If I told you that there’s a small village in Queensland that is set up for you to walk through and explore, but it is like you’re back in the early 1900’s, you’d think I’m completely mad right? Well, as it turns out, this place exists, and its called Herberton Historic Village, and its completely out of this world. A lot of people refer to this as a museum, but its so much more than that.
Yes, this is not the usual post that we write about here at 4WDing Australia, but this place is too unique and special not to mention. Straight off the bat, I’ll tell you I’m not the most history buff around, and there’s plenty of history that I don’t find particularly interesting.
The Herberton Historic Village though, is nothing short of incredible on so many levels, and is completely and utterly sensational. If that’s what comes from someone who doesn’t love history, imagine what you’d think if you were really into it?
Where is the Herberton Historic Village?
This fantastic village is inland from Innisfail, in the northern parts of Queensland. It’s only 15 minutes from Atherton, and very accessible for everyone, from multiple directions.
What is it?
The Herberton Historic Village is called a museum, and I suppose in a way it is, but it’s a real size village that will take you hours to fully explore, with so many different buildings to walk through and look at, let alone the different cars, pumps, mining history, tools and so much more.
This historic village was purchased a number of years ago by a couple who have clearly devoted a huge amount of time and resources to bringing it back to its former glory, with as much accuracy and detail as possible, and its almost impossible to describe with words how well done this is.
Once you have your tickets, you are given a map, and details of which sessions are running (more on this below), and sent on your way to explore a village of ridiculous proportions.
The gates close at 5PM, and you need to be gone by then, but you can do what you want for the day, and even leave as needed to have lunch outside in your caravan, or you can eat at one of the Cafes’.
How detailed is it?
There must be about 100 different rooms within dozens of buildings that you can walk into, and each one has a level of detail that is hard to express.
It’s been set up to display what you’d have seen back in the early 1900’s, and some rooms literally have hundreds and hundreds of different items, all playing their little role in a truly amazing walk through.
On top of this, its been displayed in a way that is quite easy to see, but protects some of the items and still makes it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The Herberton Historic Village has recently finished a small theatre, and plays a documentary a couple of times a day. This uses a huge screen with 3 projectors, and shows the history of Herberton, the initial finding of tin in the area, and then the development of the village into what it was, before its decline.
This is well worth watching, and its only 26 minutes long which means even the younger kids will tolerate it. Our 4 and 6 year old sat through the whole lot, quite fascinated by what they were seeing.
Every day, there’s a variety of activities that happen at the village. You’ll get a list when you arrive, with items ticked that are happening. These include things like the documentary showing in the theatre, woodworking, blacksmithing, the running of a number of old water pumps and cars, a whole heap of old John Deer Tractors that have been perfectly refurbished being run and quite a bit more.
We planned our day around these, and got to a number of them, and found them all pretty interesting. Our kids really loved the blacksmithing, and if they’d had actual shoes on (instead of thongs), they’d have been allowed inside to help stoke the furnace, which would have been pretty neat.
See the vlog
Want to see more? Here’s our vlog on YouTube:
Food at the Herberton Historic Village
If you don’t want to bring your own food (and you can, with a couple of picnic areas available), you can go to the Café and order food, or head across the bridge to the Pioneer Camp, where they serve billy tea, stew, damper or other alternatives that are cooked on the fire.
What does it cost?
We paid $76.40 for two adults and one child, or you can get a family pass for $98. Adults are $38, or $35 if you’re a concession.
Whilst this isn’t cheap for a museum, its certainly not an ordinary museum and when we left, we all agreed it was pretty decent value for money.
Interestingly, you can take dogs through this village, as long as you keep them on a leash, and clean up after them.
3 day pass
Every ticket that you buy comes with the ability to return for as long as you’d like in the next 3 days. You have to ask for the tickets to be updated when you leave, but it’s a pretty awesome arrangement that allows those who want to explore it over multiple days to really dig in and go for it.
What did we think of it?
This was another attraction that had a big reputation, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The level of detail and amount of work that has gone into this village makes it such a pleasure to walk through, and you lose yourself thinking about life way back, which is exactly what it should do.
Is it worth going with kids?
It’s pretty hard to explain to a young child how life was 80 years ago, but this village does a truly amazing job of it. Whilst we didn’t do it for any real educational purpose, it does exactly that, and our kids had an absolute ball looking at the various rooms, and pointing things out.
I’ve actually not seen them that excited and hypo for a long time, and they both had a great time (except for Cooper falling over a handful of times rushing around).
Our 4 year old was pretty exhausted and over it after most of the day spent walking around, but they both had a great time and we absolutely enjoyed it.
How long do you need at the Herberton Historic Village?
We made a point of arriving fairly early in the morning, and got there just after the gates had opened.
I’m going to say you need a minimum of 3 hours to get a good look at what is there, but you could comfortably spend all day, and even longer if you were a history fanatic and you really wanted to look at things in detail.
Put it on the list
We’ve done a lot of paid attractions on our Lap of Australia. Some have been fantastic, and others have been just OK.
The Herberton Historic Village is brilliant, and you can clearly see this when you take a look at the reviews online as well. If you’re even remotely interested, put it on the list; it’s a great place which deserves an enormous amount of credit.