The Atherton Tablelands are Australia’s famous coffee growing grounds. Coffee World has coffee tasting and sales complemented by an engaging museum giving you background on the crop and its place on the planet. There are displays here depicting the start of the coffee trade in Ethiopia in AD800 and examples of the first plunger, filter and espresso maker. As well as wandering around the more than 2000 items including roasting, grinding and brewing equipment there’s a courtyard to enjoy the unlimited coffee tasting included in the price. For the coffee addicts and amateurs, Coffee World is part of Coffee Works in Mason St, Mareeba.
The Crystal Caves
Built by one man The Crystal Caves are a maze of tunnels and caverns studded with crystals, gemstones and fossils. Down one corridor is a massive amethyst, down another the jaw of a woolly mammoth. There are more than 600 exhibits in the cave system, one shiny treasure after another. Visitors get a headlamp along with their ticket and the admonishment – yes feel free to touch everything. It’s that kind of place. Built behind and below an ordinary Atherton shopfront the caves and tunnels take up about quarter of a hectare. Sparkly and educational.
Mareeba Heritage Museum
The entertainment value of displays and diversity of subjects here blows people away…and, it’s free. Even if you know the region well this Mareeba time capsule has lots to say about the timber, tobacco, fruit and gold eras of the area. Plus, Mareeba Heritage Museum staff and volunteers have worked assiduously to make history lively with compelling local stories. Take a leisurely walk around the museum and soak up the raw historical atmosphere. The collection is diverse and the layout logical. As well, there’s a superb coffee shop attached.
Historic Village Herberton
An amazing open-air museum near the Tablelands oldest town, the Historic Village Herberton is a museum, playground and beauty spot rolled into one. The 16-acre site is a re-created 1860s tin town and has more than 50 buildings to nose around, with many working exhibits. Among the displays are a coach and livery stable, bank, church, telephone exchange, blacksmith, dress shop, grocery store butcher, pub dentist and jail. There’s lots of things to clamber over and get inside, as well as the experience of walking through history. Set on beautiful grounds, there’s a café attached when you want to just sit back and admire the view.
Herberton Mining Museum
Mining was an essential economic ingredient of the Atherton Tablelands from the 1880s onwards and this museum has almost as many artefacts of the tin ore industry outside as inside. On the site of the Great Northern Mine Site, the experience is made even more memorable by the knowledgeable and energy of the volunteers who staff the museum. Interactive displays help flesh out the picture of the tough mining life and the fascinating tin ore industry. Outside are relics of mines and mining machinery. There’s also several walks, which show mine shafts, machinery and tools.
Written by Tanya Snelling. Originally published 15th July 2018