Mount Surprise

Population 162

Mount Surprise is a historic rail town in the Gulf Savannah. Its name comes from the surprise the Aboriginal people felt when they were resting at the base of the mountain and the loud white people of Ezra Firth's pioneer party arrived in 1864. The region has excellent gemfields for fossicking, especially for topaz, quartz and aquamarine. The town is on the edge of the Undara lava field, formed from the craters of the McBride Plateau. The lava caves can be explored in Undara Volcanic National Park.

Visitor Information

Bedrock Village Caravan Park, Garnet St, (07) 4062 3193; or Mount Surprise Gems, Garland St (Savannah Way), (07) 4062 3055

Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Chillagoe

    Chillagoe is a small outback town west of Cairns and the Atherton Tableland. Once a thriving mining town after silver and copper deposits...more

  • Ravenshoe

    At 930 metres, Ravenshoe is the highest town in Queensland. Situated on the Atherton Tableland, it is surrounded by World Heritage...more

  • Herberton

    Known as the 'Village in the Hills', Herberton sits about 1000 metres above sea level on the south-west ranges of the Atherton Tableland....more

In Town

Savannahlander: This unique train journey shows the rugged delights and beautiful landscapes between Mount Surprise and Cairns. Read More


Old Post Office Museum: documents the bush history of the region in a historic 1870 building; opposite railway station.

Mount Surprise Gems: runs tours to nearby fossicking spots and provides licences; Garland St.


Undara Volcanic National Park Undara, an Aboriginal word for long, accurately describes the tubes in Undara Volcanic National Park east of Mount Surprise. The cooling molten lava of an erupted volcano formed the 90 km of hollow underground lava tubes. At 160 kilometres, one of the lava tubes here is the longest on earth. (Read More) The caves in nearby Chillagoe–Mungana Caves National Park are a feast for the senses, with bat colonies and richly decorative stalactites and stalagmites. The incredible geological history of the area is detailed at The Hub in Chillagoe. Tours are necessary to visit both the tubes and the caves; bookings on 1800 990 992; day tours also run from Bedrock Village. See the eggcup-shaped crater on the 2.5 km Kalkani Crater circuit or go birdwatching to see some of the park's 120 bird species. (07) 4046 6600; 42 km E.

O'Brien's Creek: renowned for quality topaz; obtain a licence before fossicking; 37 km NW.

Tallaroo Hot Springs: 5 natural springs created over centuries; open Easter–Sept; 48 km NW.

Forty Mile Scrub National Park: vine-thicket park on the McBride Plateau with informative short circuit track from day area; (07) 4046 6600; 56 km E.

Georgetown: small town once one of many small goldmining settlements on the Etheridge Goldfields; noted for its gemstones, especially agate, and gold nuggets; 82 km W.

Forsayth: old mining town; 132 km SW.

Cobbold Gorge: guided boat tours through sandstone gorge; bookings essential (07) 4062 5470. A full-day tour to Forsayth and the gorge also runs from Bedrock Village; 167 km SW via Forsayth.

Agate Creek: fossick for gemstones; 187 km SW via Forsayth.

Campsites around town

Undara Experience 27 km

Next to Undara Volcanic National Park and its lava-tube cave system, the Undara Experience has a spacious caravan park and campground with laundry, swimming pool, bar and restaurant. Other accommodation options on site... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Mount Surprise Tourist Park

The park is located in the centre of town and has grassy sites, large shady trees and a cafe/restaurant. It has basic amenities and there is an adjoining service station. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Bedrock Village Caravan Park 1 km

This is an owner-operated park that is very clean and has good facilities. It also offers a selection of tours in its buses to Undara Lava Tubes, Cobbold Gorge and other destinations. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more

Undara Experience 28 km

The camping area, part of Undara Lava Lodge, is 40 km east of Mount Surprise. The final 15 km of access is gradually being sealed and on our last visit only a few kilometers of gravel remained. Nestled at the edge of... Find out more

Midway Caravan Park 83 km

This park is 500 metres from the town centre on the main through-road. It is a smaller park with good basic facilities and a service station completes the complex. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Mount Garnet Travellers Park 99 km

This is a spacious park with shade and green grass in a quieter off-highway position. It has good amenities. Bookings required at Easter and long weekends.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Undara Experience

This certainly is a surprise, with unusual accommodation in 25 restored early 20th-century wooden railway carriages, some with ensuite. The bush breakfast around the campfire is memorable, and other meals are served... Find out more

What's on around town

Campdraft: Aug.

comments powered by Disqus