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NOTE: This property has been redeveloped into a high end resort and camping is no longer available. (March 2019)

Known as the birthplace of the Rainbow Serpent and a sacred site according to indigenous legend, Mount Mulligan is spectacular but rarely seen.

Most people are aware of the Northern Territory’s iconic Uluru (Ayers Rock), but North Queensland has its own equally impressive version approximately three hours drive west of Cairns.

kayaking at mount mulliganAs you leave Cairns behind and head west beyond the Tablelands, the lush green tropical foliage of the coast begins to transform into sparse, rugged outback territory.

And then Mount Mulligan comes into view. You can’t miss it – in fact, this 18 kilometre-long sandstone ridge is 10 times larger than Ayers Rock.

Mount Mulligan sits within a 28,000 hectare working cattle station. It has a popular but rarely packed campsite and its focal point is a magical billabong bordered by elegant eucalyptus trees.

Things to do


During the day the camp site becomes a hub for swimming, kayaking and lazing around on hammocks but there are plenty of other things to do around Mt. Mulligan.

We set off on one morning to explore the nearby ruins of an old township that used to be centred around a coal mine until 1921, when an explosion killed 75 miners in Queensland’s worst mining disaster.

It was interesting to learn about the history of the area and the cemetery is also worth a visit.

things to do at mount mulliganIf you like being active there are also plenty of things to do while staying at Mt Mulligan.

Quad bikes are available for hire, there are horse riding tours, helicopter flights (check availability before booking), gold fossicking, bushwalking and bird watching.

And for those wanting to hang out closer to camp there is obviously endless hours of fun to be had at the billabong, swimming and kayaking or fishing a little downstream.


getting there


While the trip to Mount Mulligan requires some dirt road driving (the last 44 kilometres of road is unsealed), campers won’t be disappointed. This is one of those fantastic word-of-mouth camping spots that few people get to see.

However, if camping is not your thing, another alternative to seeing Mount Mulligan is to take a scenic helicopter day tour from Cairns.

This is a fantastic trip. You won’t forget the views and there’s no better way to get a sense of just how enormous and empty this amazing country is.

travel nq Fast facts:


•    Mount Mulligan is 180 kilometres from Cairns (the last 44 kilometres are unsealed roads).
•    The campground has an amenities block with toilets and showers.

Top photo thanks to Tourism & Events Queensland