Goldfield trail, Wooroonooran National Park Tropical North Queensland

Lush rainforest, creek crossings, king ferns, and the Mulgrave River are features of the Goldfield trail. Photos: Queensland Government

Visiting Goldfield trail safely

    Goldfield trail. Photo: WTMA.

    Goldfield trail. Photo: WTMA.

    Take care near rocks. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Take care near rocks. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Stinging-tree leaves. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Stinging-tree leaves. Photo: Queensland Government.

    The trail crosses several small creeks. Photo: Queensland Government.

    The trail crosses several small creeks. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Getting there and getting around

    The Goldfield trail links The Boulders Scenic Reserve, 7 km from Babinda, and Goldsborough Valley day-use and camping areas, 46 km 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 60 km 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 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.

    North-west end

    The north-west end of the trail is at the far end of the Goldsborough Valley camping area, 46 km south of Cairns. Travel 24 km south of Cairns along the Bruce Highway and turn right onto the Gillies Highway at Gordonvale. Continue along this road for 6 km to the Goldsborough Valley turn-off on the left. Cross Peets Bridge and continue for 16 km through farms and cane fields to the camping and day-use area. The last 5 km is unsealed, narrow and winding but suitable for conventional vehicles, with caution. Please drive slowly and watch for wildlife and oncoming traffic.

    South-east end

    The south-east end of the trail is at The Boulders Scenic Reserve, 7 km west of Babinda. Drive 57 km south of Cairns along the Bruce Highway to Babinda. Turn right into Munro Street and follow the signs to The Boulders Scenic Reserve.

    Wheelchair accessibility

    The Goldfield trail is not wheelchair accessible. There are wheelchair-accessible toilets and day-use areas at both ends of the trail.

    Staying safe

    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 4 m 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.

    Before you visit

    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.

    Opening hours

    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 permit

    Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

    Other permits

    Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.

    Pets

    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.