Charters Towers is unpretentious and everything Australian, formally the second largest city in Queensland. Easily reached, just over an hour south west from Townsville, it is perfect as a base to discover more of the golden surrounding countryside, or as a leisurely getaway. The versatility of your rental car makes it an ideal choice of transport,and with a large range of accommodation choices you can easily plan an enjoyable getaway.
The best time to visit is March through to October, as the nights are cool but not freezing, and the days are deliciously warm and sunny, with a number of beautiful green parks to enjoy a picnic and laze the day away. Storms sweep through unexpectedly at times so come prepared for all seasons.
History buffs will love the city scape, each beautifully designed building with a story to tell. During the gold rush, Charters Towers was a thriving city, and the local museum captures the spirit of this unique town. The mining and beef industries are now the heart and soul of the economy, and the town is still thriving in all aspects. Just strolling through the city centre will give you a better understanding of the community here. There is delightful country food on every corner, and always a local with time to chat.
Don't walk past the Miners Cottage, refurbished as a replica of the century old cottages, and also doubling as a museum. And the century old Historical Ambulance Station is fascinating, with ancient ambulances, uniforms and log books now much loved relics from the past.
One popular tourist attraction is the Venus Gold Battery. You might wonder what on earth this is, and so did I until I realised it was one most revered, plus the last of the historical goldmining sites around. There are guided tours into this absolute step back in time, with movie features revealing how the gold was extracted, and plenty of interesting displays which bring those golden days alive once more.
When you are ready to venture further, Towers Hill Lookout provides not only a wonderful panoramic view of the town, but also offers interesting historical films at night, so undoubtedly any time is great to make the trip. Nature lovers will also be in their element, with kangaroos, wallabies, whiptails and the regal wedge tail eagles in all directions. You will need your camera and a lot of time to make the most of this fabulous location. There are plenty of gold mining stories lurking in the hills, so take your time reading the signposts scattered along the walk to the summit. If you happen to arrive on the May Day weekend, you will be treated to the annual country music festival held at Towers Hill. With music, poetry and plenty of country tucker so good you won't want to leave.
There are plenty of other outdoor alternatives, such as fishing, camping and swimming. Head to the Burdekin River and you will reach the Flat Rock camping area, perfect for a spot of barramundi fishing or a leisurely stroll along the waters edge. With a picnic table and barbeque this is an ideal spot to head for the day. Closer to town, the Charters Tower Tourist Park is a popular base, with great amenities and lots of trees for those hot days. You might want to set up camp for a while and enjoy a few restful days before heading back to civilisation.
There is no doubt Charters Towers is a beautiful inland city, for so many reasons. The architecture is incomparable, such is the surrounding landscape. However the common thread that brings so many back is the friendliness of the people, their food, music and company. There is a sense of community here that makes this a wonderful place to retreat to, away from the noise and business of the big city life. Bring your fishing rod, your camera and a sense of discovery to enjoy everything Charters Towers has to offer.
Jenny Brewer is a travel agent whose passion is writing. After spending her leisure time writing time writing childrens stories, she now enjoys writing about travel destinations. For more of her articles visit Car Hire Australia