Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive
Step back in time to the days of the gold rush when you visit Centenary Park in Charters Towers. This popular park space features a gold discovery monument and a collection of sculptures created by Queensland Artist, Hugh Anderson. Make sure you take a picture of the Bat Statue created and designed as part of the 2013 LATTE Exhibition. Centenary Park features an interesting history, with the area first announced for public purposes in 1888. In 1941 the last Gazette Order in Council set aside the area as a reserve for park purposes and named it "Sayers Park" after Robert John Sayers. From the city's very early days, Centenary Park was called "Harvey's Reserve", no doubt because Joseph Harvey, a local butcher, built and lived in "Tower Villa", an old Queenslander style home that still faces out over the north east corner of the Reserve. During 1972 the Park was re-named "Centenary Oval" as part of the city's centenary celebrations. Centenary Park features picnic tables, toilets, gas barbecues, a children's playground, liberty swing, lit walking tracks and is always cool and shady.
Take a step back in time and discover the enchanting town of Charters Towers, just an hour and half west of Townsville. Driving through the streets of Charters Towers is like viewing a living montage of Australian history and heritage. Gold was first discovered in the outback town of Charters Towers in 1871 by Aboriginal horse boy, Jupiter Mosman. It quickly became a booming gold rush town, with over 65 hotels and more than 25,000 people moving to the region. Charters Towers become the second largest town in Queensland and was renowned for having everything a civilised person could want and as a result nicknamed "The World." Today you can still see evidence of those early days with many museums, tours and colonial architecture depicting the past. Charters Towers offers a number of magnificent heritage buildings which are testament to the prosperity of the early 1980s. The heritage listed Stock Exchange Arcade, The World Theatre, City Hall and the Post Office Tower will have you reaching for your camera. The cemetery, which was established in 1895, is the resting place of Jupiter Mosman. Don't forget to visit the iconic drive-in cinema for flicks under the stars, the Towers Hill lookout for vast outback landscapes, the Venus Gold Battery to discover the largest surviving Battery relic in Australia and pan for gold at the Miners Cottage. For something a little different and a truly outback encounter head to Texas Longhorn Wagon Tours and Safaris to sample damper and billy tea and meet 'JR,' the 2013 Guinness World Record holder for the bull with the longest horns.
Charters Towers Cemetery was established in 1895. It is the resting place for a number of interesting local characters including Jupiter Mosman who, as local lore has it, was part of the party that discovered gold at Charters Towers; Doctor Leonard Redmond who discovered Australian dengue fever; Fredrick Pfeiffer owner of the rich Day Dawn PC Mine and James Knenniff who was the last bushranger in Queensland. The Charters Towers Visitor Information Centre has the cemetery records for both the Pioneer and Charters Towers cemeteries. If it is family history you are seeking, why not contact the Charters Towers and Dalrymple Archives Group or the Charters Towers Family History Association Incorporated? These groups aim to promote and preserve research into local and family history for the benefit of the community.
Experience the thrill of a live cattle auction, held every Wednesday at the Dalrymple Sales Yards. The Charters Towers region is the largest cattle producing Local Government area in Australia with beef produced on 250 commercial properties running around 600000 head of cattle collectively. Dalrymple Sales Yards sell over 100000 head of store and prime cattle per annum and host North Queensland's premier bull and horse sales. The quality of the animals sold through the Dalrymple Sales Yards is evidenced by the recent sale of a bull which fetched a record price of AUD145000.
A picturesque waterfall on Waterview Creek, lush rainforest and fragrant woodlands are nestled in the foothills of the Seaview Range and protected as part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Set up camp beside Waterview Creek and head off along the Jourama Falls track to the lookout over the awe-inspiring falls. Explore the creek on the return leg and slip into the clear water to cool off before returning to camp. If just visiting for the day, set up in the shade in the picnic area and enjoy a barbecue lunch before heading off to explore the park.
Lake Paluma is an attractive lake surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest. It provides a water supply for approximately one third of the year. Access is via a 12 kilometres gravel road just past the Paluma township. There are weather proof shelters for day use with barbecues and camping sites for longer stays. All rubbish taken in must be removed, and no domestic animals are allowed. Swimming and non-motorised vessels are allowed. If you are lucky you may see a platypus, peregrine falcon or eastern water dragon. Due to the popularity of Lake Paluma as a camping destination, there are a limited number of camp sites available and you must pre-book a permit.
While exploring Charters Towers be sure to take the time to discover Lissner Park. Lined with figs, jacarandas, eucalypts, tamarinds, burdekin plum, milky pines, palms and silky oaks, Lissner Park offers an ideal location to enjoy a shady picnic. Facilities and attractions include picnic tables, gas barbecues, Boer War kiosk, band rotunda, children's playground, WWI guns, Gudgal People Yarning Circle, duck pond and memorials to grazier William Hann and pioneer Jupiter Mossman. The Park was named after Isidor Siegfried Lissner who arrived in Charters Towers in 1873. During his time in Charters Towers Lissner developed a financial empire based on mining and commercial interests. He took a keen interest in community affairs and pushed for the establishment of sporting facilities and public amenities including Lissner Park.
Entrenched in a deep history from the days of the gold rush, Pioneer Cemetery located in Charters Towers, gives an interesting insight in the hardships faced by the pioneers of the time. Containing graves from those who were buried between 1872 and 1895, mining accidents, fires, murders, child birth and general hardship are some of the reasons that there are more than 5000 people buried in the early cemetery. Cemetery records are available for viewing at the Charters Towers Visitor Information Centre.
Embrace magnificent views of vast blue skies and boundless green scenery from Pipers Lookout. Travel up Hervey Range Road from Thuringowa Central, past the suburbs of Rangewood and Rupertswood to find Piper's Lookout near the top of the Range. You will be rewarded with stunning views over the bushland below Hervey Range and out to the ocean.
Discover Ravenswood, an old gold mining settlement, set amongst the rolling hills of the outback. Ravenswood is a small township approximately 130km south-west of Townsville and 90km north-east of Charters Towers and is a living tribute to the history and heritage of western Queensland. Mullock heaps, tall chimneys, poppet heads and discarded mine machinery pepper the countryside, reminiscent of the town's century-old glory. Beautifully restored hotels and public buildings will give you a glimpse of what the town was once like. Take the time to stop and explore because there's more to this historic town than you would expect and the locals are only too happy to tell you all about it.
Imagine back to the days of the 1800s, when the gold rush was at its prime and the township of Charters Towers was the second largest city in Queensland. An arcade was designed by Sydney architect Mark Day and built by Sandbrook Brothers of Sydney in 1888 for local civic leader and businessman Alexander Malcolm. Known then as the Royal Arcade, it housed one of Australia's first regional stock exchanges, the Charters Towers Stock Exchange from 1890. At one time the price of gold was set in that very Arcade, an indication of the importance of the Charters Towers' economy at the time. Today, the stockbroker's offices have been converted into shops and make for an interesting insight into the buildings history. Wander through the Don Roderick Gallery, enjoy the building's magnificent architecture and don't miss the "Calling of the Card," a ghostly reminder of Charters Towers' golden days.
Witness the majestic and historic Texas Longhorns on a horse drawn wagon ride or Safari - an experience like no other. Take a traditional horse drawn wagon ride or Ranger Safari and a trip back in time, back to the 'Old West' to the time of the legendary Texas Longhorns. Situated 10 kilometres from Charters Towers, North Queensland, is Leahton Park, home to the largest purebred herd of Texas Longhorns in Australia. These cattle are direct descendants of the millions of Longhorns that walked in the great trail herds from Texas in the late 1800s. It is also home to the 2013 Guinness World Record Texas Longhorn steer - JR. JR was born and raised at Leahton Park and was certified in 2013 to have the longest horns measured tip to tip of all cattle in the world. His horns are over three metres from tip to tip. Listen to the yarns and learn the history of this magnificent breed of cattle while enjoying the canvas covered wagon ride in the bush on the one and only experience of its kind. Kangaroos, water buffalo, Scottish Highland cattle, American Bison, African Watusi and native Aussie wildlife are all at Leahton Park.
Explore the World Theatre, a cultural complex where the unique blend of heritage architecture and state of the art technology meet. Browse at your own leisure and check with the friendly staff for details of the live shows, movie times, morning melodies and the free local and touring exhibitions of art, sculpture, photography and more. For an interesting insight into the past ask the staff to tell you the story of the 'Murder on Mosman'.
Local legend has it that an Aboriginal boy named Jupiter first discovered gold at the foot of Towers Hill in December 1871. Today you can find a monument which depicts the location of the first gold sighting at the base of the hill. From there follow the road and uncover the stories of the Hill from the interesting and informative storyboards along the way which feature "Jupiter's Luck," "The Seismograph Station," and "Clark's Gold Mine." Discover 30 different World War II bunkers, one of which is a restored bunker located approximately half way up the Hill. Another track at the summit leads off to the ruins of the Pyrites Works. Early morning is the best time to discover the wildlife living on and around Towers Hill. You will see several species of macropods such as the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, the Whiptail and the Allied Rock Wallabies. Watch as the Wedge-tailed Eagles hunt their prey. Towers Hill comes to life in the evening with the Ghosts after Dark film screened in the Amphitheatre. Admission fees apply. Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Information Centre.
Located on the outskirts of Charters Towers, the Venus Gold Battery offers an insight into an amazing real life gold rush of the late nineteenth century. The Battery is of national cultural significance as the largest surviving Battery relic in Australia and the oldest surviving Battery in Queensland. Constructed in 1872, it was a public or custom mill in its prime and became a State Battery in 1919 to provide ore crushing facilities for small miners long after other mills had closed. It ceased commercial operations in 1973 after a century of service. Guided tours are available daily. One of the highlights is a fascinating film presentation that shows not only the process of extracting gold from ore, but also the story of the Battery's working life and some of its ghosts.
This National Trust museum houses a large collection of photographs, equipment and other memorabilia that reflects Charters Towers' golden and military past. Their friendly volunteers are only too willing to share their special stories and demonstrate some of the equipment that is housed in the historic Burns Philp building, built in 1888. Ask for a demonstration of the flying fox (the Lampson Aerial Cash System from the old Pollards building). There are many other items too that will pull you into the drama and excitement that was Charters Towers 130 odd years ago. History buffs and collectors can put themselves to the test with the Museum's display of objects that so far have defied efforts to identify or date and the volunteers are delighted to show them off. Charters Towers has a proud military history from the Boer to Vietnam wars, housed in the Charles Wallace Military display. One of the more poignant pieces from World War I is a pair of half knitted socks, abandoned when a mum received news that her son had been killed, they are displayed exactly as she left them 100 years ago. Allow half an hour at least.