Access These Areas with Ease on the Atherton Tablelands

As the Year of Accessible Tourism in Queensland, the State Government has pledged $12 million in tourism initiatives to better cater to visitors of all abilities. With some 17 per cent of travellers to Queensland identifying as having a disability, the Atherton Tablelands is one region where everyone can enjoy its many attractions. To help you plan your itinerary, here are some of the places offering wheelchair access and additional support if needed

Historic Village Herberton

Historic Village Herberton Image Credit IG @donna_spengler_

With scores of ramped buildings, footpaths and level displays nestled among 7ha of manicured lawns, the Historic Village Herberton is 98 per cent wheelchair-accessible. You can even book a wheelchair in advance if needed. Ample rest areas and guard rails ensure visitors can safely and easily negotiate all the fascinating pioneering exhibits this outdoor museum and tearooms has to offer. 

*Historic Village Herberton is at 6 Broadway Rd, Herberton, about 15 mins from Atherton.


Lake Barrine Teahouse

Lake Barrine Teahouse Image Credit IG @cbear73

If Devonshire tea’s your jam head to the Lake Barrine Teahouse overlooking beautiful Lake Barrine. It is accessible to all travellers, including those with wheelchairs. This 90-year-old grand dame of the Tablelands is a wonderful destination offering light meals, lovely lake views, bird and fish watching and oodles of charm. There’s a short walk to see the twin kauris, although some assistance may be needed due to the slight incline. 

*Lake Barrine Teahouse is in Crater Lakes National Park at the top of the Gillies Range, about an hour from Cairns.


Millaa Millaa Falls

Millaa Millaa Falls Image Credit @fudgin_around

The Waterfall Circuit is one of the best things to do on the Tablelands and a couple are wheelchair friendly. The easiest is probably Millaa Millaa which is a five-minute return walk to the pool at the base of the cascade and back to the carpark. You can actually see it from the carpark, but it’s even more magical up close. 

*Millaa Millaa Falls are off Theresa Creek Rd, Millaa Millaa.


Malanda Falls Visitor Centre

Malanda Falls Visitor Centre Image Credit @wettropicsworldheritage

For one of the most comprehensive overviews of the Atherton Tablelands it is hard to go past Malanda Falls Visitor Centre. A wheelchair ramp and disability toilets make this venue a good stop on your travels. It’s easy to spend an hour immersed in the displays, with volcanic eruptions, cultural storytelling by the local Ngadjan people, hands-on rainforest ecology exhibits and even a Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo. The more able-bodied can head on a forest walk or swim at the adjacent Malanda Falls. It also has a café.

* Malanda Falls Visitor Centre is at 132 Malanda Atherton Rd, Malanda.


Curtain Fig Tree

The majestic Curtain Fig Tree Image Credit IG @ayance__

An elevated 180-metre wheelchair accessible boardwalk takes you right up to and around this colossus of the jungle. Reaching 50m into the sky and with an equally impressive girth this 500-year-old fig tree is one of the treasures of the Atherton Tablelands.

*Curtain Fig Tree is on Curtain Fig Tree Rd, Yungaburra.


Crystal Caves

The Crystal Caves are any explorers haven

This underground escapade in Atherton township is an Aladdin’s cave to gem lovers. The man-made feature has more than 600 crystals, fossils and gems dotted around a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers and caverns. There is a gift and jewellery shop and the chance to crack a geode. Crystal Caves actively welcomes people who need access support and the routes through the caves are all ramped.

*Crystal Caves are at 69 Main St, Atherton, about 1.5 hours’ drive from Cairns.


Skybury Café

Crisp air and blue skies at Skybury Cafe & Roastery

For stunning views and the enticing aroma of freshly ground coffee it’s hard to beat Skybury Café and Roastery on the outskirts of Mareeba. Enjoy a light meal or sweet treat out on the deck, taking in the views of Australia’s oldest coffee plantation. Disabled access available on request.

* Skybury Café and Roastery, 136 Ivicevic Rd, Paddys Green, about 10 mins from Mareeba.


Kuranda Scenic Railway/Skyrail/Barron Falls

Kuranda Scenic Railway Image Credit IG @danbanksphotography

Getting from Cairns to Kuranda on the Atherton Tablelands is all the more memorable by taking the Kuranda scenic train or floating above the rainforest canopy in a Skyrail gondola. Both options are wheelchair friendly and include views of the stunning Barron Gorge. If travelling by road, the Barron Gorge is a short drive from Kuranda village and has a wheelchair accessible boardwalk to view the famous Barron Falls. 

*Kuranda Train leaves from the Cairns Central and Freshwater Stations with a terminus in Kuranda. The Freshwater and Kuranda Stations are charming, with a lift from the train platform to street level in Kuranda. The Skyrail termini are in Smithfield and Kuranda.


Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Nature’s little jewels sipping on sweet nectar at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Butterflies landing on your shoulder are a real treat at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda. Both the aviary and the breeding laboratory are wheelchair accessible, with ramps between the two sections. However, there are uneven paths in the aviary that may prove difficult for some wheelchairs. Support companions are able to assess the path before buying an entry ticket. 

* Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is at 8 Rob Veivers Dr, Kuranda