Located approximately 165 km, 185 km or 205 km (it depends which route you want to take – the time is about the same) from Cairns, Mount Garnet is one of those towns that is easy to pass through without stopping. To the traveller it looks like nothing more than a couple of pubs and service stations and a few shops and houses in the middle of nowhere. Why slow down? There’s nothing to see.
Mount Garnet was first settled around the turn of the century when copper was found in the area. Within months the Mount Garnet Freehold Copper and Silver Mining Company Ltd had built a smelter and was busy hiring men to dig the valuable mineral out of the ground.
The best collection of rocks and gems in town belongs to Bill Brotherton. A real outback character with a flowing white beard and a compulsively interesting line of conversation, Brotherton has spent over 20 years collecting every kind of rock from the local area as well as working some of the local woods and collecting some fascinating specimens – including the foetus of a two-headed guinea pig which he claims to be the result of Agent Orange.
Wurruma Swamp, although little known, this is one of the wonders of the Mount Garnet area. The swamp retains water long after other local wetlands have dried up. Consequently it draws an amazing range of birdlife from the surrounding region. Edged by lilies and with dozens of varieties of birds the swamp is something special. At certain times of the year there are literally thousands of black swans present.