Wilderness Expeditions

Multiple Locations

Wilderness Expeditions offers bushwalking treks and expeditions in Tropical Queensland. They use pack donkeys to carry equipment and supplies. Treks may be themed to retrace the earliest explorers, pioneers or visit rock art sites and ghost towns; and can be overnight or extended to suit your requirements.

Their donkeys enable exploration of remote and rugged areas of Cape York and the Atherton Tablelands of Far North Queensland in comfort. The pack teams carry basic camp furniture and your luggage. Trekkers do not need to carry heavy backpacks. During their walks they encounter wildlife, observe many species of birds and swim in crocodile free wild rivers. The donkeys add a further dimension to your adventure as hardworking, loveable companions

They continue the traditions of Australian packing methods used by explorers, drovers and miners for hundreds of years. They specialise in finding places little visited by others, so they enjoy their own space.

Wilderness Expeditions' treks have been developed during 12 years of operation. They use good quality, insect proof tents; beds and other camp furniture. Tasty meals are cooked over open fires using authentic camp ovens.

Their treks are an authentic experience of natural travel in the Australian bush and outback.

Facilities

  • Car park
  • Pets allowed, enquire on booking

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Camping
  • Hiking/Trekking
  • Swimming

Other Information

Family Friendly:

Family friendly – please refer to operator's website for services and facilities.

Our Tours

This is an introductory two-day walk along the Wild River following cattle and brumby pads, winding through impressive "old man" Forest Red Gums. There are opportunities to observe platypus along the river and at the campsite. The bird list for this area is 127 species.

Two days, one night camping, fully guided by an experienced donkey packer. The pack donkeys carry your luggage, food and camping gear. Sleep on a bed, under the stars in an insect proof "Mossie Dome" tent or use the fly-sheet in cooler weather. Sleeping bags can be provided at a nominal hire to cover cleaning or bring your own. A hot shower in nature's bathroom can taken pioneer style using traditional shower bucket, or enjoy a swim before dinner.

A tasty dinner is cooked over an open fire using traditional Bedourie camp ovens and served with a glass or two of wine. A short walk to gain an understanding of local geology history and ecology of the area follows a cooked breakfast of bacon and muffins or eggs Benedict. Return via the same route with lunch along the track.

Indicative rates

From To Inclusions
$225 $225

Australia's favourite adventure writer, Ion Idriess, briefly lived in the Herberton area before World War One. The Jungleman's Walkabout trek explores an adventure described by Idriess in his book "Back O' Cairns" published in 1957, from his diaries compiled some 46 years earlier.

The Cairns Railway had advanced to Herberton, John Moffat's mining empire was reaching it's peak, and new towns were springing up as new mineral wealth was discovered. The Jungle Man invites Idriess to explore this bonanza "then we can follow right up the divide, and drop down on Stannary Hills or Irvinebank. An easy walk...."

Over a thousand pack mules toiled throughout the region.

The building from which Idriess purchased his notebooks is still on the same street corner in Herberton, but now houses a unique camera museum. Remains of mining endeavours reported by Idriess are scattered along the way. Irvinebank is no longer the exciting and busy industrial centre he records, but a quaint remnant hidden in the hills.

This walk retraces disused pack tracks, explores the Wild River Gorge, visits a rock art gallery, provides views over rugged ranges, including the Dargo Range (1400 metres) and an opportunity to explore Loudon House Museum in Irvinebank.

Indicative rates

From To Inclusions
$1320 $1320
Wild River Explorer

A three day, two night walk, an extension of the Wild River Ramble:

Day One. Meet and finalise the packing of the donkeys. Then a short day though river flats and stands of Forest Red Gums to camp at "Bullocks Crossing" on the Wild River. They will have some time to explore the local history, settle into their camping routine, and perhaps be fortunate to witness the platypus in the waterhole next to the camp.

Day Two, after repacking the donkeys, they follow an original packing road to the "Triple Tree" campsite with a short morning tea en-route. Hidden on a bend on the Wild River, this pristine campsite is unknown to others. They enjoy a late lunch then have time to explore the cataracts and swim in the many clear pools.

Day Three. Rejoin the pack road to detour around the Wild River Gorge, boil a billy at a spring, and then push on to lunch at a waterhole at The Junction. See an example of bush engineering - a water race built at the turn of the century; and enjoy a final swim before a vehicle transfers trekkers to Kalinvale through the historic mining area of Silver Valley.

Indicative rates

From To Inclusions
$660 $660
In The Footsteps of Leichhardt

Ludwig Leichhardt is the first European overland explorer of Northern Australia. This pack donkey expedition retraces Leichhardt's route from Valley of Lagoons and the headwaters of the mighty Burdekin River, across the Great Dividing Range and through the rugged Lynd River gorges.

Leichhardt named both these rivers for sponsors and benefactors of his 1844-45 expedition that traversed northern Australia from Brisbane to Port Victoria Settlement, north of today's Darwin. He used horses and pack bullocks. The modern route will be similar to that of 1845. Travelling in similar fashion, using the Wilderness Expeditions donkey pack team to carry supplies and equipment. Many of Leichhardt's campsites will be identified, and where possible his actual route will be traversed. Rate of travel will be similar.

A a copy of his journal and his field notes will be taken, from which comparisons of his and this journey can be made.

The trek is offered annually as a complete 32 day expedition or three shorter sections:
The Land of The Lotus Eaters (nine days), Search Over The Ranges (six days) and Descent of the Lynd (17 days).

Sections may be booked separately or in combination. The meeting place is Cairns or Ravenshoe.

Indicative rates

From To Inclusions
$1715 $6615
Kennedy Retrace

Edmund Kennedy was the second European overland explorer of North Queensland. Of 12 men that landed with Kennedy, nine perished and Kennedy died of spear wounds at the Escape River. Jacky Jacky, his Aboriginal guide, William Goddard and William Carron were the only survivors. Trek dates are set on anniversary dates of the original 1848 journey.

This trek retraces Kennedy's route from near Mount Garnet (Camp XXIX) over the Great Dividing Range into the headwaters of Emu Creek. There will be time to visit the Emuford Stamper Battery which remains in the turn of the century operating condition. They will pause to resupply and adjust their party at Emu Creek Station, the site of a landmark recorded on Kennedy's maps and home to elusive rock wallabies.

Then follow down the Walsh through the ironically named "Featherbed Ranges", the walls of several enormous prehistoric calderas. Spend a rest day at some hot springs surrounded by rugged ranges. They will finish at Camp XLII, close to the Bourke Development Road, transfer to Chillagoe's Observatory and Eco-lodge to settle back into civilisation overnight. There will be an opportunity to explore some of Chillagoe's sights. Celebrate at dinner. Transfer to Cairns the following morning.

Indicative rates

From To Inclusions
$2450 $4900

This trek is named for the packers and drivers of the thousands of horses, mules and bullocks that plied the "Back O' Cairns" before motor trucks took over the carriage of ore, machinery and goods. This trek uses old pack and dray routes to visit ghost towns that came and went with the discoveries of mineral wealth.

From Herberton return, via Rocky Bluffs, Montalbion, Irvinebank and Lancelot, a circuit of some 90 kilometres. Swim at the geological anomaly- Natural Bridge, and admire views from the Dargo Range before plummeting into Silver valley. There will be time to quench thirsts at the Irvinebank Tavern and visit the Loudoun House Museum, once the family home of John Moffat, North Queensland's own mining magnate. An inspection of a rock art gallery in Silver Valley and a search for platypus along the Wild River during the final day.

Pack donkeys carry your luggage, food and camping gear. Sleep under the stars on a bed in an insect proof "Mossie Dome". Bring your own sleeping bag, or hire one for a nominal cleaning fee. Fully guided,with a carefully researched commentary on natural and pioneer histories that they pass.

Indicative rates

From To Inclusions
$1550 $1550

Find What's Nearby

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Mount Merino

Binna Burra, Scenic Rim Area
Free Entry
The Mount Merino walk is located in the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park. This stunning national park boasts extensive walking tracks along the McPherson Range, which allow visitors to explore the area's forests, creeks and waterfalls.

Curtis Falls, Joalah Section

Tamborine, Logan City Area
Free Entry
On entering the rainforest in Tamborine National Park, take the right-hand fork and head down to Curtis Falls. A viewing platform in the forest is a good place to stop and listen to the birds or rest on your way back.

Heart Reef

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays, is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Located in Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is best experienced from the air by helicopter or seaplane, as visitors are unable to snorkel or dive there due it's protected status.

Bladensburg National Park

Winton, Winton Area
Free Entry
Bladensburg National Park is a large park protecting Mitchell grass downs and channel country. It is home to a wonderful variety of wildlife, including tiny mammals called dunnarts. Flat-topped mesas and sandstone ranges form a pleasing backdrop to the park's grassland plains and river flats.

Mount Lewis National Park

Julatten, Mareeba Area
Free Entry
Mount Lewis, one high rainforest-clad mountains of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, is a treasure trove of unique and endemic wildlife. The area between the Mount Lewis and Atherton Tableland is especially diverse.

Millstream Falls National Park

Ravenshoe, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Plunging over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow, Big Millstream Falls is reputedly the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia. Lying in the rain shadow of the eastern dividing ranges, the dry open woodland here is in stark contrast with the rainforest which is only kilometres away.

Ngaro Cultural Site

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
The Ngaro people have walked this land for over 9,000 years. Protected from the elements in a once-hidden cave, Ngaro artwork adorns the fragile rock surface. The track begins deep inside Nara Inlet on Hook Island — an excellent overnight anchorage.
Free Entry
Michaelmas Cay, part of Michaelmas and Upolo Cays National Park, is one of the most important seabird breeding sites in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Michaelmas Cay is a small, low sand cay, covered by grasses and low-growing plants.

John Egan Pioneer Track

Stonehenge, Barcoo Area
Free Entry
The John Egan Pioneer Track highlights the ecological and cultural values of the Stonehenge town reserve. The track passes through downs country, scenic hill view country, spectacular erosions and rocky outcrops, natural springs and waterfalls (in wet seasons).

Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon National Park

Rolleston, Central Highlands Area
Free Entry
An oasis of birdlife, unique plant species and freshwater creeks, the Carnarvon Gorge is a sparkling gem amongst the dusty heart of Central Queensland. Is it any wonder it's the region's most popular attraction?
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Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).