Fruit & Produce | Chinatown | Crystal Caves | Mountain Biking
- Birdwatching at Hasties Swamp
- Chinatown / Hou Wang Temple
- Crystal Caves
- Bat Hospital Visitor Centre
- Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park
From its beginnings as a timber-getters’ camp and a staging post between the tin mines and the coast, Atherton has blossomed like its trademark jacaranda trees into a diverse regional service centre whose well-presented homes and streets are regularly featured in Australia’s Tidy Town awards.
The region has a wealth of artists whose works are best seen at the Tablelands Regional Gallery. Check out the wonderful pre-war Barron Valley Hotel, browse through the town’s quaint shops like Atherton Antiques & Australiana and enjoy a picnic at Hallorans Hill. In the main street, you’ll find one of the most remarkable and novel attractions in the whole of Australia. The Crystal Caves are the fanciful creation of the Boissevain family. A spectacular private mineralogical collection with over 600 specimens, museum, the caves are a real trip where visitors don a miner’s helmet complete with a headlamp for a fun tour of this fairy-tale underground cavern, which houses the world’s largest amethyst geode, The Empress of Uruguay, and their astounding new attraction, The Magic Spheres.
Just out of Atherton is an attraction which combines the two taste sensations of dairy and chocolate – Gallo’s Dairyland. Taste the gourmet cheeses and chocolates, and let the children see how milk is made! Hasties Swamp is a seasonal wetland which has an annual cycle of wet and dry, attracting a range of resident and migrant birds. The two-storey Nyleta Wetlands Bird Hide there has wheelchair access (on the lower section only).
Gold attracted Chinese settlers to North Queensland in the late 1800’s and when the gold ran out, many turned to timber cutting and market gardening. The remains of Atherton’s Chinatown are now an archaeological site featuring the community’s fully restored place of worship, the Hou Wang Temple. The Temple is part of a complex which includes a Chinese museum featuring interactive displays of Atherton’s Chinese heritage and a prized collection of original artefacts and historic photographs of the once bustling precinct. During October, the Chinatown grounds play host to the food festival, A Taste of The Tablelands.
Bat Hospital Visitor Centre
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. Bookings essential tel 4091 2683.
Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park
This network of mountain bike trails in the Herberton Range is accessed from the northern entrance to the Herberton Range Ridge road. Over 60klms of trails meander through an open forest of gums, bloodwoods, mahoganys, she-oaks, grasstrees and cycads. Some of the trails pass former forestry experimental plots of teak, blackbutt and tallowwood trees. These single-track trails are purpose-built for mountain bike riding. Horses are not permitted on the trails.
For more info visit www.athertoninformationcentre.com.au