Situated on the crossroads of the Great Inland Way and the Overlander’s Way (Flinders Highway) about five hours drive from the Atherton region and 90 minutes inland from Townsville, Charters Towers, ‘The World’ as it’s affectionately known, is a scenic gold mining city that’s alive with history and character.
From a chance discovery of gold in 1872 by a young Aboriginal horse boy, Jupiter Mosman, Charters Towers soon turned into a bustling metropolis which, in its heyday, was Queensland’s second largest city.
At the height of the gold rush the city included 11 crushing mills, 65 hotels and one of the very first regional Stock Exchanges in Australia, which still stands proudly at the intersection of Gill and Mosman Streets. With a population now of around 9,000 in the town and 3,000 in surrounding areas, you’ll find the services, facilities and shopping here that you’ll want after a hard day’s drive.
Today life here is a little less hectic, with visitors able to explore the rich heritage of Charters Towers at their own pace. The Visitor Information Centre is staffed with local volunteers who are more than happy to point you towards the many man-made historical structures, stunning examples of very special architecture beautifully preserved from the wealthy days of the gold rush, and the natural attractions that abound in the area.
Although mining continues to be an important part of life in the region and the old fashioned crushers have long laid silent, links to the glory days of mining life can still be explored at the Venus Gold Battery, The Miner’s Cottage, Zara Clark Museum, Towers Hill and the Stock Exchange Arcade. Guided bus and walking tours will take you to places most people will miss and the night-time guided ghost tour will take you to corners that some say characters of the past still frequent! Tour schedules change through the seasons but your “outback mates” in the information centre will be your best source of reference for tour times.