The Atherton Tablelands is located in the highlands some 100km and more from Cairns
. The beautiful plateau region is blessed with magnificent waterfalls, rolling green hills and World-Heritage rainforest. The tablelands are accessible from Kennedy Highway between Mareeba
Mareeba is located 62km southwest of Cairns and is known as the coffee capital of Australia, with the local plantations collectively producing over 70 percent of the nation’s coffee crops. Mareeba’s surrounding area also offers wineries, wetlands, waterfalls and Granite Gorge. There are two waterfalls to visit east of Mareeba, the impressive Davies Creek Falls and Emerald Creek Falls. The turnoffs are located 15km and 26km from town on the Kennedy Hwy.
township is 34km south of Mareeba and the main Atherton Tablelands attractions are located between here and Ravenshoe. The town is a large service centre for surrounding farming communities and offers plenty of accommodation and camping. From Atherton you can head east and go platypus watching
at Yungaburra and Barramundi
fishing at Lake Tinaroo
Yungaburra is just 11km east of Atherton and is regarded for its platypus viewing at Peterson’s Creek. The designated viewing platform beside the main road overlooks the creek which is a haven for the intriguing billed mammal. The best time to see these remarkable creatures is at dawn and dusk when they come out to feed. Keeping both quiet and still will improve your viewing chances significantly.
Lake Tinaroo is accessible 25km from Atherton and is a recreational dam frequented for fishing and water sports such as skiing, sailing and canoeing. Barramundi fishing is a popular attraction as the lake is a stocked impoundment, with Barramundi fingerlings being released and trophy size fish available for the taking. Fishing permits are required here and plenty of accommodation and camping is available.
Ravenshoe is 52km south of Atherton and is the highest town in Queensland situated 930 metres above sea level. Amidst the mountains and the clouds, Ravenshoe boasts rolling green hills and pastures, a cool sub-tropical climate at high altitude, and is the rural gateway to the magnificent scenery the Atherton Tablelands has to offer. Nearby are waterfalls galore, lush rainforests, hot springs, Tully Gorge and the Misty Mountains.
Millstream Falls is recognised as the widest single drop waterfall in Australia and is just west of Ravenshoe 1km in off Kennedy Highway. A 340m walk down a bitumen path is well worth it to view these dramatic falls.
Ravenshoe to Millaa Millaa along Middlebrook Rd is a delightful scenic route winding through the country side. Turn off the highway 3km east of town and marvel at the rolling green hills contrasting with rainforest as you seek out the local waterfalls. The 27km drive visits two waterfalls, the first being Pepina Falls at Middlebrook Creek. A 90m walk reaches the bottom of the falls with a small plunge pool amongst lush rainforest. Platypus inhabit these creeks so keep an eye out.
turnoff is 2km on and a 5km drive down a no through road reaches the falls. A rocky staircase descends to two separate sets of falls and rapids pounding down the creek bed. The 220m walk to the falls is steep but relatively easy and very scenic.
The rural farming community of Millaa Millaa
is a charming little place with basic shops and a well maintained Lions Park central to town with barbeque and picnic facilities. The town centre, park and caravan park all display colourful flowers and lush foliage.
The Millaa Millaa waterfall circuit is 15km long and passes 3 gorgeous falls. Turn left east of town onto Theresa Creek Rd and 1.5km on is the glorious Millaa Millaa Falls. Just a short walk from the car park are these magnificent falls in a magical rainforest setting and so close to town. The well maintained grass area is the perfect picnic spot and swimming is permitted in the plunge pool.
Zillie Falls is 8km on and only a 100m stroll reaches a viewing platform overlooking the beautiful falls pouring over a rock ledge.
is 2km further on and another short walk takes you to another impressive waterfall and the last in the circuit.
The Atherton Tablelands really is a remarkably scenic area. Be sure to stop at Crawfords Lookout on Palmerston Hwy between Millaa Millaa and Innisfail to overlook the Johnstone River backdrop framed by a rainforest foreground. The effect is simply stunning.
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Destinations in Queensland
Daintree National Park
Tin Can Bay
Undara Volcanic National Park
Return from Atherton Tablelands to Queensland