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Atherton Tablelands

A Special Holiday Destination

Atherton Tablelands, a spectacular area bang in the middle of the World Heritage Wet Tropics of Queensland. This stunningly beautiful part of the world is extremely important for its rich and unique biodiversity. Such a variety of flora, fauna, butterflies and insects. In addition, all of Australia’s unique marsupials and most of its other animals originated in rainforest ecosystems, and the Wet Tropics still contains many of their closest surviving members. This makes it one of the most important living records of the history of marsupials as well as of songbirds.







At the time of the early white settlers, in the late 1800s, eighty percent of the Atherton Tablelands was covered by rainforest with magnificent Kauri Hoop Pine, Red Cedar, Eucalypt and many other species. While progress is vital, the axe for timber and the plough for farming decimated the rainforests but I am pleased to say we have managed to preserve some world acclaimed areas.

Some of our great rivers, the North Johnstone, the South Johnstone, the Barron, the Mulgrave and the Tully all commence their seaward journey in our mountainous rainforests. Along the way many waterfall have been formed. In fact, this area is referred to as the ‘Waterfall Capital of Australia’ with Millaa Millaa Falls the most photographed. Most waterfalls are great for swimming so be sure to bring your swimming gear on your tour. In a time gone by, before the advent of the backyard swimming pool, our waterfalls and swimming holes were packed on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.







In addition to waterfalls, we have pristine lakes with Lakes Barrine and Eacham being the most popular. These lakes like others started as volcanos and some readers would be interested to know that these two were Maar volcanos. Both have walking tracks with the longest journey close to 5kms around the perimeter. Enjoy a swim at Lake Eacham or tea and scones on the deck of the Lake Barrine Teahouse. Both great ways to recharge your batteries.

Mount Hypipamee is also the result of a volcano but not lava but a gas explosion. In the early days they found blocks of granite the size of a refrigerator scattered around the crater. Such was the intensity of the explosions.

Talking about water, in 1958 a dam on the Barron River was completed forming Lake Tinaroo. Its purpose was to provide irrigation for a booming tobacco industry. Today there is no tobacco industry and in its place sugar cane, bananas, blueberries, mangos, avocados and other small crops. Avocados are very popular. Make sure you have ‘smashed’ avocado with your eggs benedict. As a point of interest, Lake Tinaroo, when full is three quarters the capacity of Sydney Harbour.

At Tinaburra on the foreshore of Lake Tinaroo is the Afghanistan Avenue of Honour. A memorial to those of our troops who lost their lives in Afghanistan.  In 2010 the funeral service for one our esteemed veterans was conducted at Tinaburra. From this event the community decided to build the Avenue of Honour. I suggest you visit, pause and reflect.






After you escape the southern concrete jungles and the congested freeways, coming up north you will enjoy quietness and serenity. The Atherton Tablelands contains a number of farming and tourism communities. I live in Yungaburra a heritage village of about 1,500 people. As you drive in the CBD you will be captivated by the hanging baskets of flowers. Yungaburra is a beautiful step back in time. Beware, we in Yungaburra are not happy with our hanging baskets of flowers disappearing. Security cameras indicate they usually vanish around 2am.

Atherton, Malanda, Millaa Millaa, Herberton and Ravenshoe are some of the major centres.

How do you get here? We have a variety of excellent accommodation establishments. Alternatively if you decide to have Cairns as your holiday base Yungaburra Private Tours is able to call at your accommodation in Cairns or on the Atherton Tablelands. There is so much to see and experience, pick our brains as to what might be the best itinerary. Some love to explore our part of the universe for one, two or even three days.

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