• Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Trip Includes
  • Dates & Prices

The Wild River Adventurer is a five-day, four-night 35km camping and bushwalking safari circuit conducted along the scenic but little-visited Wild River and Evelyn Creek system. This area was described by a local grazier as “boney” and “hungry”. The reasons for his description will soon become apparent during a traverse of a mosaic of volcanic, metamorphic and granitic landscapes. The fast-running Wild River was named by the prospector and explorer James Venture Mulligan on his fifth prospecting and exploring expedition of 1875 during which he found alluvial tin ore. This discovery led to the later establishment of Herberton and the Moffat mining empire. This walk is an extension of the Wild River Explorer.

Camp on sandy beaches with natural waterholes suitable for swimming and pass a variety of landscapes and vegetation, including the rugged Wild River cataracts and extensive heathlands. See examples of the extensive lava flows caused by ancient volcanoes. The bird list for the area is more than 120 species. There is ample time to spot for the smaller and more elusive species such as rock wallabies. Platypus inhabit some reaches of the Wild River including one waterhole on which we camp. There will be time to search for these elusive creatures. A team of pack donkeys will carry luggage, camp furniture and food, participants need only carry a light day pack for personal items and convenience. Dine well with all food cooked over open fires, with time to enjoy a chat over the dying embers. Wine is served with dinner. Your guide can provide a tour of the night sky if conditions are suitable or simply observe the ceiling of stars from your comfortable stretcher bed.

This walk is suitable for families and children older than 12 years. Previous bushwalking experience is desirable but not essential.


The itinerary is outlined below - we reserve the right to make any changes.


Day 1

Arrive Cairns

Arrive and group assembles in Cairns. Meet the Back Track escort at the tour joining point, Hides Hotel.

Day 2

Transfer to Atherton

Meet at Hinterland Motel for a pre-trek briefing, issue of pack bags and introduction to the pack donkeys. Pre-dinner drinks and dinner at the Barron Valley Hotel. This heritage listed, art deco style hotel is circa 1911. Known locally as the “BV”, this hotel is still in the ownership of the Nasser family who moved from Western Queensland and purchased the original wooden hotel. The family rebuilt in Art Deco style prior to WWII. During WWII the hotel became the Officers Club for Australian and US forces training on the Atherton Tablelands in preparation for the SW Pacific Campaign. General Blamey briefly established his Headquarters in the Hotel. The building is faithfully refurbished to the original art-deco decoration and design, including the large billiard room upstairs. The accommodation is now being utilised by a busy fruit picking labour force, so we are unable to stay in the hotel.

Day 3

Transfer to Kalinvale Farm. Walk to Prairie Ck Camp

Walking distance: Approx. 10km Meet and finalise the packing of the donkeys. This walk starts with an approach walk downstream along the Wild River with an alfresco lunch under large casuarina trees at a distinctive bend in the river. After lunch we take advantage of a powerline easement to gain altitude and gain the headwaters of Prairie Creek. Camp on a long sweet waterhole. Learn to pitch camp, packing style then explore the rapids downstream for a swim before dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 4

Prairie Ck Camp to Evelyn Creek Camp

Walking distance: Approx. 4km After breakfast and repacking the donkeys, cross Prairie Creek on a rock-bar and navigate cross country to a campsite on Evelyn Creek. After setting up camp and lunch there is time to explore upstream to locate and play in a large waterfall and rapids in Evelyn Creek. (B, L, D)

Day 5

Evelyn Camp to Pannikin Waterhole

Walking distance: Approx. 6km Navigating cross-country back to Prairie Creek and then along a narrow ridge to an advantage point above the Wild River cataracts to gain a new appreciation for how “Wild“ this river can be. Follow the Wild River upstream to find our camp on a permanent waterhole in the river. (B, L, D)

Day 6

Pannikin Waterhole to Quartpot Waterhole

Walking distance: Approx. 4km File out of the Wild River onto a “basaltic tableland” past tall white termite mounds, avoiding several hairpin bends in the river to find another campsite on a sandy beach at “Quart Pot” Waterhole. Tonight, they may be an opportunity to gain a good view of the night sky from the cliffs above the campsite after a tasty dinner cooked over a campfire. (B, L, D)

Day 7

Quartpot waterhole return to Kalinvale Farm

Walking distance: Approx. 10 km After breakfast and reloading of the pack team for the final time, cross the basaltic plateau pausing for lunch, where we ford the Wild River, near a large outcrop of basaltic lava flow. We then close the circuit to Kalinvale by retracing our steps along the river flats with tall Forest Red Gums. After farewelling the donkeys, board the transport for the return drive to Cairns. (B, L)
  • Transfers from Cairns to Atherton return
  • All accommodation – 2 night hotel, 4 nights camping
  • Pack donkeys to carry your gear and camp furniture
  • All camp equipment – sleeping bags available for hire
  • All meals whilst walking
  • Wine with dinner
  • Regional experienced guide
  • Back Track Adventures leader
  • Start
    Group (Min-Max)
  • Start Saturday August 1, 2020
    End Friday August 7, 2020
    1 - 12 Pax