Trip Start May 08, 2008
65Trip End Jan 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
Aussie Outback Oasis Big 4
We travelled along the Gregory Development Road from Clermont to Charters Towers and it was an interesting trip as the scenery seemed to be changeable from very flat and straight with very little vegetation, to sections which were very wooded. Not many rest stops though. I actually mean there were not many places at all to get off the road - certainly nothing civilised like toilets or servos like we are used to. Also a lot of road trains on this road, and as I said not much room to move off the road at all, so careful driving as always outback.
Charters Towers is situated 90 minutes south-west of Townsville, "The World" as it is affectionately known, is a scenic gold mining city that's big on history and character.
The Caravan Park here is just absolutely beautiful, with massive big sites, immacutely clean and very well kept facilities and grounds.
From a chance discovery of gold in 1871 by a young Aboriginal horse boy, named Jericho, Charters Towers soon turned into a bustling metropolis, which in its heyday boasted being the second largest city in Queensland. At the height of the gold rush the town included 11 ore crushing mills, 65 hotels and one of the very first regional Stock Exchanges in Australia, which still stands today in the main Street. We visited this beautiful building today, along with The World Heritage Theatre which was originally the Commercial Bank. The town has done a magnificent job of transforming the old Bank building into a beautiful, plush theatre which holds 600 odd people, and 2 modern movie theatres while still maintaining the heritage of the old building.
The city heart is beautifully preserved and comprises One Square Mile of historic and magnificent buildings. During the late 1800s the money made on the Stock Exchange flowed into the flourishing community. The newly rich citizens built palatial homes and magnificent buildings.
We did a tour of the Venus Gold Battery which was fascinating and gave visitors an wonderful insight into the workings of the old Battery or Mill. One of the highlights was a terrific holographic firm presentation that showed the process of extracting gold from ore. Between the gold rush years of 1872 and 1916 the Venus Battery produced over half a million ounces of gold.
There is also another holographic film on Towers Hill, where the gold was first discovered. Great place to watch the sunset.
The whole town has an ongoing theme running through it and it relates to the so-called ghosts residing in the town. It is called The Ghosts of Gold Heritage Trail and is an excellent marketing tool and makes things more interesting. Apparently the story goes that nobody actually ever leaves Charters Towers, their ghosts remain forever.
There was a gourmet pizza night on Saturday night. What an experience eating great pizzas, a glass of red, a fire and chatting with lots of interesting people. We cannot believe how much travel people have done, and still keep going. It actually does seem to be a bit like of badge of honour relaying their trips and escapades. Met a lovely couple with two daughters who were on the road for 12 months, giving their girls an insight to their country and heritage.
Absoulutely loved our stay in Charters Towers - the town, the characters, the caravan park all were fantastic. Only had one little hiccup - we set ourselves up on the wrong site - was sitting having breakfast on our first morning and I glanced over the road to see the site number. Oops we should be over there!!! I, of course directed the driver the wrong way, again!!! None of this looking at site numbers, just pick the site you like the best and set up. The owners were fine; thank goodness we didn't have to move. Ah well, our first blunder this trip!
Looking forward to Townsville.