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.
Bedrock Village Caravan Park, Garnet St, (07) 4062 3193; or Mount Surprise Gems, Garland St (Savannah Way), (07) 4062 3055
Nearby national parks
Savannahlander:This unique train journey shows the rugged delights and beautiful landscapes between Mount Surprise and Cairns. Read More
Old Post Office Museum:
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 kmNext 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
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Undara Experience 28 kmThe 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 kmThis 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
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Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town
What's on around town