Mt Surprise is located on the Gulf Development Road some 394km southeast of Normanton
and 320km southwest of Cairns
. It is an old railway town situated on the Forsayth to Cairns line.
Gemstone fossicking is the main attraction as O’Briens Creek, a designated fossicking area, is just 45km northwest of here via unsealed road. Fossickers are free to obtain their own licence and map and go exploring alone or join a guided tour departing at 8am daily from The Gem Den in town.
The Gem Den’s tour is no fuss as they own a mining claim ready for use. No licences are required and equipment is provided as well as morning tea. Tours run from April to October and any exquisite gems you find are all yours. They also wash, polish and shape gems, sell assorted gems, sell and hire fossicking equipment and run a licensed café serving meals morning, noon and night. Topaz, quartz, garnet, spinel, cairngorm, agate, moonstone, peridot and aquamarine are found in this area and look absolutely stunning when polished up, revealing magnificent colour combinations and patterns (gems pictured are examples only).
Mt Surprise offers a convenience store supplying basic items, fuel, café, pub, book exchange, dump point, vehicle wash-down bay and caravan parks. There are two tourist parks in the town. There is the BP Roadhouse, Motel and Tourist Park
on Garland St (Gulf Developmental Rd) as well as Bedrock Village Caravan Park
on Garnet St.
Bedrock Village offers a variety of tours as well as accommodation and camping. The owner is an experienced Savannah Guide and runs daily tours to the Undara Lava Tubes, weekly tours on the Savannahlander Train to Einasleigh and Copperfield Gorge (Thursdays) and weekly tours to a local Cattle Station (Tuesdays). The park is also pet friendly and has pet minding facilities for those participating in the tours.
This township is a quiet outback location in the heart of gemstone country and just down the road from the Undara Lava Tubes, one of the longest lava tube systems in the world. The townsite is actually located on the edge of the lava flow from the ancient volcano some 50km away (by road, not as the crow flies). So if you’re in Gulf Savannah country on your travels and are intrigued by gemstone fossicking and age-old volcanic systems you’ll enjoy this interesting and educating stopover in remote Queensland.
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Destinations in Queensland
Daintree National Park
Tin Can Bay
Undara Volcanic National Park
Return from Mt Surprise to Queensland