use the buttons in the right hand column to choose your style of Croydon accommodation.
CROYDON CLUB HOTEL
GULF GATE ROADHOUSE
CROYDON CARAVAN PARK
CROYDON CLUB HOTEL
CROYDON GENERAL STORE
Croydon is about a 6.5 hour drive or 621 kilometres from Cairns. Of course, it would be a shame to do this drive without exploring a little along the way. We especially recommend a stop at the unique UNDARA LAVA TUBES and of course take your time and enjoy the diverse nature and typical North Queensland atmosphere of the ATHERTON TABLELANDS. Not everybody will be up for the challenge - and this part of the country does provide its share of challenges - but we believe that the grandeur and vastness of the Northern Outback can be best experienced from behind the wheel of your own vehicle. For the freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace, please visit our CAR HIRE page. Simply fill out our obligation free enquiry form, and we will get back to you - usually the next working day - with the best deal on a rental car, four wheel drive or campervan to suit your needs.
Major roads in the region are sealed, but there are a number of unsealed roads off the main Highway. Before travelling, be sure to check
CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS. Care should be taken when travelling on roads within this remote region of the Northern Outback, as numerous ROAD TRAINS ply the highways.
Croydon is also serviced by local tour operators, as part of a longer outback experience. To view the range of tours available, please visit OUTBACK TOURS page.
Trans North Bus and Coach offers a route from Cairns to Karumba, stopping in many of the outback towns along the way. These towns include Undara, Mount Surprise, Georgetown, Croydon and Normanton. The route leaves Cairns every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6.30am and gets to Karumba at 6.00pm. The eastbound route then leaves Karumba on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6.30am and arrives in Cairns at 6.15pm.
Croydon is not linked by rail, except to nearby Normanton on the historical 'Gulflander' Train (RM93). The Gulflander, or 'Tin Hare' as it is known, makes its way between the two towns once a week, leaving Normanton on Wednesday at 8:30am and arriving in Croydon at 1.30pm and departs Croydon on Thursday at 8:30am and arriving in Normanton at 1.30pm. During the peak season, the Gulflander Train also offers Sunset Tours from Croydon every second Wednesday night where you can also experience outback cooking at its best. For more information or bookings, please email us