Charters Towers is in the Burdekin Basin south-west of Townsville. The town's gold rush began on 25 December 1871 when Aboriginal horse-boy Jupiter discovered gold while looking for lost horses. He brought gold-laden quartz to his employer, Hugh Mosman, who rode to Ravenswood to register the claim, and the gold rush was on. Between 1872 and 1916 Charters Towers produced ore worth £25 million. At the height of the gold rush it was Queensland's second largest city and was commonly referred to as 'The World' because of its cosmopolitan population. This rich history can be seen in the preserved streetscapes of 19th- and 20th-century architecture, with many beautiful buildings including the Bank of Commerce, now restored as the New World Theatre Complex. To the north-west of Charters Towers is the 120-kilometre Great Basalt Wall, a lava wall created from the Toomba basalt flow.
74 Mosman St; (07) 4761 5533
Nearby national parks
Ghosts of Gold Heritage Trail This informative tour reveals the rich history of the town in the district known as 'One Square Mile'. Over 60 heritage-listed buildings are in the precinct. Of particular interest are the re-created workings of the Stock Exchange in Mosman St; the once heavily mined Towers Hill (1.5 km W) with interpretive walking trails and a film screening at night; and the Venus Gold Battery in Millchester Rd, an old gold-processing plant where the 'ghosts' come alive. Starts in the orientation centre behind the visitor centre.
Folk Museum:local historical memorabilia; Mosman St.
Civic Club: once a gentlemen's club, this remarkable building (1900) still contains the original billiard tables; Ryan St.
Rotary Lookout: panoramic views over region; Fraser St.
Dalrymple National Park This small national park on the Burdekin River comprises mainly woodland and is an important area for native animals including rock wallabies and sugar gliders. A highlight is the 4 million-year-old solidified lava wall, the Great Basalt Wall, parts of which are accessible from this park. The site of the old Dalrymple township is also of interest. Contact the ranger before setting out on any walks; (07) 4722 5224; 46 km N.
Greenvale: near the Gregory Development Rd with a roadhouse, caravan park, golf course and the well-known Three Rivers Hotel, made famous by Slim Dusty's song of the same name; 209 km NW.
Burdekin Falls Dam: recreation area with barramundi fishing; 165 km SE via Ravenswood.
Blackwood National Park: a woodland park of undulating hills and stony ridges. See the Belyando blackwood trees that give the park its name, and walk on fire trails to discover the park's interesting birdlife including squatter pigeons and speckled warblers; (07) 4722 5224; 180 km S.
Campsites around town
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Caravan parks around town
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Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town
What's on around town
National Trust Markets: Stock Exchange Arcade; 1st and 3rd Sun each month.
Showgrounds Markets: Cnr Mary and Show sts; 2nd Sun each month.
Goldfield Ashes Cricket Carnival: Jan.
Ten Days in the Towers: festival including music and bush poets; Apr–May.
Country Music Festival: May Day weekend.
Charters Towers Show: July.