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60 Minute Scenic Flight

Historical Sites Tour | Extended Atherton Tablelands Tour

Climb aboard your own private aircraft with one of our experienced pilots as we take you on a historical tour of Atherton Tablelands. This flight is the ultimate way to experience the interesting colours and patterns of the Australian Landscape.

You will spend an hour in the air, taking in the Thornsborough/Kingsborough Goldfield Ruins, Mt Mulligan, Lake Mitchell and the Mareeba Township.

Alternatively you can fly over Lake Tinaroo, Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine, Milla Milla, Ravenshoe and the Mt Emerald Wind Farm.

You can choose either route based on what sort of countryside you want to see.  The Mount Mulligan route (Option1) is the more remote outback landscape with rocky outcrops and cattle stations and the Milla Milla way (Option 2) is the lush rolling hills of the Atherton Tablelands. It’s completely up to you!

The Route - Option 1

1. Mareeba Aerodrome

Mareeba Airfield is located 8.0 km south of Mareeba, Queensland, Australia. Built in 1942 as a US Army Air Force base during World War II, the airfield had two runways, with a complement of taxiways, hardstands and a containment area. After the war, much of the airfield reverted to agricultural use, while the southern runway remains as an active airfield.

From 1942 to 1945, up to 10,000 Australian and US service personnel used Mareeba Airfield as a staging post for battles in New Guinea and the Pacific. The Americans referred to it as Hoevet Field in honour of Major Dean Carol “Pinky” Hoevet who was killed on 16 August 1942. Units that were based at Mareeba during World War II included No. 5 Squadron RAAF, No. 100 Squadron RAAF, the Australian 33rd Light A-A Battery, 19th Bomb Group USAAC, 43rd Bomb Group USAAC and 8th Fighter Group USAAC.

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2. Thornsborough / Kingsborough Goldfields

Thornborough is a locality in the Tablelands Region in Queensland, Australia. It rose to prominence in the 1870s as a gold mining town in the Hodgkinson Minerals Area. Today, there are very few buildings remaining in the town. It is within the local government area of Shire of Mareeba.

Thornborough had two banks and two jewellers. Mining activities received a boost with the opening of the Cairns-Mareeba rail line in 1893 improving the area’s accessibility and the advent of cyanide refining technology.

Later, Thornborough acquired a courthouse, hospital, school of arts (500 volumes recorded in 1895) and a primary school. It was also the meeting place of the Woothakata local government board. The Woothakata Shire offices remained at Thornborough until 1919 when new ones were opened at Mareeba. The shire was renamed Mareeba in 1947.

The Hodgkinson Minerals Area was centred on the now abandoned towns of Kingsborough and Thornborough, 80 km west of Cairns.

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3. Mount Mulligan

Mount Mulligan is a former mining town and rural locality in northern Queensland, Australia, the site of Queensland’s worst mining disaster.

A railway connected Mount Mulligan with Dimbulah on the Chillagoe Railway. It opened on 7 April 1915 and was officially closed in January, 1958.

It was a coal mining town from 1910 until 19 September 1921 when an underground explosion killed 75 miners (all the miners in the town). The mine closed, but reopened in 1923 and continued in production until 1957 when a hydro-electric scheme eliminated the need for the coal.

The town’s coal was mined from shafts dug into a Permian layer within the cliff face or escarpment of a large 18 kilometres x 6.5 kilometres free-standing conglomerate and sandstone massif (rising up to 400 metres above the township) known by the name given it by the small group of prospectors who first sighted it in 1874 while searching the Hodgkinson River for gold, under the leadership of James Venture Mulligan.

The conglomerate and sandstone massif known to local Djungan aboriginal peoples as Ngarrabullgan was given James Mulligan’s surname. The name Mount Mulligan was later given to the township that grew in the shadows of the massif’s escarpment.

The area of the township itself remains gazetted as a township, but is now a ghost town, with a single cemetery, a single occupied residence, the remains of a single chimney stack, and the overgrown remains of the once busy mining operations and electricity generator. At the 2006 census, Mount Mulligan and the surrounding area had a population of 55.

Mount Mulligan Post Office opened by July 1914 (a receiving office had been open from 1907) and closed in 1959. A Mount Mulligan Rail Post Office was open between 1916 and 1920.

Mount Mulligan is a truly spectacular attraction which is best viewed in the earlier hours of the morning, when the sun shines on the eastern face of the massifs escarpment, showcasing its rich red colour. In the wet season spectacular waterfalls can be seen tumbling over the face of the escarpment.

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4. Lake Mitchell

The Southedge Dam, also known as the Quaids Dam and officially known as the Lake Mitchell Dam, is an eathfill-filled embankment dam across the Mitchell River located in Far North Queensland, Australia.

Opened in 1987 for the primary purpose of irrigation, the impoundment created by the dam is called Lake Mitchell and at full supply level has an active capacity of 129,000 megalitres.

Lake Mitchell is home to a large amount of bird life and is in close proximity to the Mareeba Wetlands which you will fly over on your way back to the Mareeba Airport.

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The Route - Option 2

1. Mareeba Aerodrome

Mareeba Airfield is located 8.0 km south of Mareeba, Queensland, Australia. Built in 1942 as a US Army Air Force base during World War II, the airfield had two runways, with a complement of taxiways, hardstands and a containment area. After the war, much of the airfield reverted to agricultural use, while the southern runway remains as an active airfield.

From 1942 to 1945, up to 10,000 Australian and US service personnel used Mareeba Airfield as a staging post for battles in New Guinea and the Pacific. The Americans referred to it as Hoevet Field in honour of Major Dean Carol “Pinky” Hoevet who was killed on 16 August 1942. Units that were based at Mareeba during World War II included No. 5 Squadron RAAF, No. 100 Squadron RAAF, the Australian 33rd Light A-A Battery, 19th Bomb Group USAAC, 43rd Bomb Group USAAC and 8th Fighter Group USAAC.

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2. Lake Tinaroo

In 1952, the Tinaroo Dam and Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Scheme was approved by the Queensland Government. Construction on the dam was started in 1953  at a cost of A$12.666 million. When the dam was filled in 1959, the old township of Kulara near Yungaburra went underwater, and all of the residents relocated to Yungaburra and surrounding towns. The area around Kulara was among the last to flood when the dam filled. Earlier the area of Danbulla, located on Robson’s Creek – which also feeds into the lake, went underwater. Most of these residents relocated to the tablelands area as their farms were resumed. The dam is located close to Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham (Yidyam).

The dam wall, constructed with 223,000 thousand cubic metres of concrete, is 42 metres (138 ft) high and 533 metres (1,749 ft) long. The maximum water depth is 41.8 metres (137 ft) and at 100% capacity the dam wall impounds enough water from the Barron River to create a lake approximately 75% the size of Sydney Harbour with a capacity of 438,919 megalitres of water at 670 metres (2,200 ft). The surface area of the Lake Tinaroo is 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) and the catchment area is 545 square kilometres (210 sq mi). The ungated, central ogee spillway is capable of discharging 1,160 cubic metres per second (41,000 cu ft/s). Two 500-millimetre  radial gates serve as irrigation outlets that yield a205,000 megalitres annually. In addition, one 500-millimetre core valve serves as an outlet for Barron River.

The dams construction was completed in 1958.

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3. Lake Barrine

The largest of the natural volcanic lakes in the area, Lake Barrine is 730 m above sea level. It is about 1 km in diameter, with a shoreline of almost 4.5 km and an average depth of 65 m. No streams or springs feed the crystal clear lake; it is filled only by rainwater. During the wet season a small creek flows out of the lake. It joins Toohey Creek which is a tributary of the Mulgrave River.

 

Lake Barrine was formed over 17,000 years ago when a large volcano erupted, leaving a crater that over time filled up with water to create a lake. The crater or maar was formed as a result of a series of volcanic explosions. These explosions were caused by the hot molten rock coming into contact with groundwater. This caused a build-up of steam, gases and pressure which blasted the central core from the volcano. This massive explosion left a huge crater, which filled with rainwater to create Lake Barrine. Local Aboriginals called the lake Barany.

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4. Lake Eacham

Lake Eacham (Yidyam) was formed approximately 12,000 years ago by molten magma. Magma from the center of the earth that rose to the surface and heated the water table. The steam that resulted from the boiling water was trapped underground, until massive explosions signalled its release. Huge cracks appeared in the ground and the trees that once lathed the mountainside were levelled and burnt. Eventually, over hundreds of years, water filled the craters and the trees grew back, creating the tranquil lake used today by families and tourists for recreation. There are no streams that flow into or out the lake, water is only lost through soakage and evaporation and only replenished through rainfall, the level can fluctuate up to 4 metres between wet and dry seasons.

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5. Milla Milla

Known as the town of Waterfalls!

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6. Ravenshoe

The town with the highest Pub in Queensland.

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7. Atherton

Atherton is the main centre of the 'Atherton Tablelands'.

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8. Mount Emerald Wind Farm

Mount Emerald Wind Farm is a 180 MW wind farm situated on Mount Emerald. It is approximately 8 km WNW of Tolga, and 49 km SW of Cairns. The project is a joint venture between Port Bajool (land owner) and RATCH-Australia (wind farm developer and operator). The wind farm registered its first grid output in August 2018 and reached maximum output in January 2019.

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Are you ready for an adventure?

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