Charters Towers is 135km south-west of Townsville and has an altitude of 336m which ensures an excellent climate with comfortably cool nights. Known mostly for its heritage and goldmining history, this city once had a population of 27 000 and had the only Stock Exchange in the world to take 3 calls a day.
A city built on gold, Charters Towers flourished during the bustling gold boom of the late 1800s and by the turn of the century it had earned the distinction of Queensland's second largest city and the honour of having one of the first few regional Stock Exchanges. The Charters Towers Stock Exchange was built in 1888 and still stands today. Now beautifully restored, it's host to a variety of local traders and craft markets.
Today the main industries are mining, beef (farmstay accommodation is available), education (five excellent, world recognised boarding schools) and tourism (a visit will explain why).
Charters Towers is a perfect example of the real Australia, with brilliantly coloured sunsets, clear starry nights and country hospitality. The friendly atmosphere and heritage streetscape only add to its unique appeal. Numerous tranquil water spots and secluded lava caves ensures fascinating walks and great camping.
For the visitor wishing to 'dig' further into Charters Towers' mining past, the Ghosts of Gold Heritage Trail is highly recommended. The self-guided trail begins at the Visitor Information Centre and then follows on to the Stock Exchange Arcade with an audio presentation re-enacting the trading of gold shares.
Next make your way to the Venus Battery, the largest surviving battery relic in Australia. Complete your trail at Towers Hill, with a short drive or hike to the top giving panoramic views of the city. An evening screening of the film ‘Ghosts After Dark’ in the amphitheatre rounds off your Trail.
Other points of interest while you are in Charters Towers include the two cemeteries, Historic Ambulance Centre and the Charters Towers Museum. The historic World Theatre is an architectural wonder that combines the past and the present. Or why not play a game of billiards on the original 100 year old tables at the Civic Club, historically a gentleman's club that is now open to all. If you are more of an outdoors type, then the Dalrymple Shire offers a variety of recreational activities that include camping by the Burdekin River, fishing, bird watching or a trip out to Ravenswood.
A Golden city with a colourful past, the lively heritage brings Charters Towers to life, and makes this town a must see on any itinerary.