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20 Amazing Things To Do In The Atherton Tablelands In Cairns

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Sponsored by Tropical North Queensland

The Atherton Tablelands are certainly one of Australia’s finest saved hidden gems. It’s made up of an enormous range of landscapes, from cascading waterfalls to dense rainforests to emerald creeks.

It’s additionally recognized for its espresso plantations and agriculture and is among the finest locations in Australia to attempt contemporary fruit, nuts, and naturally, espresso.

Millaa Millaa Falls,

We had been stunned by the number of issues to do in Atherton Tablelands, and plenty of of our group advised us it was certainly one of their favorite locations in Australia.

We spent two days within the Atherton Tablelands at first of our highway journey alongside Savannah Approach Drive. Sadly, we had two days of rain whereas we visited, however we beloved it anyway and nonetheless managed to see and do loads.

Listed below are just some 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 may say he pioneered the agriculture right here.

Right this moment is called a area that adjustments from agricultural land to wash forests, to historical rainforests, after which ultimately to the Queensland Outback, and is price spending a couple of days exploring.

map of atherton location

To get to the Atherton Tablelands, you will want to rent a automobile for those who don’t have one already. We advocate 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 Highway or the Palmerston Freeway to succeed in Atherton.

Issues to Do within the Atherton Tablelands

Now you understand a bit 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

sign showing Waterfall Circuit

Beginning close to the city of Millaa Millaa there’s a 15km circuit that embraces a number of the finest waterfalls within the Atherton Tablelands area. Due to rain we didn’t get to each waterfall however the ones beneath are nicely price visiting.

2. Test Out Millaa Millaa Falls

Millaa Millaa Falls cascading into pool of water

Millaa Millaa Falls is the primary 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 lovely views of the Tablelands from Millaa Lookout. Value a cease – we solely had rain clouds to see!

3. See Zillie Falls

Zillie Falls spilling over cliff edge

The viewing platform is on the prime 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.

Zillie Falls looking like a curtina of water framed by green foliage

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 collection of lava columns.   

Sizzling Tip: Have a water-resistant bag on your digicam. We didn’t. The rain received on it and the digicam 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 subsequent day.

Ellinjaa Falls spilling over rock face into pool

5. Stroll to Malanda Falls

short stream of water spilling over rocks 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 a wonderful stroll by way of the rainforest throughout the highway from the falls and for those who search for you is perhaps fortunate to identify a tree kangaroo. Apparently, they’re straightforward to seek out right here – we’re simply unfortunate!

people waking on trail through the forest

6. Don’t miss the Curtain Fig Tree

vines draping to look like curtains

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 an important a part of the rainforest. Although they strangle the host bushes, 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 all the pieces they wanted.

This Curtain Fig Tree is unimaginable. It spans a number of metres throughout and the vines drape 15 metres down giving a stunning curtain impact.

The Curtain Fig Tree is positioned simply exterior of Yungaburra in a World Heritage rainforest. Whereas on this space of the Tablelands cease in at The Whistlestop Cafe for lunch.

full length picture of tree branches with vines spilling down like curtains

8. Test Out Hypipamee Crater and Dinner Falls

green pool of water surrounded by cliffs and lush forest. Hypipamee Crater,

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 among the volcanic crater lakes within the space that’s a superb instance of this.

Hundreds of years in the past, throughout an eruption, gases trapped beneath the earth’s floor burst their method by way of the crust, creating a huge gap in the midst of the mountain.

The crater is now crammed with water that runs beneath the mountain within the lava pipe. The highest of the water within the crater lake is roofed with duckweed; its vibrant greens give a reasonably, but type of deathly glaze, excessive. Positive wouldn’t wish to fall in there!

Dinner Falls cascading over rocks into pool

Dinner Falls, a cascading waterfall, can also be a brief stroll beneath the crater and price a glance. The rainforest right here is simply lovely – lush and inexperienced and for those who’re fortunate you may see a cassowary.

9. Journey the SkyRail and Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda is a small village within the Atherton Tablelands that pulls quite a lot 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 lovely.

girls looking out window of Skyrail passing another gondola

There are a couple of markets up right here, price a browse, though I feel 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 lovely?

Whereas in Kuranda, we extremely recommend you benefit from the 3km rainforest stroll from the centre of city by way of the rainforest and alongside the esplanade to the practice station.

It was actually lovely and I beloved the final part alongside the esplanade. It was beautiful with the afternoon mild and the melaleuca gums alongside the banks of the Barron River.

Kuranda Scenic Railway passing over bridge

10. See Espresso World at Espresso Works

Put together to wake your self up with countless pictures of espresso.

That’s for those who pay the admission price ($19) to Espresso World at Espresso Works in Mareeba. From there, you could have entry to limitless portions of espresso, tea, chocolate, and liqueur.

buckets of coffee beans in a store

We bypassed this sensory explosion and stopped in on the cafe for a espresso. You’d count on a superb one at a spot referred to 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

cheeseboard
credit score: Shutterstock.com

We stopped in for lunch on the Mandala Dairy Centre. There’s a show space throughout the cafe if you’re 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 collection 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 stunning 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 a bit 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 for those who’re feeling extra energetic there’s a 5km strolling observe across the lake.

coffee mugs and food on a table

13. Go mountain bike using

The Atherton Tablelands is a mountain bike lovers dream play space.

people Mountain biking in the Atherton Tablelands

There are over 30 kms of world-class devoted mountain bike trails, starting from newbie to hardcore, they usually take you winding by way of historical rainforests and scenic again nation roads.

14. Journey in a Sizzling Air Balloon

Hot air ballooning over the Atherton Tablelands

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 day by 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

Couple with rock wallabies in granite gorge nature park
Credit score: Tourism & Occasions Queensland

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 certainly one of their safari tents or pitch your individual 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 plenty of species of fowl name this park house.

In the event you’re searching for issues to do in Atherton Tablelands with children, this is able to be it!

16. Discover the Mareeba Wetlands

building next to a lily pond

We talked about earlier that the Atherton Tablelands has a various panorama, and to this point 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 finest recognized for its strolling trails, which vary from quick straightforward 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 the event you want a bit extra solitude, you possibly can hire a canoe and paddle the lagoon your self.

17. Test Out Wooroonooran Nationwide Park

dark mystical forest

One other beautiful nature spot in Atherton Tablelands is the Wooroonooran Nationwide Park (say that 5 occasions 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 gives wonderful vistas of the encircling jungles beneath.

In the event you want 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 lovely rainforest, untamed rivers and craggy gorges, so nonetheless you select to spend your days right here, you’ll be surrounded by a number of the finest nature in Queensland.

18. Hike up Mount Bartle Frere

Views from summit of Queensland's highest mountain
Credit score: Tourism & Occasions Queensland

As one of many highest mountains in Australia, hikers mustn’t skip the chance to hike up Mount Bartle Frere, which is positioned contained in the Wooroonooran Nationwide Park.

There are a number of routes up the mountain, however if you wish to attain the summit, you will want to permit two days to finish the hike, whichever route you are taking.

Now the Bartle Frere hike just isn’t for everybody and it may be fairly harmful. It’s additionally price noting that whereas the path is nicely marked, the path could be very steep and requires some scrambling in locations.

We don’t advocate doing this hike alone, however for those who’re a severe hiker and need to sort out this beast, the views from the summit shall be a rewarding shock on your efforts!

19. Go to the Crystal Cave

In the event you’re searching for distinctive issues to do in Atherton Tablelands, be sure you take a look at the Crystal Collapse Atherton.

The cave is a 300 meter squared cavern made up of tunnels and grottos, which has been became a crystal museum.

As you wander by way of the cavern, you will notice a number of forms of pure crystals and prehistoric fossils, some greater than 1,000,000 years previous.

Whilst you is perhaps considering the cave is as previous because the crystals inside, it was really 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 in-built 1903, and is the final timber and iron Chinese language temple in Aus. It’s also rumoured to be the one Chinese language temple devoted to Hou Wang exterior China.

Hou Wang was the title 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 Group

a woman looking at valleys
Views of Atherton from the balloon

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 group say:

Chelsea Sutherland says – Peeramon Pub does an important lunch; the stroll round Lake Eacham could 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 Sensible says – Spot a platypus within the wild at Yungaburra – an important little city to spend a few days in.

Tanya Manwaring says – Our little ones beloved The Crystal Caves, Milla Milla falls, and Lake Tinaroo. Great place to select up some nice native espresso.

Emma Michelmore says – Go to Granite gorge, you get to feed cute wallabies and there’s a lovely scenic stroll.

The place to remain within the Atherton Tablelands

The Massive 4 Atherton Woodlands Vacationer Park makes for an important 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 most of the Tablelands points of interest.

Scroll by way of the listing of lodging in Atherton.

Earlier than You Go

So there you could have it, these are the very best 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 move 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 an exquisite 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 Approach Drive go to Drive North Queensland.

Supply: Breaking Travel News

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