Gordonvale & Edmonton - Tropical North Queensland Destination
Originally called Nelson but changed to Gordonvale to honour a local pioneer (John Gordon), this small sugar milling town has unique character by virtue of the numerous older buildings dating back to the 1930's and 40's and the large central park.
The Tropical Tablelands can be accessed from Gordonvale via the Gillies Highway, while south the Great Green Way extends south to Mission Beach.
Gordonvale was the location of the introduction of the dreaded Cane Toad to Queensland, where in 1935 over one hundred toads were released into the cane fields to wipe out the cane beetle. They quickly multiplied and became a feral pest.
Located closer to the main city of Cairns (13 kilometres south), Edmonton is similar to Gordonvale in that it was also originally established as a sugar milling town, however has now become a suburb of the larger city of Cairns.
The town was originally called Hambledon because of its proximity to the Hambledon plantation and mill. In 1911 the name was changed to Edmonton after a village in England. Even though this new name has been in place for almost 100 years, the name Hambledon remains enshrined in a number of local institutions such as the local school (Hambledon State School), hotel (Hambledon Hotel) and mill (Hambledon Mill - now closed).
There's a multitude of fantastic pub style accommodation, quaint bed & breakfasts and country hotels in Gordonvale and Edmonton. These establishments offer the very best in Far North style hospitality and often come attached to a restaurant offering well priced meals for the whole family. Gordonvale is perfect for those travelling with a caravan as there's a great Caravan Park. As Edmonton is a bit closer to Cairns there's a few more upmarket options with resorts and apartments available there.
Things to do & Places to Visit
The most famous natural landmark near Gordonvale is Walsh's Pyramid (also known as Pyramid Hill), a free standing volcanic mountain shaped remarkably like a man-made pyramid.
Every August the Pyramid Race takes place where hundreds of competitors race up to the peak, all 922 metres of it, then back again in the quest for the $5000 prize money.
For a more sedate approach, there is a walking track to the summit which can be accessed from a rather hard to find parking area - check out this website for directions.
Edmonton's main attraction is Sugarworld - a leisure park offering visitors a cool respite from the tropical heat with it's waterslides, pools and parkland area. Sugarworld was originally constructed by CSR on 17 acres of the Hambledon Estate after the demolition of the old Hambleton Mill in 1991.
Swallow Park is a botanical garden feature and is contained within the Sugarworld complex was named in memory of Thomas Swallow, who in October 1881 selected the first blocks of sugar land and named the property Hambledon Plantation after his birth place. Sugarworld has four waterslides, a pool, a licensed bar, kiosk and a large gardens/parkland area (Swallow Park) where visitors can have a picnic or barbecue. The gardens are open daily while the play facilities are available 10:00am to 4:30pm every weekend, public holiday and school holiday.
Getting to Gordonvale & Edmonton
Gordonvale is located to the east of the Bruce Highway just under half an hour south down the Bruce Highway. It's located next to Grey Peaks National Park which sits between the town of Gordonvale and the Coral Sea. To get from Cairns to Gordonvale you will pass through the town of Edmonton which is just a 10 to - 15 minute drive out of Cairns.