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Self Drive Information - Atherton Tablelands

12th December 2019

Crater Lakes - Lake Barrine & Lake Eacham

Lake Barrine was formed over 17,000 years ago when a large volcano erupted, leaving a crater that over time filled up with water to create a lake. The crater was formed as a result of a series of volcanic explosions. These explosions were caused by the hot molten rock coming into contact with groundwater. This caused a build-up of steam, gases and pressure which blasted the central core from the volcano. This massive explosion left a huge crater, which filled with rainwater to create Lake Barrine. A walking track around the lake allows for forest-fringed, secluded views of the lake and excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. A pair of towering bull kauri pine trees, over 45m tall, is a feature of the park. Lake cruises operate from the privately-owned Lake Barrine Teahouse offering visitors a relaxed view of the lake and its wildlife.


Tranquil Lake Eacham is a former volcanic crater. Surrounded by dense rainforest, it has an average depth of 65 metres. It's an enclosed catchment, isolated from any other waterways. The lake only fills with rain, making the lake crystal clear and water quality good enough to snorkel and dive in. It's also popular with kayakers. There is a 3km walking track encircling the lake and the area is renowned for birdwatching, not surprising given more than 180 species have been recorded within the upland rainforest. There are picnic areas and barbecue facilities at lakeside and numerous places to take in the stunning scenery around the 50ha lake circumference.


Yungaburra curtain fig tree

The fig tree is from the strangler fig species. The curtain effect results from one tree leaning against another tree on a 45-degree angle. The strangler vine then grew along the oblique angle of the leaning tree, dangling 15 meters to the ground to create the curtain affect. A wooden boardwalk surrounds the tree so you can see it on any angle. There is also a large photo-taking platform, so don't forget to bring your camera. An information board is present at the site to explain the origins of the tree which is estimated to be over 500 years old.


Platypus spotting at Tarzali Lakes

The Australian Platypus Park is home to a thriving platypus population. These wonderful creatures can be found in a spring fed pond surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. This magnificent setting draws in enthusiastic visitors from all over the globe. All Platypus viewings are escorted by our friendly qualified ranger. Groups depart from the Smokehouse Cafe every 30 minutes.


Waterfall circuit - Millaa Millaa, Ellinja and Zille Falls

Millaa Millaa Falls cascade perfectly to a pristine waterhole below where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool water. There's also a lovely grassy picnic area for you to relax. Millaa Millaa Falls are one of the most photographed in all of Australia, so make sure you bring your camera. And if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a platypus!

Zillie Falls are 7.5km from Millaa Millaa falls on this circuit. There is a lovely viewing platform at the base of the falls where you can enjoy a view of the cascading water and rapids. It's a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic lunch or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. A colony of Flying Foxes are often spotted near the car park, so keep your eyes out!

Ellinjaa Falls  3 kms on from Zillie falls, cascades over a series of lava columns. The car park has BBQ and picnic tables. Walk down to the zig zag track to the stream - great tree ferns and vines on the descent.


Crawford's lookout

A clearing through the forest trees provides an excellent view of the valley and mountain range beyond and is a fantastic photo opportunity.


Mount Hypipamee National Park - Dinner Falls and the Crater

This park is centred around a diatreme or volcanic pipe, thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion. A platform at the end of a 400 m walking track through the rainforest provides an uninterrupted view of the remaining crater.

The crater is almost 70 m across with sheer granite walls (the surface rock through which the gas exploded). Fifty-eight metres below the rim is a lake over 70 m deep, covered with a green layer of native waterweed. A remarkable variety of vegetation types, including high-altitude rainforest, grow in this small park. An alternative route back to the car park from the crater, this track leads to Dinner Falls, a series of cascades in the headwaters of the Barron River.


Babinda Boulders

The Boulders is a popular cool swimming and picnic area in the tropical rainforest. The Boulders area is named for a series of huge outcrops of granite boulders found along Babinda Creek amongst volumes of sparkling, cascading, cool, clear mountain water.

With an exceedingly high average annual rainfall of 4614mm, the surge of water in the creek as it thunders through the Boulders adds to the wild beauty of the region.  The creek is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest with a myriad of trees, ferns, vines, fungi, moss and lichen. The main park contains covered picnic areas, barbecues, children's play equipment, toilets and changing rooms as well as plenty of open grassed areas.  For overnight stays, a free camping area, suitable for tents, caravans or motorhomes, is close by.


Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls is often referred to as "nature's playground" with a natural rockslide being the main attraction of the beautiful cascades. It's an easy 600m walk to the bottom swimming hole with wheelchair access available to the viewing platform at the top pool. Stairs lead to the bottom pool. While it looks tempting, swimming in the top pool is prohibited but there's plenty of space at the bottom pool to spread out.


Mamu Skywalk

The Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway is a spectacular walk through the canopy of World Heritage rainforest. It is an iconic tourist attraction in the heart of the Wet Tropics. With a 350 metre long elevated walkway through the canopy, a cantilever, a 37 metre observation tower and more than 1200 metres of walking tracks, this attraction is a must do for anyone visiting the region.

The cantilever provides tantalising views over the North Johnstone river gorge. The 37 metre observation tower emerges high above the canopy, offering sweeping views over a pristine rainforest-clad mountainous landscape, homeland of the Mamu Aboriginal people.


Mamu Skywalk

Adult $ 26.00 - Concession $22.00 - Child $15.00 (5-15 years) - Family (2 adults and 2 children $76.00)

BOOKINGS +617 40479124



Paronella Park

José Paronella's dream was to build a castle, he chose a special part of Australia and created Paronella Park. On 5 Hectares beside Mena Creek Falls he built his castle, picnic area by the falls, tennis courts, bridges, a tunnel, and wrapped it up in an amazing range of 7,500 tropical plants and trees (now a lush rainforest!). It opened to the public in 1935. Paronella Park has received multiple Queensland tourism awards, is State and National Heritage listed and is a National Trust listed property. It is privately owned and operated and Eco accredited. Paronella Park is the site of Queensland's 1st privately owned hydro electric plant


Paronella Park

Adult $47.00 - Concession $42.00 - Child $26.00 (5 - 15 years) - Family (2 adults and 2 children) $136.00

BOOKINGS +617 40479124


TWO PARK PASS (Mamu Skywalk and Paronella Park)

Adult $66.00 - Concession $58.00 - Child $37.00 (5 - 15 years) - Family (2 Adults and 2 Children) $191.00

BOOKINGS +617 40479124



Crystal Caves

The Crystal Caves will rock your world! One hour from Cairns on the Atherton Tablelands, share Rene's passion for crystals and fossils at the Crystal Caves. Journey through 300 square meters of manmade tunnels and grottos that Rene built to feature his million-year-old natural crystals and prehistoric fossils. Take a self-guided tour and marvel at the interactive displays which allow you to touch and photograph the crystals, you can even crack your own!


Crystal Caves Tour

Adult $25.00 - Concession $20.00 - Child $12.50 (5- 16 years) - Family(2 adults and 2 children) $65.00

Crack a Geode

Adult $30.00 - Child $30.00 (5 - 16 years)

Crystal Caves Tour and Crack a Geode

Adult $50.00 - Concession $45.00 - Child $37.50 (5 - 16 years) - Family(2 adults and 2 children) $90.00

BOOKINGS +617 40479124



Gallo Cheese and Chocolate

Gallo Dairyland is a fully functional dairy farm that produces a range of gourmet dairy products and hand-crafted chocolates. Not only will you thoroughly enjoy a visit to our working dairy farm you can also treat yourself and family to the licenced restaurant with glorious rural views; full café facilities, cheese tasting, chocolates, milking demonstrations and animal nursery for all the kids young and young at heart.

The licensed Café offers a wholesome menu featuring a range of fresh farm produce prepared daily. Kitchen meals are served between 9.30am - 2.00pm during the week and 9.30am - 3.00pm over the weekend (subject to change).


Coffee Works

Discover a feast for all your senses at Coffee Works, Mareeba, on the Atherton Tablelands. Enjoy exceptional Australian coffee, decadent handcrafted chocolates, gorgeous gifts and endless gourmet experiences all in one delicious location.

Indulge a little, discover a lot at Coffee Works, the original boutique Roastery and Chocolaterie of the Tropics. This feast for the senses offers an all day, unlimited tasting experience of coffees, teas chocolates and liqueurs that will have you buzzing!

Go wild in the packed to the rafters gift shop, explore Coffee World, the biggest and most significant coffee antiquities collection in the world. Check out the Chocolaterie, they create over 50 different chocolates onsite. Then kick back, relax and enjoy sweet treats, decadent desserts and flaming fabulous barbecue lunches crafted from local ingredients in the courtyard café.


Herberton Historical Village

Live the folklore and romance of yesterday's Australian pioneers in every piece of the eye-opening private collection at Herberton Historic Village on the Cairns Atherton Tablelands, an entire village of shops and stores lovingly re-stored and re-created as they were over 100 years ago.

Take a pew behind a desk in the old schoolhouse, lean up at the old bar of the antique pub and spin a few porkies with your mates. Enjoy a nice cup of tea and scones in the Bakerville Tearooms and re-live that pioneering feeling.


Mt Uncle Distillery

Nestled within a beautiful banana plantation, Mt Uncle Distillery produces a range of award-winning premium spirits and liqueurs.   These include a gold rum, vodka, botanical gin and a single malt whiskey....... not to mention the world's first marshmallow liqueur!

Bridges Restaurant is also on the grounds. The restaurant has been built from an old river bridge and is visually stunning.  Bridges Restaurant is fully licensed, air conditioned and serves wonderful wood fired pizzas as well as delicious Australian favourites.

The grounds are home to many beautiful animals including alpacas, donkeys, and goats not to mention the 42 peacocks roaming the property.


Jaques Coffee Plantation

A family owned Australian coffee plantation, located in Mareeba, on the beautiful Atherton Tablelands. This rolling plantation boasts 85,000 Arabica coffee trees and its own roaster and home of the worlds first coffee harvester. Sit back and take in the natural beauty as you enjoy lunch (and coffee, of course!) in the licensed café and restaurant.

Expand your coffee knowledge and become a connoisseur with a plantation tour. Choose from either a self-guided tour or indulge in a guided tour - complete with coffee and liqueur tastings.

This is a plantation with a difference as visitors can utilize its airstrip, flying in by helicopter and revealing in adventure flights. Soar over the plantation in a gyrocopter aircraft and experience the magical location from the skies.


Sunrise Hot Air Ballooning

Sliding along hundreds of metres above the earth is one of the best ways to start the day on the Atherton Tablelands. It's an early start but the reward for getting up in the dark is a smooth ride over riveting scenery: most days a cloudless sky makes for a picture-perfect sunrise over the mountains.

The landscape around Mareeba is ideal for the ride, a patchwork of agriculture and horticulture and abundant wildlife.

Breakfast is served at our purpose-built Aussie bush setting nestled in the Mareeba Valley and offering views of the Barron River and local wildlife.

Breakfast Menu

Smoked ham, roast pepper and spinach fritatta. Beef chipolata and tomato. Baked Danish pastry, muesli bar and fresh fruit.

Beverage Menu

Sparkling wine available with guava or orange juice. Tea and coffee.


Hot Air Ballooning

30 Minute Balloon Flight SELF DRIVE - Adult $229.00 - Child (4-14 years) $151.00

30 Minute Balloon Flight EX CAIRNS - Adult $270.00 - Child (4-14 years) $205.00

BOOKINGS +617 40479124

Rates exclude $30.00 per person ballooning levy payable on date of travel - minimum age is 4 years - not suitable for persons with mobility issue - transfers from Port Douglas available - 60-minute flights available



We hope you have found the above information useful in planning your self drive itinerary for visiting the Atherton Tablelands.  We do have this information available in a PDF File, please email us and we are happy to send you a copy.


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