Chillagoe is approximately 200km west of Cairns and approximately 140km west of Mareeba along the ‘Wheelbarrow Way’. 

Only 7.5km of dirt road remains with more currently being sealed. Please allow extra time for delays with road works. There are 2 short gravel sections past Almaden, the last small town before Chillagoe.

It takes approximately 2 hours to travel from Mareeba & 3 hours from Cairns.


Explore the beautiful limestone caves. These are unique as they are above ground cave systems formed from ancient coral reefs. There are guided tours offered by National Parks to 3 caves – the Donna, Royal Arch and Trezkin Caves, lasting from approx. 45mins -1.5hrs. Guides will provide torches for the Royal Arch Cave & the other 2 have lighting systems. There are also self-guided caves – the Bauhinia and Pompei. For these you must take your own torches & have a reasonable level of fitness as they are graded as difficult. Enclosed shoes are a must for any of the caves. Ask us for a caves information brochure and a map. The Archways is another more open cave system. As daylight illuminates this formation – you do not require torches. Access is easy. Some aboriginal art is found at this location & a pioneer cemetery is located just across the track. A great area to explore. For bookings please call The Hub (National Parks) on 07 4094 7111.
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  • Marble is a major resource for Chillagoe. You will marvel at the range of colors to be found. Ask us for more information.

  • The Smelters are relics from the copper mining boom days of Chillagoe. The chimney stacks are the local landmarks & provide some stunning photo opportunities, especially at sunset. National Parks have plenty of information boards & photos of the mining history at the lookout.

  • Birdwatching is a favorite pastime as a large variety of savannah dwelling & waterfowl species inhabit the area. The Black Cockatoo is the local “emblem”. Many migratory birds also pass through. A list of birds found in the Chillagoe area is below.

  • Pioneer settlement sites can be discovered as you drive around the Chillagoe area. The old bank vault, post office, cemeteries & hospital sites are but a few.

  • Cool swimming holes are plentiful. Many are enchanted by the beauty of clear water & sandy banks overhung by magnificent weeping melaleucas.

  • Balancing Rock is an interesting formation to visit & the short walk offers some great views of the expansive savannah country.

  • Fossils discovered on surrounding properties can be viewed at The Hub Tourist Information Centre. The entire area was once the ancient barrier reef and this is the origin of the limestone formations, cave systems, and fossils that can now be enjoyed by visitors.

  • Tommy Prior’s collection of Ford motor vehicles is a must-see for any car enthusiast. Included in his collection are antiques, classic muscle cars, army vehicles & vintage trucks. This is a free attraction but donations are gratefully accepted.


Compiled by Harvey Rich, October 2015
  • Australian Bustard
  • Black Kite
  • Brown Goshawk
  • Peaceful Dove
  • Bar Shouldered Dove
  • Squatter Pigeon
  • Crested Pigeon
  • Red Tailed Black Cockatoo
  • Sulphur Crested Cuckatoo
  • Galah
  • Rainbow Lorikeet
  • Red Winged Parrot
  • Pale Headed Rosella
  • Channel-Billed Cuckoo
  • Tawny Frogmouth
  • White Rumped Swiftlet
  • Laughing Kookaburra
  • Rainbow Bee-Eater
  • White Throated Gerygone
  • Noisy Friarbird
  • Little Friarbird
  • Blue Faced Honeyeater
  • Yellow Honeyeater
  • Brown Honeyeater
  • Magpie Lark
  • Spangled Drongo
  • Olive-backed Oriole
  • Great Bowerbird
  • Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike
  • White Winged Triller
  • Black Faced Woodswallow
  • Pied Butcherbird
  • Australian Magpie
  • Torresian Crow
  • Mistletoe Bird
  • Apostle Bird