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Exploring Chillago with Children

Chillago is inland from Cairns in Northern Queensland. As you drive from the coast it gets drier, duster and redder until you are in a tiny place with little more than a service station, pub and information centre.  What are we here for? The caving is what initially inspired us to explore out here, but we soon found there to be so much more in this sleepy wee town.

Where did we stay?
At the camp grounds of The Observatory and Eco Lodge

Would we recommend it?
Yes. It's Observatory is cool, the kids loved the pool, you can walk from the camp ground to explore cars in the neighbouring Ford car museum and you are surrounded by beautiful outback scenery.

What did we love doing with our kids in Chillago?
  • The caving is fantastic! There are guided tours of 3 completely different caves, all of them are great (we have been to Chillago twice so didn't do them all in the same trip). Interestingly the caving the kids loved the most was when we explored the self-guided caves (all caves are on a map you get from the information center), they felt like truly epic explorers  and were clambering up and down rock faces having an amazing time.
  • The Smelter is really interesting not only for learning about the mining history of the area but also for learning about the lands incredible geology and hunting for your own crystals on the short lookout walk by the Smelter. We enjoyed at picnic dinner at the lookout as the sun was setting - the colours were amazing!
  • The Ford Car Museum is housed at a man's home with the cars flowing from a large undercover area out into the yard. We are always talking with the kids about following their passions so it was neat to meet this lovely man and see him surrounded by all his amazingly cared for old cars. Made for a fun history lesson.
  • The walk out to Balancing rock is lovely near the end of the day.
  • You can see Aboriginal cave art a short drive out of town (the same area has self-guided caving and a sweet old cemetery, all on your information centre map)
  • The Observatory is only open on nights that it's not cloudy but if that's the case it's well worth doing. The highlight was seeing Saturns Rings!
  • A sculpture of Dave the Plesiosaur greets you as you drive into town, the fossils of the ocean dinosaur were found near Chillago and the sculpture helps you imagine what it would have been like when the whole area was under the sea!

  • And to top it all off you have what could be the most amazing swimming hole ever! The weir is stunning with aqua blue water, surrounded by gum trees for leaping from and rock faces for clambering and sliding on. The locals tip - is to drive to the very end of the road right to where the very wall of the weir is. Perfection!

Such an interesting area with loads to explore and learn about, we would totally go back again.


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