Charters Towers Gold Rush
Duration: 8 hours
Tour Code: TSV-002
Shortly after your arrival in Townsville, you will board your coach and head for the other side of the mountains to the Australian Outback. En route, you will have a chance to view the highlights of the city of Townsville before crossing the mountain ranges that lay to the west of the city. Your coach will ascend gradually to a low plateau of dry, undulating scrubland that is typical of so much of Australia's outback - a land of gum, goanna and kangaroo.
Lying approximately 87 miles southwest of Townsville, you will find the old gold rush town of Charters Towers, where you will be treated to some morning refreshments upon arrival. Today, Charters Towers is a city of over 10,000, but during the height of the gold rush, it maintained a population three times that size. In 1871, three itinerant prospectors discovered gold here and between that date and 1911, some seven million ounces of gold were extracted from the region. The enormous gold reserves prompted the building of Australia's first regional stock exchange. This magnificent heritage building has been fully restored in recent years and is an impressive sight to see. Grand hotels, banks and public buildings of that era are still in use today, affording the visitor a glimpse of what life must have been like back in those boom times.
Mining continues to be an important part of Charters Towers life, but the rich veins have long been worked out and the remaining gold can only be reached by modern, mechanised methods. These present day processes are a far cry from the pick and shovel or the steam driven processing which was carried out at the Venus Battery Mill. As part of your tour, you will have the opportunity to inspect this amazing remnant of the past which is the only mill remaining out of the 25 reducing mills that existed at the end of the 19th century. In recent years a few small-scale operations have recommenced, and gold is still being collected from the area. You may wish to keep your eyes open as you walk about as there is still gold waiting to be found. In fact, it's been said a few of the locals have been looking very pleased with themselves lately. Adding to your enjoyment, a local guide joins your tour and shares with you some colorful tales of the "olden days" as he provides an unforgettable commentary and insight into the history of Charters Towers.
Included in your tour is a casual lunch served at a local café. Your sightseeing will continue throughout the afternoon before returning to the ship in Townsville.
Please note: The sites on this tour are not wheelchair accessible and therefore, it is not available to wheelchair guests. Guests with mobility concerns are cautioned that they may experience uneven areas and there are some slight inclines. It is recommended that guests wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a hat, sunglasses and sun screen. Beverages are not included with lunch and are at guests' own expense. The order of sights visited may vary and the itinerary may be reversed. This tour does not operate with a separate guide, but rather with a driver/guide.