View from drive to Atherton Tablelands

Where to go

Atherton Tablelands

Welcome to
Tropical North Queensland’s Lush Highland Plateau

A vibrant green land of dramatic mountains, untouched rainforest,
delicious produce and jaw-dropping waterfalls.

The Atherton Tablelands is where I find the best variety of subjects to engage and teach my students photography

Jürgen Freund – Photographer, Freund Factory

millaa millaa falls atherton tablelands

ENTER THE SPECTACULAR

Starting just south-west of Cairns and rising more than 700m above sea level, the Atherton Tablelands is a lush, fertile region of rainforest, wetland and savannah. An ancient coral reef has eroded over centuries to form rugged limestone caves in Chillagoe and nearby volcanic crater lakes sit amongst a series of tumbling waterfalls.

Kingfisher on branch

INCREDIBLE WILDLIFE

You’ll find an incredible array of wildlife here, including brightly coloured frogs and elusive platypus. It’s one of the few places in the country where you might spot the rare Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo. Birds are a real highlight in the Tablelands, too: 327 of the 430 bird species of the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics region can be found here. Look up and you might see golden bowerbirds, king parrots, honeyeaters, crimson rosellas and masked owls.

HOME TO FABULOUS FRESH PRODUCE

Basalt soil, good rainfall and plenty of sunshine make the Atherton Tablelands something of a food bowl. There are almost 2000 farms, producing delicious tropical fruit such as mangoes, limes and bananas. Experience that goodness first-hand at the Yungaburra Markets or Shaylee Strawberry Farm, where you can pick your own berries. (Or you can grab fresh produce from one of the many roadside stalls – just drop the money into the honesty box).

ESPRESS YOURSELF

The Atherton Tablelands is one of Australia’s two major coffee-growing regions and you’ll be able to find an espresso here that would rival anything you’ll get in a Melbourne cafe. Visit Skybury Coffee to walk through the plantation, see the beans being processed and sample one of their award-winning Arabica blends. For something with a little more punch, drop into the Mt Uncle Distillery, which uses Australian botanicals to make award-winning gin.

Kahlpahlim Rock Lamb Range hike on the atherton tablelands

HIT THE TRAILS

It’s not all about food here. Bushwalking and hiking trails wind through lush rainforest: take a short track through the Crater Lakes National Park or tackle the challenging Misty Mountains of Wooroonooran National Park.

Hiking & Walking Trails

Mountain biking Misty Mountain Trails

ON THE MOVE

The Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park has almost 60km of purpose-built trails running from the township of Atherton, through picturesque open forest. Nearby Davies Creek Mountain Bike Park is a network of flowing trails, winding their way through the Lamb Range near Mareeba. Kayak across the rainforest-fringed Lake Barrine, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Eacham or fish for barramundi in Lake Tinaroo.

Mountain biking Atherton Tablelands

Tips

  • Don’t miss the Yungaburra Markets, the largest and oldest in the region, held on the fourth Saturday of the month. Pick up some fresh local produce and grab lunch at one of the food trucks.

  • On the outskirts of the town of Atherton you’ll find a unique Chinese temple dating back to 1903. The timber and corrugated-iron Hou Wang Temple is the only one of its kind outside of China and was built by the large population drawn to the region during a brief gold rush.

  • The highest mountain in Queensland is in the Atherton Tablelands – the 1622m Bartle Frere. The 15km walking track to the summit is one for the experienced bushwalker only, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views all the way to the coast.

  • Take a drive around the 17km Waterfall Circuit, which includes many picturesque falls perfect for a dip.

Discover More

From tasting local produce to celebrating Indigenous culture, here’s how to explore the temptations of the Tablelands.

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
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
mount quincan crater retreat atherton tablelands
Atherton Tablelands
7 great reasons to head to the Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton Tablelands are the kind of place you want to take at your own pace. Jump in a car and head inland to tick off these must-do experiences.

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
Bike and Bird
Atherton Tablelands
The top spots to stay around the Atherton Tablelands trails

Exploring the Atherton Tablelands on two wheels and looking for a place to stay? Here are some accommodation options for your mountain biking adventure.

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
Atherton Forest MTB Park
Atherton Tablelands
Blaze the trails of Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park

Looking for some new trails to sink your wheels into, Atherton Tablelands has you covered. Choose from more than 70km of the region’s best bike trails and venture into the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park.

Read more
rose gums wilderness retreat
Atherton Tablelands
Retreat Hopping on the Atherton Tablelands

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

Read more
Daintree Discovery Centre
Tropical North Queensland
The Wet Tropics’ Famous Five Precincts and a guide to exploring them

If you’re looking to connect with nature and discover a rainforest that’s the oldest, longest and largest in Australia, go behind the foliage with this guide to the five precincts of the Wet Tropics.

Read more
Tropical North Queensland
10 relaxing ways to sleep in the rainforest

This summer, swap your inner city stresses for cool, rainforest rejuvenation, checking into one of these accommodation providers in the rainforest.

Read more
Reef to Reef MTB Event
Atherton Tablelands
Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail: relaxed riding

Tired of the hustle and bustle of the city? Take a break and ride the Rail Trail in the Atherton Tablelands.

Read more

Getting here

  • Getting there by bus

    By coach/bus

    Tablelands Tours are a great way to explore Tropical North Queensland’s hidden treasures. Discover specular waterfalls, panoramic World Heritage listed rainforest or tasty fresh local produce at farm gate by experiencing one of the many food trails.

  • Driving in the Atherton Tablelands

    By car

    The Atherton Tablelands is full of must-do adventures that are best explored at your own leisurely pace. Hiring a car and self-driving gives you the freedom to discover the hidden treasures.

Stay

From delightful boutique stays to holiday parks that come mountain-bike ready… where to rest up in the Tablelands.

#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR

Tropical North Queensland is a place that screams family fun, so if you’re looking for the ultimate family holiday this should be at the top of your list 🙌 Whether the kids are looking to splash around in the #CairnsEsplanadeLagoon, go waterfall chasing on the tablelands, or spot some epic wildlife, there’s something to suit every little adventurer 🌴🐚 Not to mention some epic beach camp outs ⛺️ Say hello to a lovely little spot called #MissionBeach 🏝👋

📸 @themartins_lapyear #seeaustralia #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland  #exploreTNQ
Discover the drive from Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands 🌿. It may come as a surprise that one area can encompass @wettropicsworldheritage rainforest, volcanic crater lakes & historic villages, but you can see all of this and more in the @athertontablelands 🌿✨ Discover the drive that dreams are made of as you travel from #Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands 🚘🦋

🎥 @_letsescapetogether_ #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Dreamy mornings above the clouds on the @athertontablelands with @hotairballooncairns ⛅️🎈 As the days get cooler, throw on a jacket & point towards the sky as you discover epic views over #Mareeba & the Tablelands 🌿☀️
​
​📸 @liamhaendel  #explorecairnsGBR #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Misty mornings on the @athertontablelands 🌤🌅 What better way to welcome the morning light than on a spectacular walk or hike & the Tablelands are full of them 😍
​
​📸 @sarahjanegriffiths #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
We had to look twice, but yep it's real! 🌴✨ Rolling fields of green are a sight to behold & one that we know all too well in the tablelands of @tropicalnorthqueensland ☀️🌿 Home to spectacular mountain ranges, underground caves, luscious rainforest waterfalls & incredible local produce, a trip to the Tablelands should certainly be on the agenda 🍃😍
​
​📸 @jamesvodicka #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Your tropical tablelands oasis is waiting ✨🌺 Escape the hustle of the city for a refreshing dip in mother nature's spectacular #WindinFalls 🌅 You’ll find this hidden gem along the Old Cairns Track through the #WooroonooranNationalPark 🌿☀️
​
​📸 @mytravelation #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Say hello to dramatic mountain ranges, untouched rainforest, jaw dropping waterfalls & more on the @athertontablelands 🌿✨ It’s not like you need any more reason to explore the tablelands, but if you’re a fan of local produce then head over to @gallodairyland for some mouthwatering snacks (did somebody say cheese ? 🧀) 🍫
​
​📸 @airbarephotography #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia

Subscribe to
our newsletter

Opt in below to start receiving inspiration straight to your inbox

Subscribe

* indicates required