The Gillies Lookout – Stunning Views

by | Dec 21, 2021 | Atherton Tablelands

The Gillies Lookout- Stunning views

Written by Leah Stevenson and Helen Pink

Visiting the Gillies Lookout offers picturesque views over the Goldsborough Valley. The valley’s view comprises dense rainforest illuminating greens of every colour. Deep in the valley the Mulgrave River engraves its path from south to north, initiated by the steep mountains that create the valley and the accumulation of torrential tropical rain that falls each wet season. The river snakes towards Gordonvale and then, beyond the view, the river exits into the Great Barrier Reef. The view also includes a panorama of the western side of Queensland’s two highest peaks- Bartle Frere and Bellenden Kerr (unless Far North Queensland’s iconic tropical clouds visit that day).

The Gillies Lookout itself is perched on a cleared area on the edge of the escarpment. You can soak up the views from a flat grassed area shaded by huge old trees making it perfect for a picnic. So, bring your rug and a cuppa. Back from the precipice is a fenced area. (Keep an eye on the kids, as it is a significant drop beyond the fence.) Hang gliders frequent the lookout, and you can see why. Because there is a large boulder right on the edge that makes a great take off platform!

It is a stunning view from the Gillies Lookout!

Not only are the views amazing, but the expedition to get there is worth the journey. In this article we suggest two ways to access the Gillies Lookout. Option A: via Yungaburra and Option B: via Tinaroo Falls township. Both are ideal ways to travel to the Gillies Lookout because you travel through diverse landscapes: from lush green farming areas, tropical rainforests, pine tree plantations and views of Lake Tinaroo. Option B: via Tinaroo Falls is a great option for mountain bikers with long-distance riding experience.

Travel by car requires a high-clearance vehicle because both travel options meet at Madigan Road to access the National Park. Madigan Road is a gazetted road however, it has two farm gates before you get to the National Park section, so please leave the gates as you find them. The first 1.7 km is gravel through farmland, and once through the second gate, there is a stark change in scenery and the environment turns to dense rainforest. The last 1.9 km is in the National Park and is where the road becomes more challenging. The road turns to a steep, rainforest mud-based road which can be a little rutted. You can walk, mountain bike, if you don’t have a high-clearance vehicle. We recommend parking at the Madigan/Boar Pocket Road intersection before the first gate. The walk/ride along Madigan Road is quite nice.

Option A: via Yungaburra

Access via Yungaburra is a much shorter drive and mostly on a sealed road until you reach Madigan Road. The narrow winding road hugs old timber farming sheds that are reminiscent of farming from days gone by. Also, because of the region’s good rainfall, moss grows on rustic wooden fence posts and the local cows look fat and happy. The Cathedral Fig is only 100 m further down the road and is worth checking out before heading to the lookout.

Directions: When travelling via Yungaburra, heading east (towards Cairns), follow the highway for 12.9 km, then turn left onto Boar Pocket Road, which is past the Lake Barrine turnoff. The sign on the left side of the road is overgrown, however there is a clear sign at the T-intersection. Follow Boar Pocket Road for 4.4 km. You will see a turn to the right at the sign to ‘Gillies Lookout 4 km’. This is the start of Madigan Road and the first farmgate is clearly visible from the road.

Option B: via Tinaroo Falls

Travelling via Tinaroo Falls township is mostly narrow unsealed road and not recommended for 2-wheel-drive vehicles. This travel option takes you the ‘long-way’ around Lake Tinaroo to get to the Gillies Lookout and add just over an hour to your trip, depending on where you start your drive on the Atherton Tablelands. The northern side of Lake Tinaroo is a beautiful drive and mountain bike ride. There are many walking trails and camping sites within the Danbulla National Park to visit on the way. To access the Gillies Lookout, continue along Danbulla Road, taking you through pine tree plantations and dense tropical rainforests.

Directions: Drive to Tinaroo Falls township and continue through to Danbulla Road towards the dam wall. At the dam wall, the water either disperses into the channel or continues as the Barron River. Continue around the dam wall to the other side where there is a lookout on the top of the rise with views of the lake and the lower section of the Barron River. From here it is about 32 km of majority unsealed road to Madigan Road. The road runs parallel to Lake Tinaroo and winds through pine forests and rainforests with crystal clear creeks. Turn left onto Madigan Road to head to the lookout.

There are so many amazing places to visit on that Atherton Tablelands and we recommend adding the Gillies Lookout to your list of places to visit.

by | Dec 21, 2021 | Atherton Tablelands

Leah Stevenson

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