Comment: Chillagoe to Laura via Maytown (Old Coach Rd)

Submitted: Monday, Feb 16, 2015 at 14:51
ThreadID: 111132 Views:3529 Replies:6 FollowUps:8
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We're heading up the Cape mid to late June and are looking at going through the middle, Chillagoe up to Laura, but am unable to find a lot of info on road conditions, travel times etc. Are you able to elaborate more on this for me or direct me to somewhere that can. Anything I "google" keeps sending me out toward Mareeba and Atherton Tablelands etc.
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Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Monday, Feb 16, 2015 at 17:46

Monday, Feb 16, 2015 at 17:46
We were up there last May, the road from Palmerville station was locked off and enforced by NPWS, as they were caretaking the Strubers(Drama in the Palmer fame) property. We ended up having to go in via whites creek road, couple of days around Maytown and then down the old coach road to Laura. The old coach road took about 9 hrs. Camped at Dogleg creek, it was wonderful, the only people we came across was when packing up, were a couple of old prospectors.
When in Chillagoe, you must call in and say good day to Tom Prior, he runs the BP depot and has a bit of a vehicle museum, also somewhat of a legend in those parts, have known Tom for some 18 odd years and you wont meet anyone like him.
Ps, the committal hearings for the Stubers began on December 8th, but so far I haven't heard any outcome.
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Follow Up By: B Force - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 09:58

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 09:58
So the 9hrs you mention, is that just Maytown to Laura on the Old Coach Road?

This is the only bit of the trip I'm stuck on. Is Chillagoe to Laura through Palmerville/Maytown or thereabouts, in a day, even possible then?

I have a number for the Ranger Station at Chillagoe, think I'll have to give them a call.
FollowupID: 833762

Reply By: Member - Rosco from way back - Monday, Feb 16, 2015 at 17:49

Monday, Feb 16, 2015 at 17:49
I can't remember the exact details, but we tried that run in reverse about 10 years ago. At the time there was a sour old coot who owned a property you needed to traverse. He kept the gates locked to prevent through traffic, notwithstanding it was a gazetted road. However the track may well have wandered off the road reserve which may have been his reasons.

Someone else will doubtless have more up to doubt info.
AnswerID: 546031

Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 11:44

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 11:44
In reply to "is Chillagoe to Laura via Maytown doable in one day", imho no, it would be reckless to attempt it, unless you can get access through Palmerville Station.
Aside from that, you would be missing out the great wealth of Australian history by not spending at least a day in and around Maytown. There are numerous abandoned mine sites, some still with the machinery in place, the main area of Maytown, the cemetery and the lime kilns, a whole lot of history and magnificent scenery to enjoy.
Factor into your itinerary if possible, at least an overnight stop in the area.
AnswerID: 546074

Follow Up By: B Force - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 11:55

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 11:55
Thank you. That's the info I've been after. It's clear that the tracks would be difficult and time consuming but there's nothing specific. At the Melbourne Caravan/Camping Show on the weekend there was a lady from Mount Surprise (Undara) and even she knew nothing of the tracks between there. And otherwise a lot of the info is outdated and pre-Palmerville Station "issues".

So the practical way would be Chillagoe to Maytown (via Palmerville Rd), an overnight stay and then up to Laura (via the Old Coach Rd) - was it this second part you were referring to as taking you 9 hours?

Unfortunately just because of time, this may cut this part of the trip out for us and if we still want to see the caves at Chillagoe we may have to look at coming out back down to the Development Rd and round to Laura the quick/easy way.
FollowupID: 833768

Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 12:03

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 12:03
Sounds probably the best thing to do, the Old Coach Road would be equal to or more challenging than the OTL, and in the Maytown area there is so many tracks, you could possibly get lost, unless your using a good mapping program.
Check with the ranger that the road from Chillagoe to Fairview is open, it runs straight past the front of the Struber's and comes out not far from Laura . Haven't been on that particular road for sometime, but would be a good short cut.
AnswerID: 546075

Follow Up By: B Force - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 12:05

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 12:05
Food for thought, thanks very much for your help!
FollowupID: 833769

Follow Up By: Member - Tony F8 - Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 12:05

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 at 12:05
PS. That road runs through Wrotham Park, this may help you find mapping for it and you get to cross the Mitchell River, which is always fun.
FollowupID: 833770

Follow Up By: BunderDog - Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 10:03

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 10:03
You could also go up to Gamboola and cross the Mitchel there and go through King's Junction and Kimba to the Development road.
FollowupID: 833821

Follow Up By: B Force - Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 10:39

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 10:39
Thanks, all the feedback is great. We have a car coming across from Karumba to meet up with us and also someone flying into Cairns that needs to be collected and a couple of car loads of small kids. So, Chillagoe to Laura via Mareeba seems like the best and easiest compromise. Otherwise our trip plans are looking pretty much done and pretty awesome.
FollowupID: 833828

Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 12:45

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 12:45
We went up to Cape York a couple of years ago & my husband was talking to a couple who'd done the track which I think you could be talking of.
Apparently they spoke of it being very narrow, with crumbling edges. Places which were pretty hairy as in straight down drops etc.
No where to turn around if things got too rough for you & very steep in places.

These were very adventurous people. Their comment was that they were glad they had done it but glad they had got through it but wouldn't do it again. Hubby said they didn't seem to bee skyting types.

That's what I was told second hand, it may not be the track you are speaking of but it was somewhere near there. It went across the Palmer River somewhere.
They had to go through a tunnel which scraped the sides of thier vehicle & some bush bashing as well.
I'd have a talk to the Ranger & the Policeman for the best advise.
Take care, safe travels Ma.
FollowupID: 833834

Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 13:24

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 13:24
B. Force,
I've bee looking & Googled Palmer Goldfield & Maytown & found this site, it may be helpful.

Queensland Government Department of National Parks, sports & racing.
It mentions many old mining tracks in the area. You could contact them.

When we were up there we didn't have the time and also there had been a suspected murder & all were advised to keep away, We went through Mareeba.
Enjoy your trip. Ma
FollowupID: 833835

Reply By: rumpig - Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 20:23

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at 20:23
If you jump on YouTube, search "Offroad Highlights from the Old Coach Road - Cape York"'ll show you what the track is like.
AnswerID: 546141

Reply By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 17:53

Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 17:53
We travelled this path last year in June/July. We were 1st told that the gates were locked by the Stn Owner, etc but as we got closer to Chillagoe, the NPWS said the gates weren't actually locked, just looked that way and if they were locked to contact them as they should not be locked...... We had heard all the stories about the goings on up there and I was quite nervous... When we got to the gate I got out and walked up to the HS to speak with someone... The old chap came out and asked us where we were going and then kindly directed us in the right direction..... Once we got out the other side of the Maytown Track near Laura, it was then that we spoke to a local who said that we were very game in coming that way and told us some more of the local stories of what apparently happened.... The old chap we spoke to was the care taker as the Stn Owner was making his court appearance for his involvement is the murder of the local Gold Prospector....

Would I go that way again.... not sure. It was a great road and some nice scenery but there's no real need for us head back that way again..... it would all depend on which direction I was coming from.....
Cheers..... RobM
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