Chillagoe Caves and Outback from Cairns Full-Day Tour

4.7 / 5

22 reviews

Chillagoe Caves and Outback from Cairns Full-Day Tour

From $150.39 per person

Journey back in history to spectacular outback landscapes, ancient coral reefs, limestone caves and Granite Gorge Nature Park. See an array of birdlife and wildlife, visit the Chillagoe smelters and Chillagoe Caves.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 11 hours
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Live tour guide


  • Explore the famous Chillagoe Caves with a local expert guide
  • Admire fossilized remains of the ancient coral reefs from 400 million years ago
  • Travel off the beaten track down exclusive backroads in a 4WD
  • Delve into history at the Chillagoe Copper Smelters and see Aboriginal Rock Art
  • Visit Granite Gorge Nature Park and see the rock wallabies
Full description
Your naturalist guide will meet you at your accommodation and after introductions all round, you will ascend the McAllister Ranges and head west through Mareeba embarking on a remarkable journey back to prehistoric times, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. The first stop is for morning tea (tea, coffee and cakes or a sausage roll). From here you will travel through the back blocks of a wetland area viewing wallabies, emus and other wildlife and then along the irrigated agricultural paddocks of this fertile area, eventually crossing over the Great Divide and into the Western watershed. Travel through historical towns and rolling hills rich in minerals eventually giving way to towering limestone karsts scattered around Chillagoe.  Stop in Chillagoe for the National Parks Cave tour. The fossilized remains of the ancient coral reefs with hidden limestone labyrinths give a portal to a lost world just like the Great Barrier Reef. Millions of years in the making, the limestone formations are nothing short of spectacular. Then delve into the history of the copper smelters, whose old chimneys dominate the western horizon. Visit the remains of the once mighty smelters to ponder what it was like working there, then visit Aboriginal Rock Art. Afterwards, it’s time for an Aussie pub lunch.  After lunch and a visit to the local souvenir shop, head back towards the East coast, stopping at Granite Gorge where you can feed wallabies and hold other indigenous animals. The tour then returns down the range to Cairns.
  • Naturalist guide
  • Pick-up and drop off (Cairns area only)
  • Air-conditioned 4WD vehicles
  • Morning tea at Skybury Coffee Plantation
  • Delicious Aussie pub lunch
  • Tour of Chillagoe caves
  • Visit to Aboriginal Rock Art
  • Tour of the Chillagoe Copper Smelters
  • National Park fees
  • Personal expenses
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
Traveler requirements
  • Customers must fill out a travel information form

Select participants and date



Prepare for the activity

Important information

What to bring

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Warm clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen

Not allowed

  • Pets
  • Oversize luggage
  • Luggage or large bags
  • Alcohol and drugs

Know before you go

  • Transfers can be arranged from Port Douglas at an additional cost
  • A reasonable level of fitness is required for this tour as there are steps into the caves and uneven ground.
  • The tour may be canceled or the itinerary changed due to wet season weather, where conditions may close roads and access to the caves.
  • This tour requires a minimum of 5 passengers to operate and may need to cancel if minimum numbers are not met.
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 22 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety
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We enjoyed this trip to the outback, seeing Royal Arches Caves, Balance Rock, Kangaroo's and Wallabies in the wild was truly and Australian experience. its a bit of a ride to the Chillagoe but interesting. Australia has a unique landscape from rainforest to desert rather quickly. strongly recommend a journey inland to round out your experience.

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24 February 2020

Fantastic day in the outback

My partner and I really enjoyed this tour. We’ve recently moved to Cairns and have been meaning to get out to Chillagoe. Great day out. Our guide Gav was fantastic too, knew his stuff! If you get a chance to head out that way we recommend it. There are quite a few caves out there so we might go back soon and see what else the area has to offer :)

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14 September 2019

Red dirt, limestone caves, tiny towns, wonderful wetlands!

This is a great tour for those who are keen to head west and explore a little more of far north Queensland. A very different experience from the coastal towns, days on the reef, and walks in the rainforest - the trip to Chillagoe via the Mareeba Wetlands is a fantastic way to explore another side of Queensland. The tour starts with a drive through the rainforest, across the fruit growing region, and into Mareeba to experience the wetlands and its plethora of birdlife (including a few friendly emus), then its back on the road through rural landscape and the tiny one-pub towns toward Chillagoe. The remnants of the smelter at Chillagoe are quite a sight and the history of the area complete with old photographs is well worth spending some time with during your stop at the local visitor centre. The caves at Chillagoe are magnificent inside and out. You'll be entertained and informed by the Billy Tea Safaris tour guide, and the ranger who leads the Chillagoe cave tours. A great day!

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8 December 2017

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Product ID: 11045