rose gums wilderness retreat

Blog Post

Retreat Hopping on the Atherton Tablelands

TNQ Writer

Pack the mini-break bag and head for the hills for a long weekend of retreat hopping on the Atherton Tablelands.

Go to retreats

The Atherton Tablelands is a quaint, Far Northern region that could have been lifted straight from the pages of a storybook. Villages with charming main streets and cutesy vintage stores stocked with enough pretty frocks to curl the wildest of hipster moustaches. Lush, green foliage abounds every direction you look, all against a backdrop of sprawling valleys, windy laneways, densely forested mountains and former volcanoes, making you believe you were Julie Andrews ready to bust out an acapella version of ‘The Hills Are Alive’.

It’s fair to say that the romance of nature can evoke an *ahem* romantic swoon amongst even the most hardened of pirates. So with that in mind, we decided to pack the mini-break bag (with the ‘good’ nightie – nudge, wink) and head for the hills for a long weekend of retreat hopping on the Atherton Tablelands.

Mt Quincan Crater Retreat

Spa bath views at Mt Quincan Crater Retreat

Inside your cosy treehouse at Mt Quincan Crater Retreat

Enjoy an Atherton Tableland’s country breakfast with the most spectacular sunrise, each morning at Mt Quincan Crater Retreat

Yungaburra

From the moment you arrive at Mt Quincan Crater Retreat, the magic of the property and the genuine hospitality of owners Kerry & Barb instantly warms you. Six luxury treehouses, truly built out of love when they bought the land 30 years ago, reflect everything the word ‘luxury’ embodies. Each of these timber one-bedroom treehouses have different aspects, either overlooking the crater of an 88,000 year-old volcano or the rolling peaks and valleys of the Tablelands; all feature deck spas, local art and artisan products, and wood stove fireplaces whose bellies can be rotated wherever you are in the room.

Locally sourced breakfast, enough for two days sustenance, is prepped in the fridge, as are chocolates and a decanter of port. If you do decide to leave the cabin, there are a number of bushwalks carved out, to the very top of the Mt Quincan Nature Reserve and all the way around the rim of the ancient sleeping crater. The rainforest sanctuary around Mt Quincan Crater Retreat is home to the Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo so keep an eye out for this beautifully rare animal.

If visiting during the spring months, drop by Shaylee Strawberry Farm for a fix of pick-your-own strawberries – perfectly delicious in a spa bath at sunset. If you happen to be here on the last Saturday of the month, a trip to the Yungaburra Markets is an absolute must. You’ll find the best biscotti you’ve ever eaten, sweet, tropical jams and hand made children’s outfits so delicately made you’ll be mesmerised by the needle work.

The Canopy Treehouses

Arriving to your private cabin in the rainforest at The Canopy Treehouses

Each treehouse is perched high in the rainforest canopy on the banks of the flowing Ithaca River

Possums come to visit you on the balcony of your treehouse

Fall asleep to the sounds of the rainforest at Canopy Treehouses

Romance and rainforests must have more in common than simple alliteration, or maybe it’s just that there’s so many rainforests up this way, which – by proxy – make the locals a pretty romantic lot, ammiright?!

The uber-eco-friendly Canopy Treehouses, located near Malanda, are specifically designed for comfort in the wilderness… well, wilderness if you’re a Real Housewife more so than Bear Grylls. No need for extreme survival tactics here – each treehouse, perched high in the rainforest canopy, has a fully self-contained kitchen, BBQ, spa and an emergency hammock.

Your friendly host, David, will make sure that you’ve got plenty of treats for when the locals stop by in the evening. Leave a little bit of fresh fruit on the balcony at night and you’re sure to get a visit from the friendly possums. Keep your bird feeder full of seeds and tropical birdlife will flutter to your treehouse like something out of Cinderella. Keep en eye out for the majestic Cassowary and his chicks who live in the protected rainforest on the property.

The Tablelands also has a well-deserved reputation for both wellness and adventure, so take advantage of the Treehouse Concierge to arrange inhouse massage therapies in the privacy of your own treehouse, as well as adventures like hot air ballooning, private picnics, waterfalling around either Malanda Falls or the world’s most picturesque waterfall, Millaa Millaa (true story!) and recommended foodie trails.

Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat

Open plan cabins invite the breeze to flow through

Bath views don't get much better

Enjoy incredible rainforest views

Cosy up inside with a pot belly stove in the cooler months

The romantic notion of a log cabin in the forest doesn’t end just yet. Be careful not to trip because you’ll be swept off your feet upon entering the charming Rose Gums Wildnerness Retreat. A private balcony with views over rainforest and mountains opens out from a spacious open-plan interior inviting the breeze to flow through. It’s the perfect place to unwind and relax among the trees listening to the birdlife and cicadas call.

In the morning indulge on a breakfast hamper then head down to the learn about the most primitive species of kangaroo – the musky rat kangaroo – and birdlife at their daily Wildlife Viewing session at 8am. A wander through the walking trails might find you stumble across other unique wildlife of the area including cassowaries, tree kangaroos and platypuses.

Tableland touring

Bask beneath a waterfall and indulge on local produce on the Atherton Tablelands.

kid picking a mango
Seasons
Why you should visit the tropics in summer

From cosy rainforest retreats to once-in-a-lifetime Great Barrier Reef reef events, epic waterfalls to spectacular outback scenery, this is why you should put the green light on your summer holiday.

Read more
zillie falls atherton tablelands
Atherton Tablelands
10 waterfalls to chase on the Atherton Tablelands

Hit the famous waterfall circuit, uncover those less known or stretch a little further and take a dip in Australia’s widest, single-drop waterfall on the Atherton Tablelands.

Read more
Atherton Tablelands
13 Food trail highlights on the Atherton Tablelands

Foodies take a deep breath and prepare your tastebuds for tantalisation. Here’s fourteen fun ways to get your foodie fix on the Atherton Tablelands.

Read more
Atherton Tablelands
Old town young heart: your guide to Yungaburra

It’s no coincidence the Atherton Tablelands village of Yungaburra attracts visitors from far and wide. This village, 750m above sea level, translates to Meeting Place in local indigenous dialect – and the trail of headlights coming from Cairns each weekend proves it.

Read more
Walking through tea fields
Atherton Tablelands
48 Hours on the Atherton Tablelands

Two days to refresh, revive and take in the sights and sounds of the lush countryside.

Read more
emerald creek falls mareeba
Atherton Tablelands
10 things near Mareeba worth the drive from Cairns

If your ideal holiday involves roaming from providore to providore, seeing 400-million-year-old rock cave formations and exploring waterfalls in between, there’s a town on the Atherton Tablelands you’ll want to get to know.

Read more