Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway

This trail is not yet open

This trail in the mountains of the Atherton Tablelands would run 5km from Millaa Millaa to Moregatta passing farmland and two scenic reserves containing the renowned Millaa Millaa Falls. Currently the only way to walk or ride to the falls is via the busy Palmerston Highway. As of January 2007 the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency considers it has potential for both nature conservation and public amenity and has nominated it for Heritage Listing. The Eacham Shire Council is currently considering its position on this Heritage Listing of the track. We hope they will support it so development of the track can commence in the not too distant future.

Background Information

The former railway branched off from the Atherton line at Tolga and reached Millaa Millaa in 1921. It closed relatively shortly after in 1964.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Irwin Track (North Queensland) Nominated for Heritage Listing

Posted: 15/01/07

The 5km Irwin Track at Millaa Millaa on the Atherton Tablelands in northern Queensland has ...

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • Remote dry savannah landscape offering panoramic views
  • Interesting remnants of mining and railway history
  • Small mining museum at Irvinebank
  • Numerous campsites on Boonmoo Station

Attractions

  • Remote trail with ‘high independence’ factor
  • Safe cycling with very limited traffic
  • Part of an increasingly popular multi-day savannah cycle journey
  • Opportunity to extend the adventure on the weekly Savannahlander train at Boonmoo siding – see link here

Trail Guide

This is more of an adventure/historic ride than a formal rail trail, with a mixture of quiet, Council-maintained roads and harder station tracks. The ride can also be linked into the Mt Garnet to Lappa Rail Trail ride to create a multi-day savannah adventure.

Section Guides

Starting at the small settlement of Irvinebank (free camping, toilets and shower), ride east for about 6.5 km on the Irvinebank to Petford road. There are obvious remnants of the original rail alignment on the southern side of the cutting near Gibbs Creek leading out of Irvinebank.

Turn north at Hales Siding Road and ride north for 5.75 km to the intersection of Stannary Hills and Hales Siding Road. Again, the alignment is close to the road with historic Weinert’s siding signposted on the eastern side of this road. It is a further 5.65 km of easy riding to the marked Stannary Hills historic site.

NOTE: Only ride the trail described below with prior permission from the Gunderson family, owners of Boonmoo Station;  contact (07) 4094 4129. Riding without permission will constitute trespass and legal action will be taken. Leave access gates as found and do not disturb cattle and wildlife. The Gundersons offer affordable outback camping at a number of attractive sites along Eureka Creek. See link here.

From the Stannary Hill historic site about 2 km of the original tramway is accessible on bikes. Ride downhill, cross Eureka Creek and enjoy the short ride to historic mining features and impressive cuttings. The balance of the original tramline has been blocked by landslides but is accessible on foot for some distance.

Backtrack up the hill for 2 km and locate the station track on the right hand side just before and opposite Stannary Hills Cemetery. This is the cue to head west.

Travel downhill on this rough station road with Bock Creek on your right. After 5 km Bock Creek merges with the more substantial Eureka Creek and you will ride on and see remnants of the original alignment as well as old bridges, ore bins and so on. Riding downstream next to Eureka Creek you will come to Boonmoo Station homestead about 20.5 km from the turnoff on Stannary Hills Road. Boonmoo siding is a further 500 m from the homestead and is on the Cairns-Forsayth line, traversed weekly from March to September by the Savannahlander. See link here.

It is a further 15 km by road from Boonmoo siding to the small township of Dimbulah and civilisation.

WARNING!

Sections of these trails – particularly between Stannary Hills Cemetery and Boonmoo Station homestead –cross through a remote pastoral area with no services and limited mobile reception. Self-supported cyclists and/or support vehicles should carry plenty of water, a 1:50,000 Irvinebank topographical map, comprehensive first aid, food/fuel and viable communication systems. Eureka Creek may be impassable in wet conditions; seek local advice at Irvinebank before embarking on this ride.

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Mbabaram people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Development and future of the rail trail 

While the Stannary Hills to Boonmoo and Stannary Hills to Irvinebank Tramway formations are heritage listed, it is unlikely they will be reinstated for formal trail use given the remoteness, poor general condition and important current use for station access in this region.

Rail line history 

In 1884, tin deposits were found at Eureka Creek, and a mining town named Eureka was formed by 1888. It was later named Stannary Hills (stannum is Latin for tin).

In 1902 a two feet gauge tramway was built from Stannary Hills to the Cairns-Chillagoe railway, following the Eureka Creek valley and joining the railway at Boonmoo. The tramway lowered the costs of transporting tin out of Stannary Hills (the mines had not been worked for about eight years), and the ore was processed at a nearby battery at Rocky Bluff on the Walsh River.

Five years later the tramway was extended south to Irvinebank tin mines, making Stannary Hills and Irvinebank a major base-metal region.

The post office directory for 1911 recorded eight hotels at Stannary Hills, along with stores, a hospital, two butchers, two bakers and a teacher. By 1920 there were four hotels, and the Jack and Newell’s branch store had closed. Ten years later one hotel was left. The tramway was closed in 1936 and the rails were taken for scrap during World War II. Some of the timber bridge supports remain. In 1948 the last hotel closed and in 1955 the post office closed. Today there are near no signs that this was once a thriving community.

Reference – Queensland Places

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • The trail passes through rich agricultural landscapes with a gentle grade
  • Well interpreted Aboriginal history
  • Extensive World War II history
  • Produce stalls and coffee shops
  • Good climate year-round; April-September optimal

Attractions

  • Outstanding heritage listed natural environment and unique wildlife
  • Expanding network of touring, MTB and road bike trails in the region
  • Proximity to Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and coastal attractions
  • Well serviced towns and villages

Trail Guide

The trail links Atherton with Walkamin on the central Atherton Tablelands. Facilities adjacent to the trail in Atherton and Tolga (6 km north) include toilets and cafes and most facilities; the small settlement of Walkamin (14.5 km north of Tolga) has toilets, car parking and a small store.

Section Guides

The trail begins at Platypus Park on the southern side of Atherton and runs through the centre of the township. There are many trails leading to the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park, and the Atherton Skills Park and MTB trailhead lie on the trail.

The trail runs north to Tolga, passing the Tolga Scrub, a remnant of endangered mabi forest that once covered most of the Atherton Tablelands. A diversion off the trail leads to the popular 28 km Tolga to Kairi cycling loop: Tolga Kairi Cycle Loop

From Tolga the trail heads to Rocky Creek, which during World War II housed the largest military hospital complex in the Southern Hemisphere. Around 60,000 Australian soldiers were treated here for war-related conditions.

The trail passes the restored Rocky Creek igloo, one of the complex’s remaining buildings. Across the road is the Rocky Creek campground and war memorial park, the focus of Victory in the Pacific celebrations each year. There are rest and toilet facilities at Rocky Creek.

The trail continues beneath the Kennedy Highway road bridge and runs a further six km north to Walkamin (see map at Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail)

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Tableland Yidinji people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Development and future of the rail trail 

A feasibility study detailing the extension of the remaining 16 km section between Walkamin and Mareeba was released in early 2020. RTA representatives continue to work with Mareeba Shire Council on the project, which could link the two major townships of the Tablelands by way of a safe 36.5 km trail.

Extending the trail to the south from Atherton towards Herberton is also a priority. Atherton Herberton Historic Rail (AHHR) holds the lease for the railway corridor between Atherton and Herberton, and the development of a 21 km shared use trail is well advanced.

The current railway line is being restored so AHHR can operate tourist trains between Herberton and Atherton, and a section of the corridor between Atherton to Hasties Road has been developed for use by cyclists, equestrians and walkers.

The Atherton to Herberton railway line has significant historic and cultural values; the tunnel at the top of the Herberton Range is reputed to be the highest in Qld.

The trail also crosses a diverse landscape with outstanding natural features such as Carrington Falls and Hasties Swamp National Park, a large seasonal wetland that is a refuge and birdwatching hotspot for resident and migratory birds.

From Herberton the original trail runs for 35 km to Ravenshoe, but this section is partly demolished and effectively unrideable. The last 7 km section from Tumoulin to Ravenshoe is intact and the Ravenshoe Railway Company still holds the lease, though the train is not currently running.

There is limited political interest in redeveloping the redundant sectors of the Tablelands region, but there is potential for a trail of around 92 km from Mareeba to Ravenshoe.

Rail line history 

The Atherton Tableland Rail Trail constitutes a small part of the extensive history of the Cairns to Ravenshoe railway system. For comprehensive information on this system, go to:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tablelands_railway_line_Queensland

Acknowledgements

We thank Tablelands Regional Council, Rail Trails Australia and Atherton-Herberton Historic Railway Inc. for their continued support, and look forward to working with AHHR on the shared trail from Atherton to Herberton. This link will also open up safe cycling opportunities in the savannah country to the west of the Tablelands, including the Lappa Trail and the Irvinebank to Boonmoo tramline.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Come and celebrate the opening of the extention of the Atherton Rail Trail Saturday 23 March 2019.

Posted: 18/03/19

Tablelands Outdoor Recreation Association Inc. are pleased to advise that the official opening of the ...

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Come and enjoy the 2016 Atherton Bike Fest on the Rail Trail

Posted: 12/10/16

Come and join us for a celebration of cycling! and enjoy riding the Rail Trail ...

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Opening of the Atherton Rail Trail (far North QLD)

Posted: 21/08/14

Friends of the Atherton Rail Trail and the Tableland Regional Council invite you to the ...

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Atherton Rail Trail nears completion (Qld)

Posted: 22/07/14

Stage one of the Atherton to Mareeba Rail Trail is now 85% complete,with stage one ...

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Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail get a green light

Posted: 10/09/13

After 7 years of hard work by the Friends of Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail and the ...

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Funding Offer for Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail (QLD)

Posted: 30/11/10

Tablelands Regional Council Mayor Tom Gilmore, Transport Minister Rachel ...

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Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail Community Meetings (QLD)

Posted: 09/02/10

Disused Rail Approaching Atherton Tablelands Regional Council will ...

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Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail (North Qld) Community Meeting

Posted: 20/08/07

A feasibility study for the proposed Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail from Atherton to Yungaburra has ...

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • Outstanding dry savannah landscapes with panoramic views and interesting vegetation
  • Impressive rock cuttings, stone bridges and culverts
  • Remnants of mining history
  • Small museum and pub at Lappa Junction

Attractions

  • Remote trail for highly independent travel
  • Safe cycling with very limited traffic
  • Part of an increasingly popular multi-day savannah cycling journey
  • Opportunity to extend the adventure on the weekly Savannahlander train at Lappa – see link here

The Lappa Trail  runs through remote pastoral country. There are no services or habitations and limited or no mobile reception beyond Mt Garnet. The only health services are at Mt Garnet at the southern end of the trail and at Dimbulah, 32km east of Lappa. Cyclists and support vehicles should carry extra water, a 1:50,000 Lappa topographical map, first aid, food/fuel and viable communication systems. California Creek may be impassable in the wet season; seek advice from Mt Garnet police on (07) 4097 9120 8 am to 4 pm.

Trail Guide

This old railway route is now used as a public roadway.  You may encounter the odd vehicle on the trail.

The trail may be traversed in either direction but the generally downhill south to north ride is more appealing.

Accommodation is available at the Travellers Rest caravan park/campground at Mount Garnet which is ideal for overnight stays – see link  here

There is no accommodation available at Lappa Junction.  However accommodation is available at Almaden, which is a further 23 km away on a good well formed highway.

Section Guides

The trail meanders along and beside the original alignment through remote landscape with sweeping views of the Featherbed Ranges. There is very limited habitation apart from a few operational mines and Sunnymount cattle station close to Lappa.

The track can be quite rough and washed out in some sections.  The part of the trail on the Nymbool Road section can be very sandy, and care needs to be taken.

Frangipani and mango trees mark the site of old mines and homesteads, and a few holding dams are now used by cattle and wildlife.

Remnant heritage items include narrow rock cuttings from around 1902 and good examples of cut and fill engineering, stone bridges and culverts, and a few sleepers.

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Mbarbaram people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Railway History

The railway line was privately built in 1902 and was a major conduit for the emergent mining industry of the Far North Queensland hinterland.

It was taken over by Queensland Railways in 1914 and closed in 1960. The infrastructure was removed and the trail corridor is now used as a public/station road. Lappa Junction is situated on the Cairns to Forsayth line, which is traversed weekly from March to September by the Savannahlander.

Interesting historical information on Lappa and Mt Garnet is available from: Lappa and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Garnet,_Queensland

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway

This trail is now CLOSED permanently

This rail trail is located up in the Herveys Range, west of Townsville on a short section of the former Greenvale railway corridor. However it is not actually open to the general public. The Heritage Tea Rooms once had permission to conduct tours traveling through 5 tunnels in an 11 seat ford transit bus but unfortunately in 2009 a landslide caused one tunnel to collapse and the tours no longer operate. This is visible on the satellite view of the map. The closure of the trail due to the landslide is sad because it apparently is a spectacular sight. The Tea Rooms are based on the top of Hervey Range and the first tunnel passes under their property. Refer to the link below for more details. The Tea Rooms have apparently lobbied for a few years to have the corridor opened to the public and will continue to do so. We are not aware if any investigations have been undertaken into this or other sections of the corridor. All the remaining tunnels and bridges are in situe and, given the railway's relatively recent and high standard construction, apparently in excellent condition.  

Attractions

This Rail Trail is now CLOSED and is back as a possible active transport corridor. It is ILLEGAL to enter this rail corridor as of 2019.

  • 5 Tunnels (1 collapsed due to landslide)
  • Spectacular views
  • Will be 11km in length when open.

 

Background Information

The railway has a relatively recent and short history. It was 213km long and opened in 1974 to transport ore from a nickel mine at Greenvale to a refinery north of Townsville. It closed in 1993.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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