On any given day, when there is less traffic on the road and without road construction, the road trip from cairns to Ravenshoe township will only take less than 2 hours drive. But to enjoy the scenery of the Gillies windy Range and other attractions along the way, you’re expected to reach Ravenshoe township within 5 hours drive.
The drive from the bottom of Gillies Range to the top is a 19km windy road. Many times, I’ve driven up this 19km windy road and never took the time to stop and appreciate the smell of the fresh air up the Gillies Range and the attractions of the area. I decided to start my road trip early, so I could be in Ravenshoe town just before midday as the day was more important to me then the timing. I left Cairns without a sight of clouds in the sky and this gave me an indication that it was going to be nice drive up the range. As I left Cairns and started to made my way up from the bottom of the Gillies Range, I started to feel the cool breeze and smell the freshness of the air. I just felt that, it was just a right temperature at that very moment of the morning. There were not many vehicles on the road heading up the range and I felt that this was the perfect moment to take my time up the range and really experience the 19km windy road.
As I slowly drove up the range and within few minutes, I had my first stop at Heales Lookout, which is almost near the top of the range. Heales Lookout, is the Scenic Gillies Highway which connects the Atherton Tableland with Gordonvale and Cairns and passes through the lush Mulgrave Valley. The view here is just amazing and not to be missed. For any visitors driving up the range, it is highly recommended to stop and take a look at the view yourself and appreciate the natural environment.
After enjoying this breath-taking view, I then continued driving to Lake Barrine and here you start to feel the cool atmosphere of the Atherton Tablelands. Lake Barrine, is a freshwater lake situated on the eastern parts of Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, Australia, close to Lake Eacham. It is beautiful and enchanting natural lake hidden in World Heritage Rainforest. In brief history, Lake Barrine is something special because it is actually a water filled crater left by a volcanic eruption approximately 10,000 years ago. For any visitors, who are keen hikers or walkers, they can take a leisurely easy walking track around the lake or take a short cruise on the lake. For those, who just want to enjoy the pristine natural surroundings, there is a cafe right on the river front.
Since, it was cool in the morning and a perfect day without a storm in sight, I thought it was time to wind down and just enjoy the quietness in this beautiful hidden pristine environment. This was the moment, I was going to spent some quality time to myself. After few relaxing moments, I then continued my drive, passing Yungaburra township turn-off and continued through to the tiny township of Malanda and Tarzali before turning off Evelyn Drive road to MillaMilla Lookout which is about 300 metres from the road. MillaMilla Lookout is a view that no person want to miss and the birds eye-view of the area Tablelands is something that you not only want to see it but photograph it. The view here also captures the township of MillaMilla, other parts of Tablelands and Mount Bartle Frere, which is the Queensland’s highest mountain.
From MillaMilla Lookout to Ravenshoe township only takes about 20 minutes drive. It was just before midday, I was in Ravenshoe. The township of Ravenshoe is surrounded by natural wonders like Millstream Falls and Lake Koombooloomba. It is Queensland’s highest town and is 920 metres above sea level and is home to Windy Hill wind farm which generates enough electricity to supply approximately 3,500 homes. Created on the extinct Windy Hill volcano in 2000 and its 20 wind turbines take advantage of the consistent winds on the volcano’s slopes.
In the middle of the main road, is the strip of plants and it is quite spectacular when the plants blooms and shows their exotic natural beauty but there is one particular section that is surrounded by ground-cover plants is quite special – the shrine, in memory of few locals that have died during a gas explosion which made headlines around the country (Australia).
Below is the video of the Ravenshoe explosion that capture the nation