The Road Ahead : December 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2012/JAN 2013 44 TRAVEL QUEENSLAND GREAT ESCAPE THE WHEELBARROW WAY, west of Cairns, is made for a driving holiday that packs in pioneering history with impressive natural attractions. In the late 1800s, gold lust lured thousands into challenging country beyond the coast. In their rush to strike it rich, miners bundled their worldly belongings into wheelbarrows and pushed west to reach the goldfields. Honouring those intrepid fortune-hunters, the Wheelbarrow Way is a tourist route linking Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands with Chillagoe, about 140 kilometres further west. Start at Mareeba's Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Centre in the town's Centenary Park. Grab a handful of brochures and spend time inspecting the historical displays telling the story of the region's past and present. This is also the official start for Mareeba's annual Great Wheelbarrow Race -- a colorful, three-day charity run that retraces the steps of the pioneers all the way to Chillagoe. Turn onto the Burke Development Road for the official start of the Wheelbarrow Way, it's a pleasant 36 km drive through flat farming country to the small town of Dimbulah. Not far away is Tyrconnell Outback Experience -- a family-run tourist venture with heritage-themed cottages and a genuine 130 year-old working gold mine. There's the option to visit nearby Thornborough Cemetery pushing on from mareeba to chillagoe Pioneers with wheelbarrows did it the hard way, but you can unearth north Queensland's historical treasures more comfortably. STORY CAROLE HORNE | PHOTOS TOURISM QUEENSLAND, CHRIS PARSONS AND STACEY MAISEL ESSENTIAL INFO: Queensland Weekender's Chris Parsons and Jillian Whiting explore the country west of Cairns during Mareeba's Great Wheelbarrow Race, Saturday, January 5, 2013, 5.30pm on Channel 7. PLAN: Prepare a trip to this and other Queensland regions by visiting RACQ's trip planner at racq.com. MAIN IMAGE: TYRCONNELL MINE DWELLING. GREAT WHEELBARROW RACE. CHILLAGOE CAVES. 'LAPPA'S' ESPANOL PUB.