Chillagoe


Chillagoe is a great small outback town to visit.

It is only a couple of hours from Cairns, but in a world completely different.


It must be one of the quickest trips in Australia to get from a city to the real outback.

   chillagoe

As you drive in along the main street,

   chillagoe weather

... you come to the Hub which is the town's tourist information centre.

   chillagoe hub

There is some accommodation and some beautiful historical buildings,

   chillagoe blue

... like the old church and town hall,

   chillagoe town hall

... the old Post Office Hotel also called Top Pub,

   chillagoe top pub

... the town's lookout,

   chillagoe lookout

... the old Courthouse Museum at the police station (yep!),

   chillagoe courthouse museum

... the Bottom Pub which is the town's motel,

   chillagoe bottom pub

... the old railway station,

   chillagoe railway station

... Tom Prior's old cars museum,

   tom prior

... there is a swimming hole (actually a few).

   chillagoe weir

But what the town is mostly known for,

   chillagoe limestone bluffs

... is its geology,

   chillagoe dome

... and its history - more than anything the mining history.


   chillagoe bank

You can learn about it at the Old Smelters site,

   chillagoe smelters

... and the geology is in the limestone country all around the town,

chillagoe balancing rock chillagoe mungana caves national park

... but the best are the Balancing Rock,

   chillagoe caves

... and the famous Chillagoe Caves.

Chillagoe Accommodation

There is quite a lot for the size of the town, and it all comes with some good outback character.


chillagoe tourist village

Chillagoe Motel & Tourist Village
This tourist village is in the main street and has a caravan park as well as six self contained units with fridges and TVs (four are family units with a kitchen, a queen size bed and two singles; two are studio apartments with tea and coffee making facilities - one with a single bed and the other with a double.

chillagoe guesthouse

Chillagoe Guesthouse
This great accommodation is in a lovely old historical building in the main street. There is a self contained family unit, a deluxe double room with ensuite, a twin room with shared facilities and three double rooms with shared facilities. Complementary breakfast.


chillagoe cabins

Chillagoe Cabins
Also in the main street, this lovely  accommodation has three cottages themed as old historical miners' huts. There are two cottages with a double bed and one with twin beds. The cottages have kitchenettes, ensuites and private courtyards. There is also an on site restaurant and tours.


chillagoe hotel

Post Office Hotel
Also in the main street, this is the 'Top pub' in town, and like other Aussie pubs it has a public bar downstairs and hotel rooms upstairs, where you can enjoy the shade of the large verandah. There are single, double and twin share rooms.


chillagoe motel

C
hillagoe Hotel Motel
The Chillagoe Hotel Motel is the town's only other pub, also called the bottom pub. One street back from the main street, it is still walking distance to everywhere. It does not have upstairs hotel rooms, but ensuite motel units.

chillagoe marble creek cottage

Marble Creek Cottage
Also one street back form the main street but still walking distance to everywhere in town (in a little place like Chillagoe everything is!), this place has three fully self contained bedrooms with WIFI and Foxtel. There is a swimming pool, and pets are allowed.

chillagoe observatory eco lodge

The Observatory Eco Lodge Even further back from the main street but this place is very popular.
Powered and unpowered camping sites with BBQs and fireplaces; rooms with three single beds; double rooms with ensuites, two-room family units, some have ensuites and some not. There is an observatory, a pool and an onsite licenced restaurant.
 

chillagoe creek homestead

Chillagoe Creek Homestead
Bit further than the Eco Lodge, this  great accommodation is an experience with swimming in Chillagoe Creek, cheap camping, homestead garden setting, hot showers, campfires and woodfired barbeques, a knowledgeable host, a fossil collection and a small reference library, tours available, you sure learn some local stuff.


chillagoe real estate

Chillagoe Real Estate
Want to stay longer? Not a bad idea! Chillagoe is not a bad place to buy, if you can stay away from the coast and the fishing, and can actually find a job here - the property prices won't exactly disappoint you. One of the best places to buy in the area this website covers, and a bunch of friendly locals to neighbours.

Chillagoe Caves

If you are into caves they are some of the best in the country, and even if you are not, you are likely to at least visit this national park while in Chillagoe.

It is well known, it is close to the town, and there are more things than just the caves.

It is all thanks to limestone - the most usual rock in the Chillagoe country, left behind by ancient coral reefs from about 400 million years ago when the area was in the bottom of the ocean.


Limestone is a rock that easily reacts to acids. So when it rains, the rain water and carbon dioxide form a weak acid that erodes limestone, forming caves and bluffs like those found around here.

So first, there are the caves, and there is a group of four closest to the town.

   
chillagoe caves

Bauhinia and Pompeii you can do without a guide.

   chillagoe pompeii cave


Pompeii is quite large and easy inside, while Bauhinia is small, steep and not as easy.

chillagoe bauhinia cave

Donna and Trezkinn you can only visit on guided walks.

   chillagoe trezkinn cave

There nowadays are Aboriginal guides so on top of the geology you also get to hear a bit of
indigenous.

chillagoe donna cave chillagoe donna cave

Nearby and also close to the town, 

   chillagoe mungana

... are the famous Balancing Rock,

   chillagoe mungana caves national park

... and the Wullumba Aboriginal rock art site.

   wullumba rock art

The above was all there is close to the town in the Chillagoe Caves National Park.

   royal arch chillagoe 

Further south, you can either walk or drive, is the Royal Arch - also only doable with a guide.

   chillagoe royal arch cave

And west of Chillagoe, near the old township of Mungana,

   chillagoe mungana caves

... is the Archways cave - one of the most impressive of all the caves,

   chillagoe archways cave

... at least out of the ones you can do without a guide.

Mungana

You can easily drive past it without noticing, except there are the signs to the mine, the old township, and stocking yards.

What there is for travellers apart from the old township, is also a rock art site, an old cemetery, and the Archways - one of the best Chillagoe - Mungana caves.

   mungana

It is quite an interesting historical site where you can still see the ruins and some old foundations. The tent town was established in the late 1800s for workers of Lady Jane and Girofla mines. Later came four pubs, a post office, a shop, in 1897 smelters were built, and in 1901 the railway line was extended until here (which came to service more mines including OK as far as 75km away). 

   mungana stockyard

The mines produced copper, lead, silver and limestone, and once the mining declined, some properties were sold to the Queensland government in the infamous "Mungana Affair". 

   mungana goldmines

In the early 2000s gold was found 
by Kagara Zinc Ltd, and the new mine is still here, now (2014) owned by Mungana Gold Mines.

   mungana goldmines asx

Across the highway from the town and the mine are the old cemetery, an Aboriginal rock art site, ...

   mungana rock art site

... and the Archways - one of the Chillagoe-Mungana caves, and one of the better ones of them.
 
   chillagoe archways

You can do them yourself, you don't need a guided tour, and they are easy to do, but still spectacular.






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