Blog Post

Top 3 spots to picnic around Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands

TNQ Writer

Eating outdoors is one of life’s great pleasures in a tropical climate. Here’s our top picks for rolling out the picnic blanket and enjoying a long, lazy lunch.

Mungalli Creek Dairy

Mungali Creek Dairy Farm

Famous for their multi-award winning cheese and yoghurt, biodynamic (meaning organic) Mungali Creek Dairy sits 800 metres above sea level. It’s perfectly positioned in the southern Atherton Tablelands, where the jersey cows roam rolling hills surrounded on three sides by World Heritage listed rainforest.

Pop into their Out of the Whey, boutique cheesery and teahouse, which is housed in the original farm homestead for free cheese and yoghurt tasting. Or pick up a picnic lunch to devour overlooking farmland to Mount Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest mountain.

Rex lookout

Rex Lookout

The Great Barrier Reef Drive (officially the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns and Cooktown) regularly appears on Best Scenic Drives lists across the globe. Winding along the coast where the Coral Sea meets the rainforest, it’s one of Australia’s most popular. It takes about an hour to drive between Cairns and Port Douglas. But that’s way too quick to take in all the highlights of this spectacular drive.

There’s plenty of places to pull over and savor the view, like at Ellis Beach, Oak Beach and a plethora of other unnamed coves and bays. High on a headland, Rex Lookout is a splendid spot to roll out the picnic blanket and enjoy 180-degree views from Palm Cove to the Daintree coast. Be prepared to share though: hang gliders use the headland as a launching pad for soaring on updrafts from the Coral Sea.

Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay

What could be better than a beach picnic? How about a private beach picnic, arriving by helicopter? There are no roads to Turtle Bay on Cape Grafton east of Cairns, so you’ll need to get there by boat or helicopter. If you’re after an intimate romantic picnic this could be just the spot!

There’s long strip of sand bookended by rocky headlands with a freshwater stream (and a waterfall if you’re lucky!) burbling in the bushes. But tread softly on the sand particularly during the breeding season (October to March) – it’s called Turtle Bay for good reason!