No one is in doubt the northern part of the tropics boasts some of the most exquisite landscapes imaginable. But if you get in your car and head out of Cairns you can arrive at the Atherton Tablelands – an unforgettable destination that should have always been on your bucket list. In fact, there are six exceptional road trips you can choose to get there, coming from several directions – each one you’ll find as amazing as the other.
The area was named after John Atherton, a young 20-year-old sheep farmer who found the plateau so fertile he just stayed. It was pasture heaven for him. Its fertile, lush rainforests, savannahs and wetlands make The Tablelands heaven for visitors, too. It offers everything from magnificent waterfalls, lakes, craters, walks, kayaking, fishing, biking, heritage sites, camping and wildlife, all designed by Mother Earth to take your breath away.
And because the area is so unique many of the parks and forests are part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, stretching 450 km between Townsville and Cooktown, and valued worldwide for unbelievable diversity, evolutionary history and incomparable scenery. But that’s not all.
When you decide to visit, check the dates for rodeos, music festivals, country shows, town markets and sporting events, not to mention the great pleasure of galleries and museums to add lively entertainment to your visit. You just wait, you’ll be kicking up your heels in no time. Then settle into a foodie’s delight of cafes, restaurants, wineries, farm tours and gourmet trails. There’s something for everyone, and it is indeed at any pace you want to visit.
Just for a quick get around, you can’t miss Atherton itself, one of the biggest towns in the area. Then Mareeba is on the list for its wild west shows, world-renowned birdlife, furry ‘locals’ and delicious food. Yungaburra is famous for its 500-year-old curtain fig tree and sneak visits from platypuses.While Millaa Millaa has one of the most spectacular waterfalls of the region, along with the nearby Barron Falls in Kuranda with its energetic markets, and unmissable Kuranda Scenic Railway for a trip of lifetime.
It almost doesn’t matter where you choose to visit in The Atherton Tablelands, whether you just want to head in and out for a day or deeply immerse yourself in the country of this spectacular Australian landscape. But be prepared because this paradise will burrow deep into your soul so your experience will be totally and joyously unforgettable. You’ll wonder why you didn’t visit earlier, and often. So plan your trip now, it’s heaven for you, too!
For more information, visit athertontablelands.com.au.