Black Mountain Road - FNQ

Submitted: Monday, Jul 23, 2018 at 19:50
ThreadID: 137026 Views:1114 Replies:8 FollowUps:8
This Thread has been Archived
Good Evening All

For those that are looking for something different to do when up in Far North Queensland, you will not find this little drive on your tourist maps, and unfortunately I am not sure why, not even the full drive on EOTopo Maps.

The Black Mountain Road is a great drive that we started at Kuranda and wound our way through the Kuranda and Mowbray National Parks and back out on the bitumen near Julatten.

You pass through virgin tropical rainforest, before entering cleared areas that have been planted with pines, and then back into National Parks Rainforests. The road is closed when it is wet and when you drive it, you will know why.

So when you are in the Cairns area and would like to drive a road that is not on the tourist attractions lists, make sure that you do not overlook the Black Mountain Road.


Cheers


Stephen





















Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 6 Moderator

Reply By: gke - Monday, Jul 23, 2018 at 21:10

Monday, Jul 23, 2018 at 21:10
Stephen, we drove that road Nth. To South a few years ago and it is indeed a great drive. We even managed a small campsite alongside a creek in the forested area. The bird life was amazing.
Regards, Graham.
AnswerID: 620305

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:07

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:07
Hi Graham

I can not understand why this great drive does not get any publicity, and we were the only ones on the road. The bird life is unreal and your camp would have been great.



Cheers



Stephen
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 892720

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Jul 23, 2018 at 22:32

Monday, Jul 23, 2018 at 22:32
Thanks Stephen, it looks like a fabulous drive. I think I have tracked it on Google Maps.

Does this look right?

A photo of a creek crossing showing a log is daunting - or was that alongside the crossing?
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 620311

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:18

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:18
Hi Motherhen

It sure is a great drive and we stumbled upon it by chance. There is nothing to worry about with the numerous creek crossings, as they all have good concrete bridges over them. The one exception is were brainless four wheel drivers have made a track alongside one of the bridges just to say they have driven down and up the steep bank and driven across the creek crossing.

It you look at user treks here on ExplorOz, I have loaded my track file for the drive, titled Mareeba - Black Mountain Road and it show you an accurate track for the drive.

They do have access gates at both ends of the drive that they lock when it is wet.


Cheers



Stephen
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 892721

Reply By: Member - Warren H - Monday, Jul 23, 2018 at 22:40

Monday, Jul 23, 2018 at 22:40
Hi Stephen,
Gee you get around. It was interesting to read your post. I am originally from Cairns and knew about the road from many years ago, afaik in the 1970's a bridge burnt out and you could no longer get through to Julatten. Very interesting to learn that it's reopened, not too many times that happens! A number of roads in FNQ that took you to some wonderful places quickly became untrafficable once the world heritage area was declared, as they were logging roads maintained by the Forestry Dept. No problem with the declaration btw, it needed to happen. Didn't prevent some gross environmental vandalism though with the George Quaid/Joh inspired road from Cape Tribulation to Bloomfield. Once saw a tourist bus on this road charge a water crossing to create a big bow wave for tourists to film, unfortunately one of the environmental concerns about the road was the delivery of sediment to the reefs that actually meet the shore in this section of the GBR. A responsible tour operator? I hope they are now out of business.
Cheers Warren
NT Pajero
2007 Goldstream Crown

Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 620312

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:28

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:28
Hi Warren

You can still see a few of the original old log bridge crossings on some of the creek crossings, but the new concrete bridges make it an easy drive.

One thing that I have not shown is the brand new bitumen road that you cross over mid way through the drive. There are locked gates to stop access on this unreal road that was made in the late 1980's. The government built the bitumen road all the way across the range, but there was suck an outcry, the road has never seen vehicle access from one side to the other.

Let's hope the Black Mountain Road stays open for responsible drivers to enjoy.


Cheers




Stephen
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 892722

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:47

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:47
Thanks Stephen, you bought back some memories about that road and it would be around 25 years since I have ben on it. I remember well that it used to be pretty slippery in the wet, guess they would have shoved some road base on top since then.

BTW. From memory Keith Quad built that road as a private road but it was never gazetted by the Government and remained locked.
AnswerID: 620316

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:56

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:56
Hi Eagle

Through the pine plantation sections, the road is very good with a vey firm base. In the National Parks middle section, large stones cover the track and if it was in its natural state, it would be very trying when wet indeed.

I wonder why Keith built that bitumen road, as it must have cost him millions and it seems a waste of a very good bitumen road that all could benifit from.




Cheers



Stephen


Ps...on one note, is there any reason why this great drive seems to be a local kept secret?
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 892724

Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 08:07

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 08:07
Stephen, from memory he started a development and the road was to have serviced it and be used as a general thoroughfare. I don't think it ever got off the ground. He also built a fairly large dam on the edge of the Marreba-Mt Molloy road in front of the Hann tableland. I bet Ergon weren't to happy as some of their feeder power poles ended up in the water.
1
FollowupID: 892726

Reply By: gke - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:54

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 07:54
Stephen you have me thinking. I think you mean Kuranda not Mareeba. My memory is of the road meeting the highway just East of Kuranda.
The road is marked 4wd on the RACQ map of the area.
Graham.
AnswerID: 620317

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 08:04

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 08:04
Hi Graham

Yes we travelled to Kuranda from Mareeba. After crossing the Barron River Bridge, it was the very first road on our left, only sign posted Black Mountain Road, and no indication of it being a great tropical rain Forrest drive.

Another strange thing was that at no stage was there any mention on the track at all about being for four wheel drives.



Cheers




Stephen
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 892725

Reply By: dermie66 - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 21:57

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018 at 21:57
Hi Stephen an Co

It is indeed a nice little drive and unless its wet, you don't need 4wd. There is active pine forestry carried out by HQPlantations Pty Ltd who leased all Qld State plantation forestry in 2010 so the road is very well maintained and its not uncommon to encounter logging trucks at certain times of year (or the odd idiot on a trail bike).

In a number of places in the NP section before and after the pine forestry you will find overgrown old logging and Telecom tracks that head off into the rainforest. These are terrific short walks on which I often see Cassowaries and other birds and unfortunately the odd feral pig. There are a number of unofficial foot trails from Black Mtn Rd down to Clifton and Kewarra Beaches and along the ridge to Saddle Mtn (BoM radar site) but I wouldn't recommend these. I made some of the trails through some pretty thick rainforest and walk them from time to time and I still get lost. The Twin Bridges side track is now foot/mtn bike traffic only, this is where the bridge burnt many years ago.

The Quaid Road is gated at each end and only accessible from Black Mtn Rd or other forestry tracks. It was constructed by George Quaid (not the govt) in the 80s from Wangetti on the coast (Cook Hwy) to the Mulligan Hwy just south of Mt Molloy at the dam he built without approval on Southedge Station. He was trying to flog it as a site for multi-function polis (remember the MFP trend that never took off in the 80s? And yes, dear ol Joh encouraged George to undertake this sort of activity. The road was never properly engineered and has suffered significantly from collapse and erosion at the Wangetti end where it comes down the steep slopes of the MacAlister Range. At its prime it would have barely coped with a rigid truck of 20T let alone a truck with a dog trailer or B Double config. You can however drive from where Black Mt Road intersects with it to near the eastern end and part way down the range on the left you'll find a foot track into Wangetti Falls (about 1/2 km). Top little swimming spot.

Near the Julatten end is the infamous Bump Track carved out by Christie Palmeston when the Hodgkinson goldfields were supplied from Pt Douglas before the development of Cairns. The Bump track is a sensational walk to the coast (abt 3 hours) through a range of forest types and with some magnificent views and a side track to the delightful Mowbray Falls. It is steep in parts but wide and easily trafficable. The Bump was still used as a road until after WWII where was mined in case of invasion and rather than disarm the mines they blew them up after the war. It is open to mtn bikers and forms part of the national horse trail as well. You used to be able to camp at the adjacent Wetherby Station but I'm not sure if they are still taking in campers, try googling if interested.

Certainly a nice way to spend a day and not well known as tourist drive but that's a good thing.

Cheers
AnswerID: 620329

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2018 at 07:39

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2018 at 07:39
Hi Dermie

Thank you very much for that piece of history on the Black Mountain Road, it is greatly appreciated.


Cheers


Stephen
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 892751

Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Jul 27, 2018 at 13:49

Friday, Jul 27, 2018 at 13:49
Hi Stephen, a great looking drive. We are heading up that way in Sept./Oct. this year. We are towing an 18' Full Off Road van, is this road suitable for vans? From the look of the photos it does not seem to pose a problem.

Macca.
Macca.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 620365

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jul 28, 2018 at 17:39

Saturday, Jul 28, 2018 at 17:39
Hi Macca

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but have been staying at Elim Beach for the last 2 days with no internet.

What you could do, is base yourself for a few days in the area and make a days drive of it. The forestry sections would be no problems, but it could be very tight in some of the National Parks sections.

All the Best


Stephen
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 892793

Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Jul 29, 2018 at 08:45

Sunday, Jul 29, 2018 at 08:45
Thanks Stephen, always enjoy your trip comments & photos.

Macca.
Macca.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 620384

Popular Content

Popular Products (14)