The Palmer River Goldfields are situated south of Laura, and west of Lakeland, on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range at the bottom of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland & centred on the deserted townsites of Palmerville & Maytown. Between 1873 & 1879, the Palmer River Goldfield was Australia's richest alluvial field ever discovered, yielding some one million ounces of gold & by 1907 had produced 1,323,735 ounces of gold. When the alluvial gold began to diminish, reef gold was discovered in the surrounding hills yielding a further 137,420 ounces. The gold rush at its peak had over 20,000 miners in the area (two thirds of which were Chinese). The settlements of Maytown & Palmerville were built on the Palmer River & were the centre for food & supplies. Today very little of it remains & access to the Maytown area is only available to the public. This is from either the Peninsula Development Road south of the Palmer River Roadhouse on the entry track to Maitland Downs Homestead; or via the old stage coach road from Laura. The latter is very rough, rocky & is considered hard & difficult 4WDriving. We visited this area during our Cape York Trip in September 2003, entering via the Maitland Downs track which proved to be a narrow & winding track through the hills that took some 4hrs travelling to cover the 60 odd kilometres from the highway to the Maytown site. There is no camping allowed at the Maytown site.