Boolboonda Tunnel

Boolboonda Tunnel is one of the most interesting sights in the North Burnett region. Despite the fact that it extends 192 metre into the rock, it is unlined and unsupported. In fact it has the dubious distinction of being the longest unsupported tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere. Its construction represented an important engineering feat for rail transport in Queensland.

The tunnel was constructed for the Mount Perry to Tirroan railway line to service the copper mines, and while the mines later faded away, the railway remained in use hauling agricultural freight until 1960. It passes under the Boolboonda Range through hard granite rock. Plans for the section of railway line were approved in 1880, and while surveyors tried to find a less expensive route around the Boolboonda Range, in the end planners had to go back to the original decision to tunnel straight through the granite. Air compressors, boilers and drills were brought in and work started from both ends of the tunnel, meeting in the middle in June 1883.

It took two years to dig and was officially opened on 2 November 1883. By the late 1950s, the railway line's use had dwindled, and in 1960 it was closed. The rails were taken up the next year, and today a gravel road runs through the tunnel. The tunnel is accessible by vehicular traffic, it is home to a colony of bent-winged bats and used to access residential properties.

If the tunnel is approached from Gin Gin (east side) it is clearly signposted on the left and close to the Gin Gin - Mt Perry Rd. After passing through the tunnel the trail winds for 3km back to the main road giving a good sense of the terrain the trains had to battle through. Here there is a sign (if coming from Mount Perry, west side) reading 'Tourist Drive 6'. It is then about 12km to the historic mining town of Mt Perry. The rail line corridor is still visible in places from the road but what remains is difficult to follow and after leaving the trail portions of it is on private land

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