South Burnett Tourism > Towns > Kilkivan
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Kilkivan: The Town Of The Great Horse Ride
Where is Kilkivan?
Kilkivan is the northern gateway to the South Burnett. It's located on the Wide Bay Highway approximately 286 kilometres north-west of Brisbane (or 259km if you take the Burnett Highway from Nanango to Goomeri) and 53 kilometres from Gympie.

It can be reached by following:
  • the D'Aguilar Highway from Caboolture
  • the Brisbane Valley Highway through Esk
  • the New England Highway via Yarraman
  • the Bunya Highway via Dalby and Kingaroy
  • the Burnett Highway via Gayndah or
  • the Wide Bay Highway from Gympie


How big is Kilkivan?
Kilkivan is one of the two principal towns of Kilkivan Shire (the other is Goomeri, 25km to the west) and has a population of around 400 residents.

Kilkivan has its own hotel-motel, caravan park, B&B's, cafe, art gallery, restaurant, convenience stores, petrol outlets, golf club and newsagency. A Tourist Information Centre operates from the Kilkivan Historical Museum opposite the post office in the main street of town during busy periods.

The small village of Woolooga - located 20km north-east of Kilkivan off the Wide Bay Highway - has a hotel, tennis courts, post office and general store and a population of around 100 residents.


What is Kilkivan like?
Kilkivan is a small, relaxed country town with a slightly higher-humidity climate than most of the South Burnett because of its proximity to the coast.

The central area of town has several very pretty parks and many delightful heritage buildings, some of which have been fully restored in recent years.

Kilkivan is surrounded by hilly country intersected by numerous small ranges and ravines. While large areas of the landscape have been cleared into grasslands for beef cattle, dense belts of eucalypt scrub still abound in the area.

Kilkivan has a long and interesting history (see further below) and has a distinctive and unique "frontier" feel. It's still quite common to see horses and carts being ridden into town and wide-brimmed hats are seen more frequently in Kilkivan than any other part of the South Burnett.

Major annual events include the Kilkivan Great Horse Ride (held each April - this event routinely draws close to 1,000 horses and riders); the Kilkivan Campdraft (held in September each year); the Kilkivan Beef Festival (held in late September); and the Christmas Carnival (each December).


When was Kilkivan established?
The first European settler in Kilkivan Shire was John Daniel Mactaggart who established a sheep run in the area east of Boonara in the early 1840s. Mactaggart named his selection "Kilkivan" after the family farm in the Kintyre region of Scotland.

However the town owes most of its origins to the discovery of gold in the area during the late 1860s. Thousands of prospectors descended on the area when payable quantities of gold were discovered in July 1868 near the site of the present-day Prophet Gold Mine. The first Kilkivan township was actually built on the gold fields several kilometres from where it exists today (when gold was discovered under the original township it had to be relocated!).

After the gold fields were worked out Kilkivan became a mixed mining and agricultural economy (many localities in the Shire - such as Cinnabar - still bear names indicative of their mining past). These are still the two main industries today.


Useful Kilkivan information links


The Left Bank B&B and Cafe at Kilkivan

Above: Kilkivan has many delightfully restored buildings. The Left Bank (above) is one them. It's also a South Burnett regional cuisine restaurant (photo courtesy of
Bob Neville)

The Kilkivan Great Horse Ride procession

Above: The Kilkivan Great Horse Ride is one of Australia's most unique annual events - and the Grand Parade of around 1,000 horses is certainly something to see (photo courtesy of the Kilkivan Great Horse Ride)

The Kilkivan Historical Society Museum

Above: The Kilkivan and District Historical Society Museum also acts as a Tourist Information Centre for visitors. It's located in the main street of Kilkivan immediately next to The Left Bank (photo courtesy of Clive Lowe)

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Wine and Food, Great Lakes, Bunya Mounains... Discover The Wonderful Towns Of The South Burnett
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