The “Atherton Tablelands” or “Cairns
Highlands” is situated close to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.
Kuranda is approximately 20 minutes driving time from the
Cairns International Airport, with Atherton a further 40 min's and
centrally located for exploring the region. The World Heritage
Rainforest, Waterfalls, Dry Savannah and Crater Lake District is a wonderfully diverse place to
spend some time in Far North Queensland.
There are 3 levels of altitude plus a historical precinct
(Herberton & Irvinebank), which splits the "Tablelands" into
unique areas. Each section has a distinct landscape, due to
variations in soil and climate, hence the attractions and wildlife
vary accordingly. This diversity is in a comparatively small area,
(15 min's driving east or west and 30 min's north or south from
Atherton), which allows a minimum of driving and a maximum
of experiencing. If you have time, allow at least 1 day of sight-seeing in each
section. See below for printable "Self drive itineraries" :-
With an annual rainfall of around 1600mm, Atherton (the most
central town), and its immediate district, are a lovely tropical
green. The towns and villages of the Atherton Tablelands boast a
tropical atmosphere and close knit community spirit. Naturally
air-conditioned, being an average 700 metres above sea level the
district is free of coastal humidity. The perfect summer retreat,
but still close enough to enjoy coastal attractions. Residents boast
that they are blessed with the best weather in the world.
With winter getting an occasional helping of early morning frost and
the daily temperature around a perfect 21 degrees Celsius, the
spectacular afternoon/evening storms in spring and the lower
humidity in summer makes this an all year destination without the
oppressive climate at sea level.
An ideal position to base yourself for birding
in Queensland. Visit the
crater lakes, world heritage rainforest, waterfalls and historical
areas. You can even explore further west, out to the Gulf Savannah
and other Outback areas.
Is a picturesque town right in the heart of the Atherton shire. It is also the Tableland's major commerce centre.
Most major roads crossing the Tablelands come through Atherton,
making it an ideal base on the Tablelands to start your exploring.
The Jazz Festival is held annually in July and attracts jazz lovers
from all over Australia. Every September, the town hosts the Maize
festival, with street processions and a gala ball.
Atherton spent over $2 million in 2001 to celebrate Federation. In
doing so they created the "Hallorans Hill Lookout
Experience", "Hastie Swamp Bird Hide" and the
Wang Chinese Temple".
"The Crystal Caves & Fascinating Facets", in the main street,
is a geological exhibition and mineralogical collection with over
600 specimens, which is well known throughout the
region, displaying and selling crystals from around the world.
Within a very short drive on the outskirts of Atherton is the
"Gallo Cheese and Chocolate Centre" as well as a local master
craftsmen at "The
The area is an ecological wonderland of delight for the traveller.
Boasting modern facilities it is also able to provide an abundance
of native fauna and flora. It is one of the most diverse regions in
Australia with 4 distinct landscapes within a very small area. A
highlight is to visit "Platypus Bend"
only a 15 minute drive from Atherton township, it is a 71 ha private
property which is registered as "Land for Wildlife". Walks
and canoe hire are available to get up close and view native
rainforest with some of its inhabitants such as platypus, Lumholtz
tree kangaroo's, echidna's, green ring tailed possums, pademelons,
Johnstone river turtles, fish and lots more, without the tourist
"hordes" found at other sites.
Contact us here if you need more