Nature, Wildlife, Stunning Landscapes
Postcard perfect landscapes home to unique wildlife
The diversity of landscapes on the Atherton Tablelands provide an inspiring backdrop for any road trip. Couple that with unique wildlife, cascading waterfalls, towering fig trees and volcanic crater lakes and you are in for some of natures most spectacular work. Grab your camera and jump in the car to experience some ‘wow’ moments on the Atherton Tablelands.
Duration: 2 – 3 days
Journey with the growers into Rainforest Hearts 435 acre secluded valley to experience a sustainable tropical bushfood orchard and cellar door on the edge of the World Heritage listed ‘Wet tropics’ at Mungalli. Wander with the owners through the native fruit orchard and taste the fruits as evolution has created them, wild and un-tamed. Relax and take in the tranquil surroundings while enjoying a refreshing cup of Davidsons plum tea or sample the delicious Davidson’s Plum Royale Aperitif with your morning or afternoon tea, all made with bush fruits grown on the property. Hear the history of the first settlers to this valley, their relationship with the indigenous peoples who lived there, and the sustainable farming journey the owners have travelled thus far.
Kuranda Koala Gardens
Kuranda Koala Gardens is Kuranda's newest wildlife attraction! Situated in the heart of Kuranda, this attraction gives you the opportunity to see some of Australia's most unique wildlife up close. We have a variety of wildlife for you to see. Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit in Australia - a quality wildlife park in the heart of Kuranda Village. Situated next to the Kuranda markets, The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is home to over 1500 magnificent tropical butterflies that are hand reared on the premises.
Immerse yourself in one of the most unique wildlife attractions of Tropical North Queensland. Join the birds in their beautiful rainforest habitat. Flying around you are species from the vanishing rainforests of the world, including some of Australia's most precious and beautiful birds.
Visitors have a unique opportunity to meet some Aussie bats, both big and small, up close and personal. Enter their upside down world for a personalised tour during feed time in the afternoon. The internationally known Bat Hospital has Advanced Ecotourism accreditation and won numerous awards for community conservation and education.
Open daily 3-6pm but bookings essential telephone 4091 2683.
The Barron Falls is a steep tiered cascade waterfall on the Barron River located where the river descends from the Atherton Tablelands in Kuranda to the Cairns coastal plain. An elevated, wheelchair-accessible (with assistance) boardwalk suspended high above the forest floor winds through lush, rainforest canopy to the Barron Falls lookouts and Barron Falls railway platform. Enjoy views over the gorge and spectacular Barron Falls.
This Cathedral Fig is 500 years old, 43 metres round, and 50 metres high and has a canopy cover that spans 2 hectares. Many species of animal can be seen seeking shelter in and around the Cathedral Fig Tree including Fruit Doves, Robins, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, many species of reptile, Possums and Tree Kangaroo
Davies Creek Falls
Davies Creek Falls are the focal point of Davies Creek National Park. The falls are 2km beyond the camping area at Davies Creek, on Davies Creek Road. A circuit path accesses two lookouts next to the falls, and then winds along the creekbank to a picnic area further upstream, before returning to the carpark. The lookouts offer a panorama of the northern Atherton Tableland and views of the gorge and the 75 metre waterfall.
Hasties Swamp is a birdwatcher's delight, this swamp is a valuable refuge for resident and migratory birds. Enjoy the birds and views from the two-storey bird hide.
Mareeba Wetlands is a designated Nature Refuge recognised by Qld Parks and Wildlife Service and lies within the traditional Country of the Muluridji people; protecting over 5000 acres of savannas and wetlands and providing a sanctuary for much of tropical Australia's savanna and wetland flora and fauna, as well as its cultural heritage.
Millaa Millaa Lookout
On McHugh Road between Millaa Millaa and the Kennedy Highway. Elevation 1070 metres. One of the most spectacular lookouts on the Atherton Tablelands.
In the rain shadow of the Great Dividing Range, dry open woodlands surround Millstream Falls, reputedly the widest single-drop falls in Australia. The park is rich in World War II history.
Alan's Wildlife Tours
An enthusiastic naturalist, Alan specialises in birds and nocturnal mammals. With expert local knowledge you will see and understand the fascinating natural history of the Atherton Tablelands. Alan's amusing stories will add to your experience. Having reliable sites for endemic birds and iconic mammals, Alan will find your target species.
Lake Eacham is a clear, blue lake surrounded by lush rainforest. Walking tracks through the rainforest provide secluded forest-fringed views of the lake and excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. In geological terms, the lake is a maar—a volcanic crater formed by massive explosions from the superheating of groundwater. The crater has filled with water, forming a lake 65m deep.
Peterson Creek Walkway
Peterson Creek Walkway and viewing platform: a haven for wildlife with some great spots along the way for a picnic. Platypus, tree kangaroos, wallabies and a variety of birds and other wildlife are regularly observed.
Lake Barrine was formed over 17,000 years ago when a large volcano erupted, leaving a crater that over time filled up with water to create a lake. The crater or maar was formed as a result of a series of volcanic explosions. These explosions were caused by the hot molten rock coming into contact with groundwater. This caused a build-up of steam, gases and pressure which blasted the central core from the volcano. This massive explosion left a huge crater, which filled with rainwater to create Lake Barrine.
Mt Hypipamee Crater
Mt Hypapamee Crater is a deep, cylindrical volcanic pipe with a lake at the bottom is an awe inspiring feature of this park. It is 61 metres in diameter and 82 metres deep. The Traditional Owners of Mount Hypipamee National Park, the Ngadjon and Jirrbal, Aboriginal people, welcome you to their country and ask that you respect their special place.
Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park
Featuring spectacular limestone caves, small galleries of Aboriginal rock art, jagged limestone outcrops and an historically significant mining site, this park is rich in natural and cultural heritage.
- Depart Cairns via the Kuranda Range Road which is just north of Cairns CBD and climbs the coastal range to the cultural rainforest village of Kuranda, home to the famous Kuranda Markets and a host of other attractions, shops and restaurants.
- The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit in the Southern Hemisphere. The sanctuary is home to over 2000 butterflies from a variety of species and located in the heart of Kuranda.
- Immerse yourself in one of the most unique wildlife attractions of Tropical North Queensland at Birdworld Kuranda and Kuranda Koala Gardens. Join the birds in their beautiful rainforest habitat. Flying around you are species from the vanishing rainforests of the world, including some of Australia’s most precious and beautiful birds.
- The Barron Falls is a steep tiered cascade waterfall on the Barron River located where the river descends from the Atherton Tablelands in Kuranda to the Cairns coastal plain. An elevated, wheelchair-accessible (with assistance) boardwalk suspended high above the forest floor winds through lush, rainforest canopy to the Barron Falls lookouts and Barron Falls railway platform. Enjoy views over the gorge and spectacular Barron Falls.
- Leaving Kuranda via the Kennedy Highway, travel 21km before turning left on to Davies Creek Road. This gravel road is corrugated and unsuitable for caravans. Davies Creek Falls, a magnificent waterfall cascading over huge granite boulders, and the impressive Clohesy River fig tree are major features of these national parks.
- Continue on the Kennedy Highway to Mareeba – a multi-cultural district rich in wildlife, museums, coffee and wine, and clear blue skies.
- The Mareeba Wetlands Reserve features four self guided walking trails whereby you can explore the Savanna and Wetlands environments. Opening hours are 8.30am to 4.30pm, 7 days a week from April to December and is located 6.5 klms north of Mareeba.
- Chillagoe is 140 klms west of Mareeba easily accessed by conventional vehicles via the Wheelbarrow Way. Chillagoe is a genuine Outback town with fascinating attractions and abundant wildlife and home to stunning limestone caves.
- 30 minutes south of Mareeba is the town of Atherton where you will find The Bat Hospital – the internationally renowned hospital gives visitors the unique opportunity to meet some Australian bats face to face – and Hasties Swamp.
- 25klms south of Atherton is Mt Hypipamee National Park centred around a diatreme or volcanic pipe, thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion. A platform at the end of a 400 m walking track through the rainforest provides an uninterrupted view of the remaining crater. The crater is almost 70 m across with sheer granite walls (the surface rock through which the gas exploded). Fifty-eight metres below the rim is a lake over 70 m deep, covered with a green layer of native waterweed.
- Millstream Falls is located 4.5 klms from Ravenshoe, just 52 klms south of Atherton. In the rain shadow of the Great Dividing Range, dry open woodlands surround Big Millstream Falls, reputedly the widest single-drop falls in Australia.
- Accommodation options – Atherton, Herberton, Ravenshoe, Millaa Millaa, Malanda and Yungaburra
- Millaa Millaa Lookout is located on the East Evelyn Road between Millaa Millaa and the Kennedy Highway and one of the most spectacular lookouts on the Atherton Tablelands.
- The Waterfall Circuit has been drawing visitors to the area for over a century and is a must do when on the Atherton Tablelands. The Circuit begins just east of the town of Millaa Millaa and encompasses 3 seperate waterfalls. Don’t forget your camera, Millaa Millaa Falls is one of the most photographed in the country and is a great spot for a swim and picnic.
- The Crater Lakes National Park is home to two separate volcanic crater lakes, Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine. Both lakes boast clear blue water and are surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, complete with walking tracks and bird and wildlife watching. Join the locals for a refreshing swim at Lake Eacham or take a wildlife cruise at Lake Barrine.