The 19th-century gold-rush settlement of Charters Tower sits 47km west along the Flinders Hwy from Mingela. William Skelton Ewbank Melbourne (WSEM) Charters was the gold commissioner during the rush, when the town was the second-largest, and wealthiest, in Queensland. The ‘towers’ are its surrounding tors (hills). With almost 100 mines, some 90 pubs and a stock exchange, the town became known simply as ‘the World’. Today, a highlight of a visit to the Towers is strolling past its glorious facades recalling the grandeur of those heady days, and listening to locals’ stories.
This detour is easily accessible on a day trip from Townsville, but it’s worth staying overnight if you can, to get to know the friendly locals a bit more, and tack on a visit to Hughenden's dinosaur park or Ravenswood's haunted pubs.