Home' Caravanning Australia : Winter 2010 Contents Caravanning Australia • Winter 2010 • 97
Caravanners have a trained eye, and whilst they enjoy a
beach break or an adventurous trip into the heart of the
Northern Territory, they can also look past the allure of these
popular destinations. They pick up a map and see that tempting
stretch of road lying between the Queensland coast and the Top
End---a road that has been touted as one of Australia's ultimate
adventure drives: the Savannah Way.
This route will take you from the lustre of the Tropical North
Queensland beaches across a wide expanse of northern
Australia, and plenty of things will emerge along the journey to
help you understand why the Savannah Way is so magnetic.
The Queensland section of the Savannah Way traverses the
Tropical Tablelands and Gulf Savannah, passing through a
number of townships that are worth a stopover.
As you leave the coast behind, Mareeba is just one hour west
of Cairns but is the real start of your voyage across the Savannah
Way.The Shire of Mareeba is steeped in Queensland's agricultural
and horticultural history. It's a fertile area, and everywhere you
look, you'll discover a shade of green you've never seen before.
One of the best ways to take in the beautiful tropical foliage is on
a cable car ride over the Kuranda Rainforest. The Kuranda
Markets are accessible via the cable car, so the trip will not only
yield a great scenic experience, but perhaps some trinkets as
well.A less leisurely expedition is to the Mareeba rodeo, which
takes place in mid-July this year. The rodeo has been an annual
affair since 1949, which means the organisers have had more
than 60 years to perfect the day's events. There are plenty of
novelty events, entertainment, and fantastic food and drink, but
of course you'll be there for the action! If you're looking for a real
rodeo experience, you can't go past Mareeba.
The sunsets in Mareeba are magnificent, their shifting colours
causing the western sky to blush. Prefer a sunrise? You won't be
disappointed by the hot air balloon rides that Mareeba is famous
for---take a dawn trip over the expansive landscape while the sun
slowly climbs to illuminate your morning.
Dimbulah, not far from Mareeba, is an interesting place to
visit, having been the junction for rail lines between the goldfields
at the turn of the last century. From Dimbulah, you can access
the historic Hodgkinson Goldfield and the nearby Tyrconnel
Historic Gold Mine. There is plenty of history to be found here, so
when you visit, be sure to take your camera and have a look at
the interpretive panels at the restored railway station, which tell
the story of the region. And just in case you feel like staying, the
Dimbulah Caravan Park is located centrally with all the amenities
When you feel like you've exhausted the full program of
possibilities in the Mareeba area, head south to Ravenshoe,
another fantastic stopping point along the Way.
Nature is at the heart of Ravenshoe, with the town's
industries and attractions emphasising natural energy, natural
sights, and natural therapy.
Sitting 930 metres above sea level, Ravenshoe boasts the
highest elevation point in Queensland and is set amidst lush
mountain pastures and World Heritage rainforest. Make sure that
you venture into the rainforest while you're here, because it's still
standing after much controversy in the 1980s, when local timber
industries battled with environmentalists in a bid to protect their
right to log in the area. If you do immerse yourself in the
rainforest, though, beware---there are rumours of a yowie living
somewhere amidst the trunks!
There are also common sightings of 46-metre-tall, odd-
looking creatures in Ravenshoe, but these ones are easily
explained. Just outside of Ravenshoe is a wind farm, equipped
with a number of windmills that stand 46m high, and the group
of 20 is an impressive sight---their odd beauty has now become
quite a popular tourist attraction.
Just outside of Ravenshoe, is Millstream Falls---the widest
waterfall in Australia. Further along the road is Tully Falls, reached
by a short walk through the rainforest. The falls only run at full
capacity during a big wet season, but the immense wall of bare
rock, surrounded by leafy rainforest, is a spectacular sight at any
time of year.
Since the downturn in the local timber industry, the town has
become a magnet for artists, and an interesting place for those
with a creative bent to visit as there are a number of art galleries
in the town. Head to the highest pub in Queensland, or visit
Queensland's highest railway station in Tumoulin, 7km from
Barron Falls, Kuranda. PHOTO: PETER LIK.
Skybury's Australian Coffee. PHOTO: DARREN JEW
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