Palmer River Goldfields


Palmer River Goldfields are worth the side trip if you're into history.

Only an historical site today, in the days of Palmer River gold rush this goldfield was the centre of activity of the whole Cape York peninsula.


Not only that, it was the richest alluvial goldfield in Australia, and the reason why Cooktown was established - it started out as a port town for the gold from Palmer River.


Maytown was the capital of Cape York, and if you are into history and gold rush ghost towns, this is a great place to explore.

palmer river goldfields queen mill
            Queen Mill. ©cape-york-australia.com

Palmerville was another important place, but today nothing much remains there and being away from the Maytown area is not even worth the drive.

palmer river goldfields
            Open mining shaft. ©cape-york-australia.com

Around Maytown, there are many different groups of mines and mills to discover, depending on how interested you are, you may want to take more than one day.

palmer river goldfields comet mill
            Comet Mill. ©cape-york-australia.com

The main road in - the White's Creek Road - is a reasonable gravel road, nothing humpy bumpy and doable in 2WD in dry weather.

palmer river goldfields mine shaft
            Old mine shaft. ©cape-york-australia.com

Some of the tracks between the sites are smaller and a 4WD vehicle is recommended.

palmer river goldfields ida mill
            Ida Mill. ©cape-york-australia.com

White's Creek Road

The road from PDR to Maytown is called White's Creek Road, and while there are others, this is the main road to Palmer River Goldfields.

whites creek road to maytown

It turns in about 20km south of Palmer River Roadhouse.

whites creek road pdr to maytown 

It is a very spectacular road, despite it being dry country and not a green environment late in the dry season.

whites creek road hilly 

The road crosses a hilly country, so there are lots of ups and downs,

whites creek road water 

... some great views,

whites creek road lake 

... and even some water.

whites creek road hilly

As you see it is a good gravel road that does not require four wheel drive gears,

whites creek road 

.. but could at times require reasonably high clearance.

whites creek road hill

It is not particularly slow going but still takes a good part of a day, so if you want to visit the goldfiels on a day trip you should start early in the morning.

whites creek road lookout

Also during the dry season they are back-burning so there could be grass fires in there.

whites creek road

Maytown

Maytown was the capital of Palmer River Goldfields.

And not only that - it was the capital of Cape York peninsula at the time when the rush was on.

There are a few roads in but the easiest one turns in from PDR south of Palmer River Roadhouse.

maytown
            Town entrance. Ã‚©cape-york-australia.com

After the drive in you first arrive to the monument in the beginning of the main street.

maytown monument
            Maytown Monument. Ã‚©cape-york-australia.com

If you walk down along the street, there are signs what stores the ruins are from.

maytown palmer river
            Main street. Ã‚©cape-york-australia.com

There is also a replica of an old miner's hut, and stumps of a post office, a court house and a police station.

maytown miners hut
            The old hut. Ã‚©cape-york-australia.com

There is an old toilet ...

maytown dunny
            The old dunny. Ã‚©cape-york-australia.com

... and shower, ...

maytown shower
            Shower. Ã‚©cape-york-australia.com

... and a lot of different ruins around.

maytown ruins
            Scattered ruins everywhere. Ã‚©cape-york-australia.com





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This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)



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