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Things to do
Camping is not permitted in Mount Whitfield Conservation Park.
There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Cairns. For more information see the tourism information links.
Four linked circuit walks ascend the slopes of the Whitfield Range, providing views over the city and to the north. The tracks are popular with joggers and, particularly the Red Arrow circuit, can be busy at times. Please be courteous to others using these tracks.
The Red and Blue Arrow circuits start from trail heads on Collins Avenue, Edge Hill—one near the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre and one to the east of the Tanks Art Centre. The Green Arrow starts towards the top of the Blue Arrow loop, ending at Bel Air Drive, Whitfield. The Yellow Arrow starts on Aeroglen Drive, Aeroglen and also joins up to the Blue Arrow circuit track. For a map of the walking tracks visit Cairns Regional Council - Mt Whitfield Conservation Park.
Red Arrow circuit (grade: moderate)
Distance: 1.5km return
Time: allow about 1hr walking time.
Details: begin the walk from either the trail head near the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre or to the east of the Tanks Art Centre. After about 300m from either starting point, the tracks come together at a large stand of bamboo.
From this point the track becomes a circuit. The right branch passes through an arch of the towering fishpole bamboo. Past the bamboo, the track continues uphill through open woodland to two lookouts, providing great views of the city, the coast and the busy Cairns airport.
The left branch of the circuit passes through a shady rainforest gully. Look for signs along the track that identify some of the interesting trees.
Blue Arrow circuit (grade: moderate)
Distance: 6km return
Time: allow about 4hr walking time.
Details: this walk climbs to over 30m altitude on a track that is sometimes steep and narrow and requires a moderate level of fitness. Walkers should allow plenty of time to complete the walk before it gets dark—do not start after 2:00pm.
The Blue Arrow circuit starts about half way around the Red Arrow circuit. The track begins with a steep 600m climb to a lookout with views of the coast north of Cairns and a glimpse of Lumley Hill. A short distance beyond the lookout the track divides into a circuit, which can be walked in either direction. The right branch passes through rainforest and open grassland before climbing steeply towards Lumley Hill. The left branch climbs through rainforest on stairs created by the roots of rainforest trees.
Green Arrow (grade: moderate)
Distance: 3km one way
Time: allow about 1.5hr walking time.
Details: this walk begins towards the top of the Blue Arrow loop and branches off to the west ending at Bel Air Drive, Whitfield.
Yellow Arrow (grade: moderate)
Distance: 1.9km return
Time: allow about 1.5hr walking time.
Details: this winding track contains many steps requiring a moderate level of fitness. This track can be accessed off Aeroglen Drive, connecting up to the first picnic shelter shed on the Blue Arrow circuit.
Halfway around the Blue Arrow circuit, a short, steep 400m side track climbs to the summit of Lumley Hill, 325m in altitude. The summit offers expansive views stretching inland to Red Peak Mountain and off-shore to Green Island.
Picnic and day-use areas
There are picnic shelters at the top of the Red Arrow circuit and at the lookout 600m from the beginning of the Blue Arrow circuit. The nearby Flecker Gardens and Centenary Lakes also provide opportunities for picnicking.
Mount Whitfield is a good place for birdwatching. The first part of the track is a favourite hangout for two interesting ground-dwelling birds—the Australian brush-turkey and the orange-footed scrubfowl. Buff-breasted paradise-kingfishers may be seen in the summer months and shy noisy pittas may be spotted in the denser, quieter rainforest sections. Listen for their distinctive 'walk-to-work' call.
Red-legged pademelons (small wallabies) browse in the forest, and swamp and agile wallabies are sometimes seen.
Read more about the nature, culture and history of Mount Whitfield Conservation Park.
Other things to do
Australia’s Gondwanan Heritage Garden is between the entrance to Mount Whitfield Conservation Park and Flecker Gardens. Signs along this short, flat walk explain evolutionary plant development. The Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre is near the entrance to Mount Whitfield Conservation Park. See Cairns Regional Council for more information.
Visit Flecker Gardens on Collins Avenue.
- There are currently no park alerts for this park.