Ravenshoe is approximately 50 minute drive south of Atherton and it is a part of the Atherton Tablelands (now known as the Cairns Highlands for tourism purposes), about two to two and a half hours drive from Cairns. Ravenshoe is 60 km west of Innisfail, (80 km south-west of Cairns), just off the junction of the Palmerston and Kennedy Highways.
Ravenshoe’s ‘tag’ is that it’s the highest town in Queensland (920 metres), complete with the highest hotel, the Ravenshoe Hotel. It is also notable for its steam train that is fired-up during the dry (winter, tourist season) and runs between Ravenshoe station and Tumoulin.
The altitude leads to its climate being quite different from the coastal towns of the same latitude. It can get quite cold in winter and is normally much less humid and therefore more comfortable in summer.
Ravenshoe has dense rain forest to the East and more open eucalypt forest to the west. An indication of how much the altitude and terrain influences the climate is that while Ravenshoe has an average annual rainfall of about 1250 mm, within 10 to the east, the average rises to almost 2000 mm whereas within 10km to the west, average annual rainfall is just over 500 mm.
Ravenshoe the timber town
Ravenshoe was established as a timber town and continued to provide fine quality timber until much of the surrounding forest was declared national park in the late 1980’s. Fascinatingly, Silky Oak from Ravenshoe was used for rebuilding the Houses of Commons chamber (England) when it was rebuilt in the early 1950s. The parquetry flooring of The House is made of black walnut, also from the district, and the speaker’s chair was made using black bean milled in Ravenshoe.
Interestingly, there is some slightly contradictory information from the Parliament in the UK.
Staying in Ravenshoe
Ravenshoe has two charming pubs, unspoilt by attempts to modernise them, that offer accommodation for travellers and a place to have a meal and a quiet drink at the end of the day. There’s also a Motel offering, well, motel-style accommodation.
The ‘top pub’ or Ravenshoe Hotel is reputed to be the highest pub in Queensland and is obviously a few metres higher then the Club Hotel, as you can see below, which shows the club Hotel in the centre of the photograph, down and across the road.
Ravenshoe Heritage Steam Railway
For those wanting to use their own self-contained facilities, the old railway station is also run as a caravan park and provides a charming venue for travellers to stay for a while. The park has plenty of space and its setting provides a welcome change from the normal caravan park.
It also has a large collection of railway artifacts for the visitor to view and is, being the old railway station, centrally located, within easy walking distance of the town’s amenities.