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The Ghosts of Gold CD - Audio Self Drive Tour

See Charters Towers at your own pace with a CD/USB and Map to guide you around our beautiful City.

View the City and its history when you want, in your own vehicle, at your own pace.  Keep the Disc/USB for an hour, perhaps a week… tour at your leisure! 

Discs/USB's are available from the Charters Towers Visitor Information Centrewith a cost of $5 and a $10 refundable deposit.

 

Five Great Regional Drives

Charters Towers is surrounded by a region rich in history and diversity.  The Charters Towers Regional Trails Guide links five authentic trail experiences that cover Heritage, Geological, Explorers, Tropics and Desert Uplands and encourage you to discover more of the regions unique history, culture and natural wonders.

The Tropics Trail

Charters Towers to Mingela, Dotswood Road – 47km; Mingela across the Dotswood Road to Herveys Range Road – 68km; Herveys Range Road to Laroona Station turn off – 32km; Laroona Station turnoff to Hidden Valley – 69km; Hidden Valley to Mt Fox Road – 26km; Mt Fox Road to Lynd Highway – 170km

Tropics TrailThe Tropics Trail starts at the township of Mingela, east of Charters Towers on the Flinders Highway, now known as the Overlanders Way. If travelling from Charters Towers, the historic Sellheim cemetery is on the right hand side approximately 16km out. As you approach the Macrossan Bridge crossing the Burdekin River, look to the right for the flood height marker – amazing! There are good camp sites and amenities on the southeastern side of the river and you can fish and swim. To the left of the campground turn off, is Bivouac Junction Holiday Camp. Continue on to the small community of Mingela. Turn right off the highway and call in and have a beer and a chat with the locals. Head back to the highway and turn onto the Dotswood Road. The road is unsealed so drive according to the road conditions. You will be passing through the Dotswood military training area. There are signs to remind you not to leave the road as the military actively use it for live training.

On reaching Herveys Range Road you will be back on a sealed road. Turning right will take you to the Herveys Range Community and down into Townsville. Drop into the historic Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms. If you turn left, this sealed all weather road joins up with the Gregory Developmental Road, also known as the Great Inland Way.

Travel about 32km along this road towards the Great Inland Way. Cross the Star River and turn right at Laroona Station turn off by some big boulders called Devils Marbles. The road is unsealed but good during the dry season. After roughly 43km you cross Running River for the first time and are now only approximately 26km from Hidden Valley. A little further on the road forks. Follow the road around to the right for Hidden Valley, left for Ewan township, once a thriving tin mining town.

The intersection at Running River community/Hidden Valley is signposted. The next section of this drive takes you over Mt Fox, 36km of good, unsealed road. A visit to the Mt Fox National Park and the crater is well worth the time. Another 48km will bring you to the next significant signposted turn off. Turn right to Lincoln Springs and the historic Valley of Lagoons Station, famous for its wetlands and birdlife. After passing the Valley of Lagoons homestead turnoff, you will see a large open flood plain and the picturesque Burdekin River headwaters. Before you cross the Burdekin River notice a large cement cairn and plaque on the side of the road, indicating the Ludwig Leichhardt expedition and campsites within this area. After crossing the Burdekin River bridge grids you will be nearing Reedybrook Station homestead and another Leichhardt monument. Continue to the Gregory Developmental Road (The Great Inland Way). Turn right to Mt Garnet and the Undara Lava Tubes or left to Greenvale and back to Charters Towers. Stay the night in Greenvale at the local hotel made famous by the Slim Dusty song "Three Rivers Hotel" or at the Van Park.

Heritage Trail

Charters Towers to Ravenswood – 88km; Ravenswood to Burdekin Falls Dam (Lake Dalrymple) – 83km; Burdekin Falls Dam to Collinsville – 140km or Burdekin Falls Dam to Mt Coolon – 101km; Mt Coolon to Belyando Crossing – 61km; Belyando Crossing to Charters Towers – 200km

Heritage TrailFrom Charters Towers travel east along the Overlanders Way/Flinders Highway for 50km to the historic township of Mingela. Turn right across the railway line and into the remnants of what was once a busy little town and on to Ravenswood via the Burdekin Falls Dam Road, an excellent, all weather, sealed road.

Ravenswood is a must-see historic mining town about 40km from Mingela. Stay overnight and explore.

The Heritage Trail then takes you onto the Burdekin Falls Dam - 83km from Ravenswood. This is an excellent weekend or overnight stopover. No camping is permitted on the dam foreshore; however, camping facilities are excellent at the village. Fishing is permitted.
During the dry season, (which is most of the year) you can drive across the bottom of the dam wall. This is the main route to Collinsville, Mount Coolon and Belyando Crossing for the locals. 3km after crossing the dam wall, the bitumen ends. Another 39km is the Three Ways turnoff to Bowen and Collinsville.

Geological Trail

Charters Towers to Pentland - 104km; Pentland to Great Inland Way Highway - 244km; Great Inland Way Highway to Charters Towers - 40km

Geological TrailStart this trail from the Puma Energy Charters Towers Roadhouse, west of Charters Towers on the Flinders Highway (now known as the Overlander's Way). Head west for 11km to your first place of interest - Featherby Wall. This mini escarpment is an important meeting site for the local indigenous Gudjal people. A further 42km along is a small community named Balfes Creek.

The next township you come to is Homestead. This little town was originally a gold town and the first nuggets were found in 1883. The Cape River is the next big river you cross before Pentland and although predominately a dry river, becomes a nice little respite stop after the big wet.

Pentland is the biggest of the local small communities and about 250 make up the enthusiastic community, proud of their town and local art gallery. A few hundred metres east of Pentland turn right on to an unsealed property access road (Gregory Springs, Capeville and Ballabray etc). As the drive continues you will be driving through spectacular country on the eastern edge of the White Mountains National Park.

Just past Lolworth Station homestead, you will come to a T-junction. You can drive north (straight on) and this will take you onto Cargoon Station and then west to the Kennedy Developmental Road. For our tour, turn right past Daintrees Crater lookout and along the Great Basalt Wall. Look for the Bodella Station turnoff. From here on there are several freshwater lakes and lagoons where there is an abundance of bird life. Approximately 10km down the road you cross Lolworth Creek. This is a great area for camping. Continue on to the Gregory Developmental Road/Great Inland Way. Turn left to Greenvale or right to Charters Towers.

Explorers Trail

Charter Towers to Greenvale – 207km. Ring Road sidetrip – 116km

ExplorersHeading north along the Gregory Developmental Road/Great Inland Way is the Charters Towers Cemetery. Approximately 10.5km further along you come to Bryants Road on your right. Turning in you will see a flagpole and historic sign identifying the location of the Breddan Airfield, one of many World War II American Air Force bases operating during the war. A further 5km turn right onto a dirt road at the Anabranch sign. This signpost has other property names on it such as Riverview and Maryvale. If you drive in about 3km you come to a substantial billabong approximately 3km in length.

Back on the bitumen heading north you will cross Hann Creek and before reaching the Fletcherview flood marker you will notice that the road is now following an interesting geological ridge of basalt. This ridge is the first glimpse of what is known as the Great Basalt Wall.

Another 12km on, you will come to a right hand turn off to Big Bend and Echo Hole. These are two popular spots on the Burdekin River that the locals visit. Echo Hole has high basalt walls enclosing the water hotel. The circular loop is about 10.5km. 3km further on is Fletcher Creek. Good camping grounds, toilets, showers and wood barbecue facilities are provided. As you drive in, you will see two cairns on the right. The smaller one marks the site of an old "L" tree. The tree has long since disappeared, but this Leichhart Monument accurately identifies the exact site that Leichhardt and his party camped on their way to Port Essington in 1845. You are now approximately 35km from the Bluff Downs Cattle Station and Farm Stay turn off. Bluff Downs is an accredited host farm stay. Bookings are essential. The homestead is 28km in on this dirt road. The road joins back onto the Great Inland Way about another 116km further on.

If you choose not to take the ring road, you are now roughly 18km from the Herveys Range Road turnoff which will take you to Townsville. It is an all weather road. Bluewater Springs Roadhouse is some 18km further on from this turn off and Greenvale another 92km. Visit the "Three Rivers Hotel" made famous by the song written by Stan Coster and recorded by Slim Dusty. Ask the locals about further Leichhardt camp locations.

This brings us to the end of the Explorers Trail. Heading further north you pass through the famous Three Ways intersection better known by the locals as the Lynd Junction. From here you can head west to the Gulf, return south along the Kennedy Developmental Road to Hughenden (check on the road conditions), or go north to the Undara Lava Tubes, eventually making your way to Far North Queensland and the beauty of the Atherton Tablelands.

Desert Uplands Trail

Charters Towers to Pentland – 106km; Pentland to Yarrowmere Station – 155km; Yarrowmere Station Homestead to Lake Buchanan – 20km; Lake Buchanan via Mirtna back to Charters Towers – 219km

Desert Uplands TrailHead west to Pentland. Just before you reach the town you cross Betts Creek. This creek flows directly south and you will follow it for some time before it runs into the Cape River. As you drive into Pentland you will see a turn off to the left crossing the railway line. This is the Aramac Road. There is a sign just before you cross the railway line naming the cattle stations you will pass, such as Uralla, River View, Millray and Longton. At 155km away, Yarrowmere is the furthest property you will pass on your way down to the salt lakes, with the Cape River your constant companion, often as close as 50 metres from the road.

You should have travelled about 83km as you pass Longton Station. At this fork in the road a sign stating Egera Station heads left. Another sign to the right, indicates Yarrowmere, Maitland, Narellan and Bowie stations. The Egera Station Road would eventually bring you out onto the Gregory Development Road /Great Inland Way south of Charters Towers. For the purpose of visiting Lake Buchanan, continue right and onto Yarrowmere.

When you come upon Yarrowmere Station, cross the grid where the sign to your right indicates Nunkimbil, Bluff Stations and Torrens Creek. Drive straight ahead, around the side of the yards and towards the homestead. Continuing south along the road, about 4 km, you come to a big three way triangle. Take the right hand fork and continue south.

After about 20km, you will see a 44 gallon drum base on the right hand side of the road supported by two steel posts with the word "LAKE" written on it. Turn in at this bush sign and follow the sandy narrow two-wheel track. This is a 4WD only road. Lake Buchanan is a shallow salt lake no more than a metre deep when full. Please note this is private property and property owner permission is required to access this site.

Download the full map with all five (5) drives here.

These trails are not recommended for caravans; with 4WD, larger conventional vehicles and smaller campervans deemed to be suitable at most times.  All distances are approximate only.  Please drive according to prevailing road conditions.

For more information on these drives and what can be seen, contact the Charters Towers Visitor Information Centre.