Chillagoe provides the chance for Cairns visitors to make a casual 200km journey to a town with some outback ambience, far removed from the tropical delights of the coast. Chillagoe lies on the Bourke Development Road and also draws travellers from the west who have been exploring the Gulf country.
Steeped in copper and silver mining history, Chillagoe has managed to integrate local aboriginal culture, a diverse landscape and it's pioneering heritage into a neat tourist package.
The original smelter and furnace stack were abandoned in 1943 but still serve as a curiosity for visitors as do the numerous old mines and associated debri.
If mining history isn't your thing then maybe the geology is. The Chillagoe-Mungana National Park contains somewhere between 600 and 1000 limestone caves dating around 400 million years old. The place is an ancient coral reef and the caves are a unique display of crystalline deposits, stalactites and stalactites. Above ground nature has created a limestone 'karst' - a 45km long, 5km wide belt of folded and tilted limestone towers that form a rugged escarpment.
The Park is a haven for wildlife with numerous species of bats inhabiting the caves. It's also a rich source of fossilised megafauna.
Aboriginal occupation in the Chillagoe region dates back 37,000 years and a rich preserve of indigenous history and culture can be discovered throughout the district.
The Chillagoe 'Hub' serves as the centrepiece of tourism in the region and in that respect it's aptly named.
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