Wilderness Expeditions -Journeys with Pack Donkeys

Adventure and Outdoors Tours

Bushwalk, trek or hike with trained and friendly donkeys to carry your food and gear. Explore remote and rugged terrain guided by seriously experienced guides and packers. Camping in the Australian Bush is their specialty. Journeys can be overnight rambles or serious, extended walking adventures of 14 or more days.

Explore some true wilderness in Tropical Far North Queensland in comfort. The pack teams carry beds, tables and chairs, good food, and your gear. Trekkers need only carry light day backpacks. During their walks, they encounter wildlife and swim in crocodile free wild rivers. The donkeys add a further dimension to your adventure as hardworking, character companions.

Tasty, wholesome meals are cooked over open fires using traditional camp ovens. Enjoy a glass or two of wine with a three-course dinner, watch some bush television, discover the Southern night skies with a “walk through the stars”.

Wilderness Expeditions continue the traditions of Australian packing methods used by explorers, drovers and miners. These treks have been developed during twenty years of operation. They specialise in finding places little visited by others. These treks are an authentic experience of natural travel in the Australian bush and outback.


From $2450 to $4900

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.

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.

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.

Disabled Access

From $3522 to $4050

Australia’s favourite adventure writer, Ion Idriess, briefly lived in the Herberton area before World War One. The Jungleman’s Walkabout trek retraces an adventure described in his book “Back O’ Cairns” published in 1957, from 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 eight day (seven nights camping) trek retraces disused pack tracks, explores the Wild River Gorge, visits a rock art gallery, provides views from the rugged Dargo Range (1400 metres) and an opportunity to explore Loudon House Museum in Irvinebank.

Disabled Access


From $2187.2 to $2615

This nine day 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.

Disabled Access


From $695 to $1255

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. Return via the same route with lunch along the track.

Disabled Access


From $1315 to $1462

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 view platypus in the waterhole next to the camp.
Day Two, after repacking the donkeys, cross an interesting basalt plateau through open Eucalyptus Woodland to Pannikin Waterhole campsite. Hidden in a bend on the Wild River, this pristine campsite with a sandy beach and deep pool, is seldom visited by others. Enjoy a late lunch then have time to explore the cataracts further downstream or swim in the many clear pools nearby before dinner in front of the campfire. If the skies are suitable, walk through the night sky to identify the Milky Way and stars above us.
Day Three. Tuck into a cooked breakfast of bacon and muffins, strike camp and re-cross the basalt tableland for a picnic lunch and a swim en-route. Complete the return to Kalinvale Farm to unpack and farewell the donkeys.

Disabled Access

Carpark Family Friendly

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Herberton Mining Museum and Great Northern Mine

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Halls Falls, Herberton Range Conservation Park

Halls Falls

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Herberton Spy & Camera Museum

Herberton Spy & Camera Museum

Herberton, Atherton Tablelands