Escape the busy city life of Cairns and hit the open road up to Ravenshoe – A tiny, sleepy country town located in the misty mountains of Atherton Tablelands. Here you will experienced the laid-back lifestyle where “time and rush” syndrome don’t exist but relaxation, tranquility of quietness and attractions of natural environments are admired and felt. This is one of my favourite places in Far North Queensland. Located just 123 kilometres south west of the regional centre, Cairns is the Queensland’s highest town with Queensland’s highest pub “The Ravenshoe Hotel” (formerly known as the Tully Falls hotel until 2014) and highest railway station.
Just five minutes drive out of the Ravenshoe township is the Millstream Falls, the widest waterfall in Australia. Traditionally, the main industry in Ravenshoe was timber, but since 1987, when the government made 900,00 hectares of surrounding rainforest world heritage listed, the main industries have been tourism, beef and dairy farming.
History in brief: The traditional owners of the land in the Ravenshoe district are the Jirrbal people who speak a dialect of the Dyirbal language. The site of the present day Ravenshoe was first settled by pastoralists prior to 1881. John Moffat purchased the pastoral properties in 1897. By 1910, the nearby mining town of Herberton was connected by railway to Cairns and Cedar Creek village was renamed Ravenshoe. By 1912, Ravenshoe had a store, a school, the Club Hotel and a population of 1,000 people. It was not until 11 December 1916 when Ravenshoe was finally connected with Cairns by the Tablelands railway line. Roads connected Ravenshoe with Atherton and Innisfail in 1936 and in 1949 there were three sawmills, two hotels, two cinemas, a guest house and two churches. The railway service from Atherton to Ravenshoe closed in 1988, following the designation of the Wet Tropics of Queensland as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, Ravenshoe is a sleepy little town with minimal tourism activity.
This tiny town of Ravenshoe has many natural attractions and is located to waterfalls, crater lakes, swamps, water holes, rainforest and historical landmarks. There are diverse variety of plants and animals, including 12 species of possum, 8 species of Kangaroo and abundant bird life. In 2005, Malaan National Park was declared over forests which were previously known as Dirran State Forest. Today, you can either go bushwalking in the Misty Mountain Wilderness trails which are network of extensive walking tracks that traverse Tully Gorge National Park and Wooroonooran National Park. Also, there are bush walks to the Millstream Falls as well as Little Millstream Falls.
For those visitors to the town that don’t like bushwalking, you can relax on the steam train. From time to time, a steam train runs between Ravenshoe and the nearby town of Tumoulin, carrying locals and tourists to and from the local markets. The ride takes about 30 minutes.
The town has a number of galleries and creative industries, reflecting the nature of the locals. The Windy Hill Wind Farm owned by Queensland Government’s Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund (together with the Koombooloomba hydroelectric dam) generates enough electricity to power several towns.
To take time away from the busy life of the cities, a visit to the township of Ravenshoe is the way to escape that stress and take time to yourself or with family in a relaxed atmosphere. This is one of my favourite place in far north Queensland that I visit on weekly basis to relax, escape the busy city life and taking time to myself to find inner peace and comfort away from everything. This is the place where I not only come to detox physically but both mentally and emotionally.
Whenever, I am there, just before sunset and sunrise, I take my little dog (Mindi) with me and take a 3 minutes drive up to Windy Hill Wind Farm hill top. This is a great location in Ravenshoe not only for watching sunset and sunrise but enjoying the view of the vast landscape that many times it mystifies me. I not only come to admire the natural beauty but enjoy it at the same time. It is very rare to see anyone up there and I am quiet surprise that not even local people take time to enjoy this incredible scenery.
As the sun slowly disappears on the horizon and the darkness starts to emerge, I think how landscape photography will become a picture perfect to capture. Whatever we capture does tells a story from a simple click to a journey of thousand memories in years to come.
From a personal perspective: Whether it is a sunset in the evenings or sunrise in the morning, the beauty it offers to us is endless. We come to enjoy what the mother nature provides us on daily basis. Spending time to yourself on a remote location away from the busy city life truly brings so much comfort and satisfaction where only you can find within yourself. I certainly found it to be profoundly stimulating.
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