"Drive or ride the 260 bends up the Gillies." Top 5 Page for this destination Cairns Things to Do Tip by tropicrd

Cairns Things to Do: 365 reviews and 827 photos

Well!! if you want to have a driving or riding experience up to the Tablelands or what some people call the Cairns Highlands then you must drive/ride up the Gillies Highway for an adrenalin rush.

Miners and settlers in the 1880's used this when it was an aboriginal track from the Tableland to the coast--it went through Kulara,Lake Barrine and the Mulgrave Valley and called Robson's track (still the most well known and used name by the locals) .

This old track was widened to allow wheeled traffic and cars in 1926 and named the Gillies Highway after Tom Gillies the premier of QLD at that time.

An ardent campaigner for the new highway was Ted Heale and a lookout to honour him is approx 15klms up the range and called Heales lookout over looking stunning views down the Mulgrave Valley.

It took four years of road work to try and eliminate the sharp bends and curves of the Gillies it used to have 610 over 20klms.It used to be a single lane and a toll-road.Gates at the top and bottom controlled the alternating traffic,it is now a two lane road so the gates are defunct.The road climbs 760 metres above sea level.

Up until 1942,when the Kuranda Range Road (now called Kennedy Highway) the Gillies remained the only artierial road from the Tablelands to Cairns.White car shuttle buses had a daily service transporting visitors to Yungaburra and the crater lakes.

Even after upgrading over the years it still has very challenging bends = 260,a hard job well done in my opinion.
Dangerous in the wet season when landfalls or flooding falls over the road, it is closed to all traffic when this occurs.

Address: Gillies Highway.
Directions: Drive 25klms south of Cairns on the Bruce Highway to Gordonvale. Turn right when you see the sign to the Atherton Tablelands.Follow this road and you will come to the bottom gate for the Gillies Range Road.
othercontact: Road map

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 19, 2011
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