The Atherton Tablelands, also known as the Cairns Highlands, is an amazing place to explore. Located in the Far North of Queensland Australia and just one hour’s drive inland from Cairns and Port Douglas, this region boasts waterfalls, tropical rainforests, incredible wildlife, and a variety of fun activities. You can easily spend up to 5 days exploring all the Atherton Tablelands have to offer or you can get a taste of it with a day trip from Cairns or Port Douglas.
Visit the Atherton Tablelands for a Day Trip from Cairns
The Atherton Tablelands is an excellent place to visit for a day trip from Cairns. There are many things to do in the Tablelands, from taking a short hike or enjoying a picnic lunch at a scenic lookout, to visiting Australia’s highest peak, Mt. Gillen (2,073 meters). The area is also home to some of Queensland’s oldest rainforests and has incredible views of the entire area around it. It’s easy (and fun!) to get there: just hop on one of the many buses that leave daily out of Cairns and your ticket will include admission to one of the many attractions on offer!
Walk Through the Millaa Millaa Rainforest Circuit in Wooroonooran National Park
Millaa Millaa Rainforest Circuit is a must on your itinerary in Atherton. This walk will take you through the rainforest and see the beautiful Millaa Millaa Falls, where you can swim if you’re feeling brave! You can also cross the suspension bridge over Barron Gorge (not for the faint of heart).
You will also get an opportunity to walk amongst the trees at our tree top walk, which takes you across wooden platforms built into trees up to 30m high!
Take a Dip in the Curtain Fig Tree
Curtain Fig Tree is a great place to take a dip, relax and enjoy the scenery. You can swim or just take a dip at this place.
Go Bird Watching at Lake Barrine
If you are traveling to the Tablelands, Lake Barrine is a must-see. The lake is located at an altitude of 1,650 meters and is part of the Wet Tropics of the Queensland World Heritage Area. It features some amazing views and has over 200 bird species as well as many other animals that call it home.
Go Swimming in Lake Eacham
You can go swimming in Lake Eacham, a freshwater lake located in the Atherton Tableland. The lake is popular among locals and tourists alike, who come to swim or snorkel in its clear waters. Locals also believe that the lake has healing properties, which isn’t surprising considering how many geothermal areas are located nearby. If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from city life, Lake Eacham is a great place to unwind!
Visit the Hanging Rock Falls at Malanda Falls National Park
Hanging Rock Falls is a waterfall that can be found in Malanda Falls National Park. Located in the tablelands region of Atherton, Hanging Rock Falls is an easy and short walk from the car park at Malanda Falls Conservation Park. You will have to take a short steep climb to get to Hanging Rock Falls but it’s worth it!
Hanging Rock Falls is one of my favorite places in Atherton because there are so many things that you can do here. You can go for a swim, walk through the rainforest or just sit and relax by the waterfalls!
Explore the Waterfalls Circuit of Wooroonooran National Park
The Waterfalls Circuit is a long, relaxing hike that winds through bushland, some of it dense and lush, some more open. Hiking through the rainforest can be quite hot, so it’s best to plan this trip for the cooler months of the year (June until October). You should also be prepared for a bit of rain this part of Australia gets plenty.
You can start at either Wooroonooran National Park Visitor Centre or Lake Tinaroo Dam (not far from your car), but most people prefer to finish at the visitor center so they don’t have to walk back in the dark. The total walking distance is about 17 kilometers with an elevation change of 320 meters. There are eight waterfalls on this circuit: Walshs Pyramid Falls; Main Falls; Mossman Gorge Falls; Twin Falls; Double Top Twin Falls; Billy Goat Bluff Waterfall; Travelers Palm Waterfall and Top Station Lookout which provides views over Lake Tinaroo Dam and beyond into North Queensland region as well as Mt Walsh which rises beyond Lake Eacham further south-east into Wet Tropics World Heritage Area where there are many more tropical rainforests than here in Tropical North Queensland! This could take less than three hours depending on how fast you walk it’s just over 1 hour each way if you want something shorter without missing out on too much scenery along the way then perhaps try doing one side only rather than going in both directions like most people do anyway!
Tinaroo Dam and Lake Tinaroo
Lake Tinaroo is a man-made lake located in the Tablelands region of Queensland, Australia. It is the largest artificial lake in Australia and was formed by the construction of the Tinaroo Dam on the Herbert River in 1958. The lake provides water for both domestic consumption and irrigation purposes, as well as being a popular tourist destination for locals and visitors alike. The shores of Lake Tinaroo are home to many species of birds, including pelicans that migrate annually from South America to breed there.
You can explore Lake Tinaroo by taking part in one of two adventures: either a scenic boat cruise or a kayaking adventure across it! Both options offer breathtaking views of this place, allowing you to see all its natural beauty up close!
Visit the Redlynch Reptile Park
The Redlynch Reptile Park is located approximately 25km south of the Atherton township. It’s open every day from 10 am to 4 pm and costs $27 for adults and $22 for children.
This park has dozens of different animals, including snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and tortoises. You can even hold some of these reptiles if you like! There’s also a small playground where kids can climb around on logs or play on swings. You can even buy food here if you get hungry they have burgers and hotdogs available for purchase!
If you plan on staying overnight in Atherton then I highly recommend booking your accommodation at The Oaks Motel & Caravan Park. They have cabins available which are quite affordable at only $100 per night! This would be great if it rains because then all your stuff will be dry inside instead of getting wet outside like it would happen if camping somewhere else with no roof over your head… unless maybe there were tents nearby but those wouldn’t be very comfortable either.
Go Hot Air Ballooning
If you want to take a hot air balloon ride, head over to Yungaburra. Yungaburra is a small town in the Atherton Tablelands that is located in Queensland, Australia. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth! You can go hiking through the rainforest and see some amazing wildlife while there.
You should also check out some of these other amazing things to do in the Tablelands.
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
Hartley’s Wildlife Adventures is a family-friendly wildlife park located in the Atherton Tablelands, Australia. The park has an exciting array of Australian animals including crocodiles, kangaroos, koalas, and much more!
The tour takes about 2 hours with lots of hands-on activities for you to enjoy with your friends or family. There are three types of tours available: the Crocodile Walk Tour (about 1 hour), the Hartley’s Wild Walk Tour (2 hours), and the Family Fun Combo Tour which includes both tours. You can also see alligators at Australia’s Crocodile Hunter’s Zoo – Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures!
You can get there by car or public transport; if driving then follows these directions: From in is fail to take Bruce Highway north toward Cairns via Gillies Highway 41km then turn left onto Alligator Creek Road 57km then turn right onto Cooktown Lizard Island Road 127km to arrive at Hartley’s Wildlife Adventures entrance gate where there is ample parking space available.*Please note that it is illegal to feed any animals at this location so please keep food items away from them at all times while visiting this attraction.*
The best way to see the Tablelands is by taking a scenic flight over waterfalls and taking in panoramas of landscapes as you soar through the air. It’s the perfect way to get an aerial view of the region.
- The best time to go is during the dry season from May to August when temperatures are typically between 15-20°C (59-68°F).
- The best time of day to go is just before dusk or after sunrise when there is still enough light for viewing but it’s not too hot.
- The best time of year to go depends on what you’re interested in doing while there if you want something like hiking or getting up close to nature, then November through April would be ideal since most tourists have gone home by then and there will be fewer people around; if you want some culture, then December through March would be better because that’s when many festivals take place.
If you’re interested in exploring Australia’s Atherton Tablelands, then these amazing things to do will give you an idea of what this tropical wonderland has to offer. You won’t run out of things to see and do as there are plenty of activities for every type of traveler. Feel free to contact us if you need help planning your next Aussie adventure!