is a beautiful
green plateau also called Cairns Highlands.
It is inland from the coast
between Innisfail and Cairns, and west of Wooroonooran
Being up to 1000m high,
it is much cooler than the coastal lowlands and there are many
dairies, farms and wineries that have taken advantage of the cool
climate. There are also some great drives and bushwalks, and some
famous fig trees, lakes and waterfalls.
From the coast, you can get here via Kuranda nort-west of
Cairns, Gordonvale south of Cairns,
Palmerston Highway west of
Atherton Tablelands. Poster by AllPosters. Click on
Kuranda and Kuranda Markets Kuranda
is a former hippie village inland from Cairns. Today it is a vibrant
tourist town with the famous Kuranda Markets, Kuranda Wildlife
Noctarium where you can see nocturnal animals, and Birdworld with
different kinds of parrots.
And a bit outside the town is the Rainforestation
Nature Park. But the most unique place to
visit is the Australian
Butterfly Sanctuary, the largest of its kind in
Australia, and probably the best place in the country to get close to
including the large Ulysses Butterfly and Cairns
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Kuranda. Poster by AllPosters.
Click on thumbnail
Mareeba and Mareeba Wetlands
South-west of Kuranda
and in the northern end of Atherton Tablelands is Mareeba
the centre of a rich farming area with tea, coffee, tobacco and
macadamia nuts plantations, cattle stations, sugar cane farms and tropical
fruit wineries. You can visit the Golden
Pride Winery, Coffee Works and the Skybury Australian Coffee Centre for
tours and tastings, or take a Hot
Air Ballooning ride.
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One of Mareeba’s main attractions is Mareeba
Wetlands - a 12 sq km reserve that attracts many different
waterbirds including jabirus,
but also some marsupials
and some big
reptiles. There are walking tracks and guided
tours as well as accommodation in Jabiru
Safari Lodge. South-west of Mareeba is the beautiful Granite
Gorge, with a camping ground, some walking tracks, and
Mareeba. by dankilometres via Flickr.com
Petford and Dimbulah
West of Mareeba there is an interesting side trip to the outback.
Following the so called Wheelbarrow
Way you pass small townships like Mutchilba and Dimbulah,
then the small railway station in Petford;
and the old pub in Lappa
which is now a museum with all sorts of
memorabilia and a public bar with corrugated iron walls.
Dimbulah. by certified su via Flickr.com
Chillagoe and Chillagoe Caves
Further west along the Burke Developmental Road is the small township
of Almaden, and
in the middle of
country with some impressive granite
boulders. The limestone was deposited here by an ancient coral
reef 400 million years ago when the area was
the bottom of a tropical sea. Limestone often forms caves, and there
are many impressive ones in the Mungana Chillagoe Caves
National Park. Another thing to see is
the Old Smelters
that remain from the old mining days. Some mining is still happening
here, and the town's two pubs can get
You can stay at the pubs, or in
Chillagoe Tourist Village, Chillagoe Cabins, Chillagoe Creek Homestead
or Chillagoe Bush Camp and Eco Lodge.
Atherton. by jemasmith via Flickr.com
Herberton and Irvinebank
South of Atherton, in the western end of the Atherton Tablelands is the
small township Herberton
- a historical mining town with some very nice old buildings and the
famous Herberton Historical Village. Here you can stay a the Australian
River Caravan Park or Green Springs Holiday Farm. Inland from Herberton
- another nice
quiet outback town where you can stay at the Irvinebank Tavern.
Herberton. by jemasmith via Flickr.com
Ravenshoe - the Highest Town in Atherton Tablelands South of Herberton, in the southern end of the Atherton
Tablelands, is Ravenshoe, known as the
in Queensland, and also for its steam railway carriages, and its wind
farm that is supposedly the largest in Australia.
Some of the places to stay include Kool Moon Motel and Millstream
Ravenshoe. by RaeAllen via Flickr.com Misty
South of Ravenshoe are Misty Mountains –
huge bushwalking area which is reached from Ravenshoe, Millaa Millaa
and Palmerston Highway in the north, and also from Tully in the east on
north of Townsville. There are 130km of long bushwalking
Misty Mountains through some beautiful rainforest containing rare
mammals like coppery brushtail possums,
lemuroid possums, striped possums and
Herbert River ringtail possums. But if you are not a keen bushwalker,
you can just drive in along Tully
Falls Road and visit the Tully Falls Lookout and the
Along the road, you'll pass by some entrances
to the bushwalking tracks, parts of which
follow traditional pathways of Aboriginal
Millstream Falls. by Matthew Kenwrick via Flickr.com
Millaa Millaa and the Waterfalls
North-east of Ravenshoe is Millaa
Millaa, a small township in the south-eastern Atherton
that got a fair bit of damage from Cyclone
Larry in March 2006, despite being so far inland. Milaa
mostly known for the beautiful waterfalls that surround it – you can
drive the Waterfalls Circuit where after
Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls, Ellinjaa Falls, Mungalli Falls,
Millstream Falls, Souita Falls and Pepina Falls, even the keenest
waterfall fanatics should be satisfied for the day!
Millaa Millaa. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to
Malanda and Bromfield Swamp
North of Millaa Millaa is Malanda
– a quiet township known for Malanda Falls, Malanda Dairy Centre and
Majestic Theatre with its original canvas seats. Bromfield Swamp west
of the town has some good birdlife and the visitors centre runs
rainforest walking tours. You can stay at Malanda Hotel (the town’s
pub), Malanda Falls Caravan Park, or Malanda
Yungaburra. by certified su via Flickr.com
Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham
East of Yungaburra is the Crater Lakes National Park with two beautiful
crater lakes – Lake
and Lake Eacham.
Both have a
rainforest walking track around it, and the one at Lake Barrine goes
two huge 1000-years-old kauri pines. Lake
Eacham is quieter while at Lake Barrine there is the Lake Barrine
& Tea House that serves meals and runs cruises on the lake.
is not allowed around either of the lakes,
but you can stay at Lake
Eacham Tourist Park or Crater
Lakes Rainforest Cottages.
Lake Eacham. by descon7 via Flickr.com
Cathedral Fig Tree
North of the Crater Lakes National Park is Atherton Tablelands'
another fig tree – Cathedral
Both are appropriately named - the Curtain Fig Tree looks like a
curtain, while the Catherdral Fig Tree has a hollow between the roots,
where you can go in, like a in cathedral. Both are very large examples
of strangler figs - a parasitic tree that starts growing up on a branch
of the host tree, where a bird has dropped its seed. It gets all the
nutrients from the host tree and so gradually kills it while it grows
bigger and hangs its roots down towards the ground. By the time they
reach the ground, the host tree is usually dead and the fig keeps using
its trunk to lean on. Now that its roots reach the ground, it can get
its own nutrients from the soil.
Curtain Fig Tree. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail
Lake Tinaroo and Danbulla Forest Drive
The Catherdral Fig Tree is on the Danbulla Forest Drive, which goes
around Lake Tinaroo
the north-eastern Atherton Tablelands, which is famous for its
fishing but also a nice place to camp and relax. After the
Cathedral Fig, there are volcanic craters at Mobo Creek and Lake Euramo. Further
along the drive
are some camping grounds and bushwalking
tracks with views before you come to Kauri Creek, Platypus Creek,
Tinaroo Falls Dam and finally the township of Tinaroo Falls, where
can stay at Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park or Tinaroo Haven Holiday Lodge.
From here, the Gillies Highway goes across the Gillies Range to the
east coast, to Gordonvale just south of Cairns.
Lake Tinaroo. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to
Here is a map of Atherton Tablelands,
where I have
tagged the places that I mentioned on this web page. You can click on
the tags to see what places they are, and double-click anywhere on the
map to zoom it in and see the places closer. Drag the map to move
around, and if you want to see the satellite image with Google Earth,
click on "Sat" in the top right hand corner.
This site uses
British English, which is the English we use in Australia. You will
find words like "traveller", "harbour" and "realise", and they are all
correct in the language used in Australia.
best efforts have been made to ensure
that all the information on this site is correct,
gondwananet.com is not to be blamed should there be a mistake.
All contents of this website are strictly protected
by the Law of Copyright. What
does that mean?