Visiting the Goldfield trail safely
The Goldfield trail links the Boulders Scenic Reserve, 7km from Babinda, and Goldsborough Valley day-use and camping areas, 46km south of Cairns.
Both ends of the Goldfield trail can be reached by conventional vehicle but access roads, bridges and the trail may be closed due to flooding, particularly during the wetter months (December to April). The ends of the trail are over 60km apart by road and neither is serviced by public transport. Walkers should consider this before setting out and arrange transport at their destination, or consider returning to their starting point. Alternatively the trail could be walked on different days, from either the Boulders Scenic Reserve or Goldsborough Valley, as two separate return trips.
See Queensland Traffic for information about road and travel conditions.
Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
The north-west end of the trail is at the far end of the Goldsborough Valley camping area, 46km south of Cairns. Travel 24km south of Cairns along the Bruce Highway and turn right onto the Gillies Highway at Gordonvale. Continue along this road for 6km to the Goldsborough Valley turn-off on the left. Cross Peets Bridge and continue for 16km through farms and cane fields to the camping and day-use area. The last 5km is unsealed, narrow and winding but suitable for conventional vehicles, with caution. Please drive slowly and watch for wildlife and oncoming traffic.
The south-east end of the trail is at the Boulders Scenic Reserve, 7km west of Babinda. Drive 57km south of Cairns along the Bruce Highway to Babinda. Turn right into Munro Street and follow the signs to The Boulders Scenic Reserve.
A wheelchair-accessible gate is located at the start of the Goldfields trail. This is a locked gate but keyed with an MLAK series lock, so is accessible to all disabled persons with an MLAK key.
There is a wheelchair-accessible toilet at Mulgrave River (Goldfield Trail) camping area.
There are wheelchair-accessible toilets and day-use areas at both ends of the trail.
Walking the Goldfield trail is an extremely rewarding journey, but is also potentially dangerous. Rocks can be very slippery, the water cold and water levels can change suddenly and without warning. Flash floods are common in the wetter months.
- Never jump or dive into water—there may be submerged objects.
- Take care around steep slopes and rock faces along the track, and at lookouts.
- Stay on the track and take care on uneven surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long-sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
- Wear insect repellent, adequate clothing and sturdy footwear for protection against stings, scratches and bites.
- When cycling, wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your cycling abilities.
- Slow down or stop when approaching other track users. Follow the give-way code—cyclists must give way to walkers, and alert others when approaching.
- Avoid riding in large groups—keep groups to fewer than 12.
- Avoid skidding and sliding around turns—this may result in collision with other trail users.
- Treat all water before drinking.
- Venomous red-bellied black snakes are relatively common on this trail. Always detour around snakes. Never provoke them.
- Cassowaries live in this area. Never approach or feed these animals and remember to be cass-o-wary.
- Be aware that stinging trees grow along the trail. These plants grow to 4m high and have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Do not touch these plants as it will almost certainly result in a very painful sting. If you are stung, and symptoms are severe, seek medical advice.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
Be prepared for your hike to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time.
Remember to tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return. Let them know your route and contact them on your return. Have a contingency plan in place if you fail to contact them by the agreed time. If you change your plans, inform them.
Essentials to bring
Walkers of the Goldfield trail must be fully self-sufficient. Pack essential equipment and bushwalking gear including:
- a basic first-aid kit, including a space blanket, and know how to use it
- adequate clothing—be prepared for very cold and wet conditions
- a high quality, lightweight and waterproof tent
- a lightweight sleeping bag and sleeping mat
- sturdy, reliable footwear—make sure your footwear has been worn in before you start your walk
- sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and insect repellent
- a torch or headlamp
- biodegradable toilet paper and a small hand trowel
- a gas or liquid fuel stove with spare fuel—open fires are not allowed
- lightweight cooking and eating utensils
- waterproof matches or a lighter
- a washing-up container
- drinking water
- waterproof bags for keeping clothing and bedding dry, and for storing rubbish
- nourishing, lightweight and compact food and high-energy snacks—for safety, allow 1–2 days worth of extra food
- solid containers to store food, as native rats will chew through non-solid materials
- at least one form of communication equipment—satellite phones and personal locator beacons (PLBs) are the most effective. Mobile phone coverage is unreliable.
Wooroonooran National Park is open 24 hours a day. The Goldfield trail may be closed during the wetter months, between December and April. Additional closures may occur for management purposes including pest plant and animal control. All walkers should check trail conditions before planning a trip.
Permits and fees
Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.
Domestic animals are not permitted in Wooroonooran National Park.
Climate and weather
To ensure your visit is fun and comfortable, try to visit between May and November when the weather and trail conditions are at their best.
Daytime temperatures and humidity can be high at any time of the year and nights can be cool. Please carry suitable clothing for all extremes. May to November is generally the driest period, but heavy rain can fall at any time.
For more information see the tourism information links.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available from local towns including Babinda, Gordonvale, Innisfail and Cairns.
For more information see the tourism information links.
- Temporary closure: Goldsborough Valley section, Wooroonooran National Park 9–20 May 2022
- Temporary closure: Wajil walk (Kearneys Falls walking track), Goldsborough Valley section, Wooroonooran National Park 19 August 2021 to 29 July 2022
- Camping area water supply update: Goldsborough Valley section, Wooroonooran National Park 2 December 2021 to 30 November 2022