A very popular place to adventure out from the popular hub that is Cairns is the Atherton Tablelands. An easy hour and a half drive from Cairns, The Tablelands hold ancient World Heritage listed rainforest, volcanic lakes, stunning waterfalls, adorable native animals and so much more. But with so many options, where to g, where to go.
Millaa Millaa Waterfall Circuit
Can confirm, this circuit passed three of The Tablelands’ best-looking waterfalls is so worth putting on your list. The first, and I would argue the main waterfall that you come to is that of Millaa Millaa itself. Jump out for a swim and an 80% chance of the bright blue Ulysses Butterfly to land on you if you’re also wearing blue and stay super still. Platypuses defs live here, but you’re very unlikely to see them. But you ARE likely to have a delish byo barbeque at all the provided facilities there. Further along the road, you’ll find Zillie Falls and lovely walking tracks, then Ellinjaa Falls.
Wetlands hold their own unique species of wildlife, that will be particularly thrilling to bird watchers. With 5000 acres and a bunch of lagoons and channels, you’re going to see a lot of feathered friends.
Rainforestation Nature Park
The rainforest all around you is literally teeming with life, but they can be pretty hard to spot unless you’re an expert. Make sure you get to experience them and learn about them with a stop off at Rainforestation Nature Park. While you’re there learn more about the local culture from local indigenous Pamagirri guides, take a guided tour through the surrounding rainforest and grab a bite to eat.
Curtain Fig Tree
You’re only questioning my inclusion of particular trees in a place literally teaming with them if you’ve never experienced the awesomeness that is a strangler tree. This one was created when a strangler vine made its way along the leaning tree you can still see inside it, and sent its roots 15 metres to the ground creating a curtin effect. Curtain Fig Tree also happens to be one of the largest trees in the whole of North Queensland.
The Cathedral Strangler fig tree and the non-strangled Giant Red Cedar tree (yes, they’ve both also been named) are also highly worth a look-see.
Golden Pride Winery
And now for something completely different. Everybody loves a boutique winery, but you’ve never been to one like this before. Golden Pride Winery just outside of Mareeba focuses on creating wine from the mangoes grown on their huge plantation. The cellar door is open daily from 8 in the morning to 6.30 at night.
Tully Gorge National Park
There are so many options for nature viewing around here, but special shoutout to The Tully Gorge National Park. It’s got some amazing natural swimming holes and is super popular with white water rafters, seeing as it’s considered the wettest place in Queensland, but it’s also very pretty and fun to watch others rafting if you’re not so much of an adventure seeker.
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Inside Lake Eacham National Park is the 12,000-year-old volcanic Lake Eacham. It was created when two huge explosions went off from sciencey things that happen when magma rises to the surface and created a volcanic crater. No water flows in or out of this 65-metre deep lake, it’s all about rain, seepage, and evaporation.