Monto lies 200 kilometres west of Bundaberg, 96 kilometres south east of Biloela, and is home to a wide variety of historic, cultural and artistic experiences in the North Burnett.
First settled in 1924 as a result of goldfields of Cania and Monal the township’s first buildings were built around 1926.
There are an amazing variety of landscapes and visitor attractions in the Monto district – Cania Gorge National Park being the most prominent feature. Scenic drives extend from the rich red soil of the Mulgildie Plateau to the amazing beauty of the towering hardwoods in Coominglah Forest and from historic Rawbelle Cemetery to the abandoned relics of the Monal Goldfields. Monto offers a voyage of discovery and adventure for the 4WD enthusiast with around 1,000km of roads to explore. View magnificent stands of Grass trees, rich brigalow black soil scrub lands, old Selene Mine, soft wood scrub, rolling hills and the fine Bottle tree specimens.
Lister Street Parkland provides a perfect spot for a picnic or bought lunch. Take a stroll and view the array of metal and sandstone sculptures by local and visiting artists to the region. The parkland also hosts the Pioneer Cottage Visitor Information Centre as well as the entrance to the RV 48 hour stopover area.
Likewise, the Mulgildie Bunyip is a testament to the legend of the Bunyip hole and the historic goldfields and cemetery, Coominglah State Forest and Kalpowar State Forest are all wonderful scenic bush getaways. Call in for a refreshing beverage and a chat with locals at the quaint Mungungo Pub.
Cania Gorge National Park and Lake is a ‘must see’ while visiting the North Burnett Region. Discover the natural wonder of one of Queensland’s best kept secrets where dramatic ochre coloured sandstone rock formations overlook lush forest gullies.
This picturesque lake is situated just 11km north of the Cania Gorge picnic area. From the lookout, breathtaking panoramic views of the gorge’s coloured sandstone cliffs and the spectacular sunsets will leave lasting memories of Cania. Fish from the shore or a boat. Saratoga, bass, golden and silver perch have been introduced to the lake. Species occurring naturally include eel-tailed catfish, spangled perch and eel and snub-nosed garfish. Permit required. After fishing, sailing, water skiing, canoeing or wind surfing, relax under the shade trees and enjoy a picnic in the attractively landscaped grounds. Excellent facilities include picnic shelters, electric barbecues, boat ramp, toilets and a boat bait and tackle shop also supplying ice and cold drinks. Camping is only permitted at the caravan parks.
Three Moon Historical & Cultural Complex – The Monto Historical and Cultural Complex is a well presented facility, with a pleasant garden frontage located on one of the main thoroughfares into Monto. The overall aim is to preserve and present the culture, heritage and history of the Monto district and its people. The complex includes a museum and art gallery housed in a modern, air-conditioned building. Half of the internal space is dedicated to changing cultural displays of photography, textiles, art and craft from local artists and societies. Historical displays, exhibits and photographs are located in the other half of the building. The historical collection extends beyond the main building into the grounds of the complex. A group of pioneer buildings including a Cania goldfields slab hut,the Goody family’s Burnham Homestead kitchen, which dates from around 1910, and gold mine stamper all add to the appeal and historical culture of the complex.
Kroombit Tops and Beautiful Betsy – Kroombit Tops offers visitors the chance to get back to nature and camp without facilities, away from phones and technology, in small camping areas with fire-rings for a traditional bush cooking experience.
Take a bushwalk and explore forests on four-wheel-drive roads. See the remains of a WWII Liberator bomber, Beautiful Betsy that crashed at Kroombit Tops in 1945 and remained hidden in the forest until it was discovered nearly 50 years later.
Access from Monto (approximately 66km): Driving conditions: You need a four-wheel-drive vehicle. This is a dry weather access only route, with numerous creek crossings and black soil that becomes very hazardous in wet conditions.
Historic Monal Goldfields & Cemetery- Visit the abandoned machinery, a testament to the original settlers who dared to settle in this inhospitable range country. Even now it is a tough drive to get there. View the stone memorial at the Monal cemetery. The wheels from the boiler that was pulled to the site by a team of 52 horses are dedicated as a memorial to the horse teams and the teamsters without whom the area could not have been settled.
Monto Town Hall- Built in 1939-40, the Town Hall is of particular architectural merit. Hall and Phillips were the architects. Hall was one of Brisbane’s most successful architects of the early 20th century who designed the Brisbane City Hall, Tattersall’s Club and Sandgate Town Hall.
Rawbelle Cemetery- Visit the cemetery that stands as a memorial to those who lived out their lives in this area and note where the old township was sited.
Kalpowar Village and Kalpowar State Forest- Hidden at the foothills of the Burnett Range, Kalpowar village is a must see. The town’s name derives from the railway station name assigned by the Queensland Railways Department on 30 January 1928, which was an Aboriginal word meaning either pine tree or copper. Kalpowar State Forest protects a mosaic of forests. Patches of dense rainforest with towering hoop pines remain between open eucalypt forests and hoop pine plantations. More than 150 plant species occur in the hoop pine rainforest which was first logged in 1918. Lunch at the picnic area or take advantage of the camping ground (permit required) to enjoy a night under the stars.
Bunyip Hole- Just ten minutes from Mulgildie lies the legendary Bunyip Hole, a place of mystery and intrigue. A sculpture relating to the legends of the Bunyip Hole is erected at Mulgildie.
Cania Gorge National Park- Located approximately 180km from Gladstone, Cania Gorge National Park is the closest park to the coast in which you can see the sandstone landscapes of central Queensland. Discover the incredible natural beauty of the area where dramatic ochre coloured sandstone rock formations overlook lush forest gullies. Visitors enjoy an amazing variety of scenery, wildlife and history along the many walking tracks available.
Travel 12km north from Monto on the A3 Burnett Highway. Branch off onto the sealed Cania Road for 14km passing through the small settlement of Moonford.
Aboriginal people have lived in Cania Gorge for at least 19,000 years. Freehand art on remote sandstone walls is a reminder of their special way of life.
Picnic shelters, barbecues, interpretive display, public toilets and car parking are available at the Cania Gorge Picnic Area.
Walking Tracks- Within the 2931 hectare Park there are a variety of walking tracks ranging in length from 300m to 22km. Choose walks that suit your fitness level using the Australian track standards listed at the end of this section
Shamrock Mine- This easy Class 2 – 1.4km return walk (allow 45 minutes) takes an historic look at the former mine site. It begins at the northern carpark, about 1km south of Lake Cania. Here lie the remains of the old battery, mine shaft, processing sheds and mullock heaps. Gold fossicking is not permitted. On returning, spend time at the information shelter discovering some of the trials of living in the goldfields.
Fern Tree Pool and Giants Chair Circuit- Allow 3 hours for this 5.6km circuit graded class 2 which begins from a carpark 900m south of the picnic area. Take the anti-clockwise direction for the most easily walked route. The track crosses Doctors Gully several times before arriving at Fern Tree Pool (2.5km) and continues at a moderate climb for another 2.2km up a sandstone escarpment to the Giants Chair lookout. Return 900m down a steep track and steps to the carpark. Pool water is unsuitable for drinking so please carry water on this walk.
Castle Mountain- From the picnic area follow the 800m Bloodwood Cave track to the Castle Mountain track turnoff. Climb the steep 200m track to the Gorge Lookout for a lovely view down the gorge. From here a 10km fire trail winds through open woodland to Castle Mountain lookout. The view from this lookout is a just reward after the long walk up. Return via the same track (which is almost all down hill). Be prepared — start the walk in the cool of the early morning; wear a hat, sunscreen, comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes; and take plenty of water and a first aid kit. Before you go — Put an emergency plan in place. Ensure that a responsible person is aware of where you are going, when you expect to return and knows what to do if something goes wrong.
Australia's Country Way guides you to the delights and treasures that pepper the countryside of the Great Dividing Range. From Sydney to Rockhampton.
For the 4WD enthusiast, this drive offers a voyage of discovery and adventure.