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About the Jungleman Walk
Australia’s favourite adventure writer, Ion Idriess, briefly lived in the Herberton area before World War One. He engaged in some prospecting and tin mining around Herberton and Kalunga at just as the Herberton- Irvinebank region was being “opened up”. The Jungleman trek retraces an adventure described by Idriess when he wrote the book “Back O’ Cairns” in 1957 from his diaries compiled some 46 years earlier.
The Cairns Railway had advanced to Herberton, John Moffat’s mining empire was reaching its peak, and new towns were springing up as new mineral wealth was discovered. The Jungle Man invites Idriess to explore this bonanza “then we can follow right up the divide, and drop down on Stannary Hills or Irvinebank. An easy walk…”
The Jack and Newell store, built from pit sawn red cedar, where Idriess purchased his notebooks and some tucker is still on the same street corner in Herberton, but now houses a unique camera museum. Remains of mining endeavours reported by Idriess are scattered along the way. Irvinebank is no longer the exciting and busy industrial centre he records, but a quaint remnant hidden in the hills.
This walk 70 km walk retraces disused pack tracks, provides an insight of the heritage of the Back O’Cairns with views over rugged ranges, an opportunity to explore Loudon House Museum in Irvinebank and much more.
A team of pack donkeys carry your luggage, food and camping gear, exercising the skills and heritage of Australia’s many packers and drovers. Sleep under the stars on a bed in an insect-proof “Mossie Dome” tent. Fully guided with a carefully researched commentary on the geology, flora, fauna and pioneer histories that we pass. Good food including three-course dinners cooked over an open fire and even a glass or two of wine with dinner.
Fully guided by an experienced packer. Researched detailed commentary regarding historic and heritage sites, flora and fauna and geology passed along the way.
- Heritage museums in Herberton
- Wild River Cataracts
- Silver Valley mining history
- Irvinebank- historic village and industrial centre
- Loudoun House Museum
- Dargo Range 1147m, views across the Silver Valley and ranges
- Silver Valley Bluffs rock art gallery
- Platypus viewing
- Character pack donkeys
The itinerary is outlined below.
Arrive CairnsArrive in Cairns. Meet the Back Track escort at the tour joining point, Hides Hotel.
Drive Cairns- AthertonTransfer to Atherton via Herberton. Atherton accommodation is the Hinterland Motel. Meet at Hinterland Motel for a pre-trek briefing, issue of pack bags. There is an opportunity to visit the Spy Camera Museum (Original Jack and Newell Store building c1880, built of pit sawn cedar and where famed author Ion Idriess purchased his additional notebooks and his tucker) and the Herberton Mining Museum or Herberton Historic Village. Entry fees not included.
Transfer to Donkey DepotApprox. 9km 8.00AM Meet and finalise the packing of the donkeys. Walk along the tall Forest Redgum lined banks of the Wild River to Bullocks Crossing with a large waterhole inhabited by platypus. Camp here on a beach next to the waterhole. Watch for Platypus or take a swim, visit the lonely grave of George Crossland before dinner. Join a “walk through the stars “after a three-course dinner or enjoy a yarn beside the campfire. (B, L, D)
Walk Bullocks Crossing to Triple Tree CampsiteApprox. 9km Mostly cattle pads, some cross country. After breakfast and repacking the donkeys, continue cross country to join the Cardwell Road that links Herberton to Woodleigh Station and the Junction (of Wild and Dry Rivers). Pause for morning tea then continue to “Triple Tree” Campsite just upstream from the Wild River Cataracts. Swim in the clear granite pools or explore the cataracts before dinner. (B, L, D)
Walk Triple Tree Campsite to The Junction CampsiteApprox. 7 km Cattlepads and some cross country. Climb back up to the Cardwell Track for views over Silver Valley then continue to “the Springs” for morning tea and on to a lagoon at The Junction to camp. (B, L, D)
Explore Local area without donkeys. Return to Junction CampsiteApprox. 11km Mostly cattle pads, riverbed bouldering, some cross country. Explore up the Wild River towards Evelyn Creek and Evelyn Ck Waterfall for a relaxing day without the donkeys, learn the fascinating story of Fitzgerald’s Water Race, and the Barbara Copper (Evelyn) Mine. (B, L, D)
Junction Campsite to Lancelot CampsiteApprox. 13.5km Road stomp. After breakfast, cross the Dry River and head North along Silver Valley for morning tea at Shepherds Pool. On the way see where the mysterious Jungleman had his camp and learn of the alluvial tin mining in Kiama and Woolaman Creeks. Continue to where the hamlet of Lancelot existed briefly, to camp. Learn of the German-owned Lancelot Tin Mining Company, and plans for a new town to be called ”New Frankfurt”. Visit a rock art site and explore the old battery and weir sites. (B, L, D)
Lancelot Campsite to Mowbray CampApprox. 5km Mostly cattle pads, some cross country After breakfast we continue to explore Silver Valley including the Bluff Rock art site, Silver Valley Hotel site, fossil hunt and conglomerate creek before continuing to Mowbray Camp at the foot of Mt Nolan to camp near a scenic rock pool. (B, L, D)
Mowbray Camp to IrvinebankApprox. 12km Steep cross country, cattle pads and 4wd fire break track Early start to beat the heat for the ascent of the Dargo Range (1140m) and then wind down the fire break track to Irvinebank via the historic Governor Norman Mines. Camp at the Irvinebank Town Common in front of the pub. The original wooden hotel burnt down in the 1960’s and was replaced by the present-day tavern. We will dine in the pub tonight with time to explore the town tomorrow. (B, L)
Local walks about Irvinebank & Return to CairnsToday is set for a tour of the heritage of this once industrial hub with smelters, a tramway and several mines connected to the works by overhead bucket lines. The Loudoun House Museum is a repository of the town’s history is a must see, as are the views from the Vulcan Mine. Then if there is time and interest, visits to the cemetery, The QLD National Bank, Railway Station and Perke’s private collection of machinery. Connecting transport is scheduled to pick up after lunch, for the journey back to Herberton, Atherton or Cairns. (B)
- Back Track Adventures leader
- Fully guided with an experienced packer/guide,
- Interpretative commentary at selected places of interest
- Meals per itinerary
- Three course dinners cooked over open fires
- Wine with dinner (Dinner at Irvinebank excluded)
- Use of camp furniture and tents
- Shared pack donkey to carry luggage and personal effects
- Entry to Loudoun House Museum
- Transfers between Cairns and start/ finish points.
- Dinner and beverages at Irvinebank Tavern (Day Seven)