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Irvinebank to Boonmoo Rail Trail - Trail Description



Irvinebank to Boonmoo Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: In the Dry Savannah country, approx.140 km south west of Cairns and 1,370km from Brisbane
Start/end: Irvinebank to Boonmoo
Status: Partially open
Length open: 25km
Surface: Coarse gravel
Terrain: Gently undulating to undulating in the main part
Best seasons: Dry season - April to end September, summer months are oppressively hot
Contact Region: North Queensland
Stannary Hills railway yards circa early 1900's
Stannary Hills railway yards circa early 1900's
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes



• Remote landscape offering panoramic views
• Interesting remnants of mining and railway history
• Small mining museum at Irvinebank
• Sections of bike friendly council roads adjacent to alignment


This is more of an adventure/historic ride than a formal rail trail, with a mixture of quiet council maintained roads and station tracks with sections than may require walking and pushing! It can also be linked into the Lappa Trail ride to create a wonderful multi day Savannah adventure.

Starting at Irvinebank ride east for approximately 6.5 km on the Irvinebank to Petford road. There are obvious remnants of the alignment on the southern side of the cutting and 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 Weinert’s siding signposted on the eastern side of this road. It is a further 5.65 km of easy riding to the Stannary Hills historic site. From here approximately 2 km of the tramway is accessible to bikes. Ride downhill and cross over Eureka Creek and enjoy the short ride past historic mining features and impressive cuttings. The balance of the impressive original tramline has been blocked by landslides.

Backtrack up the hill for 2 km and locate the station track just before the Stannary Hills Cemetery and this is the cue to head west.

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

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

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

 CAUTION: Sections of these trails - particularly between Stannary Hills Cemetery and Boonmoo Station homestead - traverse through a remote area having 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 impassible in wet conditions - seek local advice.

Background Information

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 the Latin word for tin).

In 1902 a two feet gauge tramway was built from Stannary Hills to the Cairns-Chillagoe rail-way, 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's tin mines, making Stan-nary Hills and Irvinebank a major base-metal region.

The post office directory for 1911 recorded eight hotels at Stannary Hills, along with a Jack and Newell and other stores, a hospital, two butchers, two bakers and a teacher. By 1920 there were four hotels, and 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 Februrary 2018

July 2020


Interesting historic information may be found  HERE

Boonmoo Station contact details – Ph 07 4094 4129   Click HERE


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1 comment

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06 August , 2016 by Brooksie

Ride this trail with prior permission from the owners of Boonmoo Station, the Gundersons- friendly and helpful people who gave us advice and a map to follow. We rode this trail for a few hours enroute to Irvinebank on mtbs towing Bob trailers, as part of a much longer tour which included the better known Lappa Rail trail a couple of days later. Some interesting old cuttings and relics, also scenery along Boonmoo Creek. For day trippers, organise drop off and pickup at the Dimbulah and Irvinebank ends. Contact owners beforehand.

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