Sponsored by Tropical North Queensland
The Atherton Tablelands are one among Australia’s greatest saved hidden gems. It’s made up of an enormous variety of landscapes, from cascading waterfalls to dense rainforests to emerald creeks.
It’s additionally recognized for its espresso plantations and agriculture and is without doubt one of the greatest locations in Australia to strive contemporary fruit, nuts, and naturally, espresso.
We had been shocked by the number of issues to do in Atherton Tablelands, and lots of of our neighborhood instructed us it was one among their favorite locations in Australia.
We spent two days within the Atherton Tablelands at the beginning of our highway journey alongside Savannah Way Drive. Sadly, we had two days of rain whereas we visited, however we cherished it anyway and nonetheless managed to see and do rather a lot.
Listed below are only a few of the wonderful issues to do within the Cairns Atherton Tablelands.
The place are the Atherton Tablelands?
The Atherton Tablelands is a area about an hour southwest of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland.
It was named after John Atherton, an early settler who grew to become well-known for overlanding sheep from NSW to Queensland, after which shifting to this space. You would possibly say he pioneered the agriculture right here.
In the present day is named a area that adjustments from agricultural land to wash forests, to historic rainforests, after which ultimately to the Queensland Outback, and is price spending just a few days exploring.
To get to the Atherton Tablelands, you will have to hire a car when you don’t have one already. We suggest you keep in Atherton as a base to discover the area, because it’s proper in the midst of the points of interest.
To get to Atherton from Cairns, you merely drive alongside the Kennedy Freeway, handed the MacAlister vary, Mareeba and Karunda.
To get there from the South from Innisfail, you possibly can both drive up Gillies Vary Street or the Palmerston Freeway to achieve Atherton.
Issues to Do within the Atherton Tablelands
Now slightly bit in regards to the Atherton Tablelands, it’s time to introduce you to the highest points of interest within the area.
1. Drive The Waterfall Circuit
Beginning close to the city of Millaa Millaa there’s a 15km circuit that embraces a number of the greatest waterfalls within the Atherton Tablelands area. Due to rain we didn’t get to each waterfall however the ones under are effectively price visiting.
2. Examine Out Millaa Millaa Falls
Millaa Millaa Falls is the principle occasion on the waterfall circuit and one of the crucial photographed waterfalls in Australia.
The waterfall is surrounded by lush rainforest. The water cascades right into a pristine waterhole, good for swimming on these tropical humid days. Search for platypus within the late afternoon. There are many shady grassed areas for a picnic.
There are supposed to be stunning views of the Tablelands from Millaa Lookout. Price a cease – we solely had rain clouds to see!
3. See Zillie Falls
The viewing platform is on the high of Zillie Falls, however there’s a muddy observe (when it rains) taking you right down to the underside of the falls to see the cascading waterfall and rapids.
4. Admire Ellinjaa Falls
The tree ferns and jungle vines provide fairly environment on the quick five-minute sealed observe to the underside of the falls. Ellinjaa Falls cascades over a sequence of lava columns.
Sizzling Tip: Have a water-resistant bag to your digital camera. We didn’t. The rain bought on it and the digital camera died and we needed to take this pic on our Samsung cellphone. Completely hated that $700 mistake and having to purchase a brand new one the following day.
5. Stroll to Malanda Falls
Not formally on the Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Circuit however simply off the Malanda-Atherton Rd is Malanda Falls, a cascade waterfall on the North Johnstone River.
There’s an exquisite stroll by the rainforest throughout the highway from the falls and when you search for you may be fortunate to identify a tree kangaroo. Apparently, they’re simple to seek out right here – we’re simply unfortunate!
6. Don’t miss the Curtain Fig Tree
Put together to be wowed by the Curtain Fig Tree. It’s a particular must-do.
I’ve fallen in love with the Strangler Figs right here in Tropical North Queensland, they’re such a significant a part of the rainforest. Despite the fact that they strangle the host timber, they go away behind a twisting path of magnificence and a thriving ecosystem.
They had been the supermarkets of the native Aboriginal tribe offering them with nearly every little thing they wanted.
This Curtain Fig Tree is unbelievable. It spans a number of metres throughout and the vines drape 15 metres down giving a beautiful curtain impact.
The Curtain Fig Tree is positioned simply outdoors of Yungaburra in a World Heritage rainforest. Whereas on this space of the Tablelands cease in at The Whistlestop Cafe for lunch.
8. Examine Out Hypipamee Crater and Dinner Falls
Hypipamee Crater is a fascinatingly eerie place price visiting. Far North Queensland is brimming with proof of a land as soon as teeming with volcanic exercise. Hypipamee crater is without doubt one of the volcanic crater lakes within the space that’s an excellent instance of this.
1000’s of years in the past, throughout an eruption, gases trapped underneath the earth’s floor burst their means by the crust, creating a huge gap in the midst of the mountain.
The crater is now stuffed with water that runs underneath the mountain within the lava pipe. The highest of the water within the crater lake is roofed with duckweed; its vibrant greens give a fairly, but type of deathly glaze, excessive. Certain wouldn’t wish to fall in there!
Dinner Falls, a cascading waterfall, can also be a brief stroll under the crater and price a glance. The rainforest right here is simply stunning – lush and inexperienced and when you’re fortunate you would possibly see a cassowary.
9. Trip the SkyRail and Kuranda Scenic Railway
Kuranda is a small village within the Atherton Tablelands that pulls lots of day guests from Cairns.
We visited Kuranda from Cairns taking the Skyrail up and the Kuranda Scenic Railway again down.
The views over the rainforest and searching again over Cairns are stunning.
There are just a few markets up right here, price a browse, though I believe you’ll discover higher somewhere else in Australia. Though I did discover essentially the most magical mookite crystal whereas there, so it made it a winner in my eyes. Isn’t she actually stunning?
Whereas in Kuranda, we extremely counsel you benefit from the 3km rainforest stroll from the centre of city by the rainforest and alongside the esplanade to the practice station.
It was actually stunning and I cherished the final part alongside the esplanade. It was beautiful with the afternoon mild and the melaleuca gums alongside the banks of the Barron River.
10. See Espresso World at Espresso Works
Put together to wake your self up with infinite photographs of espresso.
That’s when you pay the admission payment ($19) to Espresso World at Espresso Works in Mareeba. From there, you might have entry to limitless portions of espresso, tea, chocolate, and liqueur.
We bypassed this sensory explosion and stopped in on the cafe for a espresso. You’d count on an excellent one at a spot known as Espresso World – and sure, it didn’t allow us to down.
We did get to style a little bit of the chocolate within the cafe. I fell in love with the chilli chocolate. The espresso one was fairly good too. And we needed to drag the ladies out of the tasting room.
11. Go cheese tasting at Mandala Dairy Centre
We stopped in for lunch on the Mandala Dairy Centre. There’s a show space inside the cafe in case you are to be taught in regards to the dairy business within the Tablelands. You may as well pay to go behind the scenes into the milk manufacturing unit
We had a scrumptious pumpkin soup which heartened us up within the chilly rain.
Mungalli Creek bio-dynamic dairy additionally has a choice of cheese and yogurt to style, which had been deliciously creamy. They’re well-known for his or her gourmand cheese pies and Sicilian cheesecake if you wish to indulge.
For scrumptious ice cream, head over to Gallo Dairyland!
12. Cease Off at Lake Barrine Tea Home
Though it was nonetheless raining the Lake Barrine Teahouse was a beautiful place to go to proper on the lake. They’re well-known for his or her Devonshire Tea and we appreciated that that they had slightly kiddies play space so we may have some downtime with our tea.
Lake Barrine can also be well-known for its enjoyable cruises across the volcanic crater brim, or when you’re feeling extra energetic there’s a 5km strolling observe across the lake.
13. Go mountain bike using
The Atherton Tablelands is a mountain bike lovers dream play space.
There are over 30 kms of world-class devoted mountain bike trails, starting from newbie to hardcore, and so they take you winding by historic rainforests and scenic again nation roads.
14. Trip in a Sizzling Air Balloon
Why not check out Atherton from above? Sizzling air ballooning is a magical method to be part of the solar in its journey up.
It operates flights every day, climate dependent, from the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, Port Douglas, and Palm Cove with door-to-door transfers included in your sizzling air ballooning ticket.
15. Go to Granite Gorge Nature Park
The Granite Gorge Nature Park is a campground subsequent to very large granite boulders and a beautiful creek that’s nice for swimming.
The park is positioned simply 12km from Mareeba in a blissful rural setting. If you wish to camp, you possibly can hire one among their safari tents or pitch your personal tent.
Or, you possibly can go to for the day to see a few of its wonderful native wildlife. Echidnas, quolls, rock wallabies, possums, gliders and lots of species of chicken name this park house.
In case you’re searching for issues to do in Atherton Tablelands with youngsters, this may be it!
16. Discover the Mareeba Wetlands
We talked about earlier that the Atherton Tablelands has a various panorama, and up to now you’ve seen waterfalls, volcanic crate lakes, and plantations, however you haven’t seen wetlands…
And the Mareeba Wetlands are a particular should to any Athertons Tablelands itinerary.
It’s packed stuffed with uncommon and beautiful wildlife and related to the Queensland Outback on the Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve.
The reserve is greatest recognized for its strolling trails, which vary from quick simple hikes to full-day 15km hikes. You may as well take a guided boat tour throughout Clancy’s Lagoon, the place you possibly can spot a number of the park’s resident jacanas, pygmy-geese and freshwater crocs!
In case you favor slightly extra solitude, you possibly can hire a canoe and paddle the lagoon your self.
17. Examine Out Wooroonooran Nationwide Park
One other beautiful nature spot in Atherton Tablelands is the Wooroonooran Nationwide Park (say that 5 instances quick!).
The park is understood for its difficult Walshs Pyramid hike, which is a difficult 6km out and again path up a pyramid-shaped mountain, which affords wonderful vistas of the encompassing jungles under.
In case you favor rest, head over to Goldsborough Valley for some canoeing or kayaking on the river, or take a look at the beautiful Josephine Falls.
The park is understood for its stunning rainforest, untamed rivers and craggy gorges, so nevertheless you select to spend your days right here, you’ll be surrounded by a number of the greatest nature in Queensland.
18. Hike up Mount Bartle Frere
As one of many highest mountains in Australia, hikers shouldn’t skip the chance to hike up Mount Bartle Frere, which is positioned contained in the Wooroonooran Nationwide Park.
There are several routes up the mountain, however if you wish to attain the summit, you will have to permit two days to finish the hike, whichever route you are taking.
Now the Bartle Frere hike isn’t for everybody and it may be fairly harmful. It’s additionally price noting that whereas the path is effectively marked, the path may be very steep and requires some scrambling in locations.
We don’t suggest doing this hike alone, however when you’re a critical hiker and need to sort out this beast, the views from the summit will likely be a rewarding shock to your efforts!
19. Go to the Crystal Cave
In case you’re searching for distinctive issues to do in Atherton Tablelands, make sure to take a look at the Crystal Cave in Atherton.
The cave is a 300 meter squared cavern made up of tunnels and grottos, which has been was a crystal museum.
As you wander by the cavern, you will note a number of sorts of pure crystals and prehistoric fossils, some greater than 1,000,000 years previous.
When you may be considering the cave is as previous because the crystals inside, it was truly man-made.
It was created by Rene Boissevain as a spot to share his love of crystals. The museum now options over 600 specimens.
20. Pay Respects on the Hou Wang Temple
You may not expect to see a Chinese language temple in the midst of the Atherton Tablelands, however we did say it was a various area!
The Hou Wang Temple is a tin Chinese language Temple that was inbuilt 1903, and is the final timber and iron Chinese language temple in Aus. Additionally it is rumoured to be the one Chinese language temple devoted to Hou Wang outdoors China.
Hou Wang was the identify given to the bodyguard commander of the Emporer of the final Track Dynasty (1127-1279AD) Emperor.
After the Emporer fled from invading Mongols in 1279 AD, the commander Yang Liang Chieh was left in cost.
The temple can also be a museum, showcasing the importance of the areas Chinese language cultural heritage with shows of cultural artefacts which have each social and spiritual significance.
Suggestions From Our Neighborhood
We’ve proven you a few of our favorite issues to do within the Atherton Tablelands, and now it’s time to share what our readers and neighborhood say:
Chelsea Sutherland says – Peeramon Pub does an ideal lunch; the stroll round Lake Eacham may be very nice and family-friendly. Gallos Dairy has a small petting space out the again.
Becky Ward says – Lake Tinaroo is gorgeous and isn’t too far-off! Additionally when visiting Milla Milla falls arrive as early as potential to get the place to your self!
Lesley Hurrell-Clarke says –Sundown at Lake Eacham and you may see child turtles.
Susan Smart says – Spot a platypus within the wild at Yungaburra – an ideal little city to spend a few days in.
Tanya Manwaring says – Our little ones cherished The Crystal Caves, Milla Milla falls, and Lake Tinaroo. Great place to choose up some nice native espresso.
Emma Michelmore says – Go to Granite gorge, you get to feed cute wallabies and there’s a stunning scenic stroll.
The place to remain within the Atherton Tablelands
The Big 4 Atherton Woodlands Vacationer Park makes for an ideal base to discover the world.
We stayed in a cushty two-bedroom cabin. Simply down the highway are the Chinese language Gardens and the platypus pool – we couldn’t spot any, however many say they do.
It’s additionally near the centre of city and a brief drive to lots of the Tablelands points of interest.
Scroll by the record of lodging in Atherton.
Earlier than You Go
So there you might have it, these are the perfect issues to do in Atherton Tablelands and as you possibly can see, there’s a lot to see and do.
Whereas most individuals go to Cairns or Port Douglas to go out onto the Nice Barrier Reef, a visit inland to see the wildlife, jungles, waterfalls, and agriculture of the Atherton Tablelands shouldn’t be skipped off any Cairns itinerary.
We hope this information helped you to determine on what to do within the Atherton Tablelands and gave you some perception into why it’s such a beautiful vacation spot in Aus!
Disclaimer: We visited in partnership with Tropical North Queensland, however all of the ideas and concepts on this information are our personal. For extra particulars on magical Queensland drives, together with the Waterfall Circuit and the Savannah Means Drive go to Drive North Queensland.