Pack the bags and get ready to go for a ride with a donkey … well actually for a walk with a donkey.
Herberton was the first town in the Atherton Tablelands. Many of its buildings date to the early 1880s, a reminder of the days when it was rich with tin deposits. The surrounding hills contain a network of trails for trekking, hiking or scenic strolls.
To enjoy this pretty town in a totally different way, Wilderness Expeditions takes people on leisurely walks with one of their beautiful donkeys.
The family business is built around deep care for the Australian bush, its animals and the history of north Queensland. They apply eco-tourism principles to their operation, which offers everything from a daytrip to 33-day expeditions.
Tim Daniel, manager and guide, has experience in caving, climbing, whitewater canoeing and sea kayaking. He has led six significant science-based expeditions.
They use the lovable donkey for many reasons. Donkeys can easily carry up to 22 percent of their body weight, are very easily trained and sure-footed, do not require shoeing and walk at people pace.
Described as Queensland's Switzerland, the region has a cool, almost temperate climate due to its 900-metre altitude, making it ideal for bushwalking.
Local roads and tracks were once used by packhorse and mule teams for the movement of ore, tin exports, supplies and mining equipment and are still good to walk along today.
Along the way a variety of wildlife can be seen wallabies, wallaroos, rufus bettong, platypus, goanna, water dragon and around 35 species of birdlife.
A one-day trip from Herberton is a relaxed hike linking the town to the outpost and disused railway whistle stop of Kalunga. It passes through undulating farmlands and open eucalypt forest using lanes, old railway formations and bridle tracks.
Morning tea and lunch are cooked in camp ovens and there's a stop for a spot of tin panning.