LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
Up in the Mountain Ranges behind Cairns, in North Queensland Australia is the Thriving Township of Atherton.

This friendly country town provides all the necessary facilities and amenities for families with children, retirees, locals and visitors.  Here, you can enjoy the urban pleasures of unique shops, art galleries and charming cafes with great local coffee.  The Atherton Tablelands Landscapes range from extinct volcanoes and crater lakes; bird and wildlife rich forests and National Parks; peaceful dairy and cropping farms; and charming towns and villages.

Walk on the wild side - watch and photograph abundant tropical flora and fauna.  The crocodile-free lakes and rivers offer outstanding swimming, camping and fishing.  Explore ancient volcanic crater lakes.  Experience the exhilarating feeling of swimming beneath waterfalls and strolling through rainforest.

Attractions

The region has a wealth of artists whose works are best seen at the Tablelands Regional Gallery. Check out the wonderful pre-war Barron Valley Hotel, browse through the town’s quaint shops like Atherton Antiques & Australiana and enjoy a picnic at Hallorans Hill. In the main street, you’ll find one of the most remarkable and novel attractions in the whole of Australia. The Crystal Caves are the fanciful creation of the Boissevain family. A spectacular private mineralogical collection with over 600 specimens, museum, the caves are a real trip where visitors don a miner’s helmet complete with a headlamp for a fun tour of this fairy-tale underground cavern, which houses the world’s largest amethyst geode, The Empress of Uruguay, and their astounding new attraction, The Magic Spheres.

Just out of Atherton is an attraction which combines the two taste sensations of dairy and chocolate – Gallo’s Dairyland. Taste the gourmet cheeses and chocolates, and let the children see how milk is made! Hasties Swamp is a seasonal wetland which has an annual cycle of wet and dry, attracting a range of resident and migrant birds. The two-storey Nyleta Wetlands Bird Hide there has wheelchair access (on the lower section only).

Atherton Chinatown

Gold attracted Chinese settlers to North Queensland in the late 1800’s and when the gold ran out, many turned to timber cutting and market gardening. The remains of Atherton’s Chinatown are now an archaeological site featuring the community’s fully restored place of worship, the Hou Wang Temple. The Temple is part of a complex which includes a Chinese museum featuring interactive displays of Atherton’s Chinese heritage and a prized collection of original artefacts and historic photographs of the once bustling precinct. During October, the Chinatown grounds play host to the food festival, A Taste of The Tablelands.

Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park

This network of mountain bike trails in the Herberton Range is accessed from the northern entrance to the Herberton Range Ridge road. Over 60klms of trails meander through an open forest of gums, bloodwoods, mahoganys, she-oaks, grasstrees and cycads. Some of the trails pass former forestry experimental plots of teak, blackbutt and tallowwood trees. These single-track trails are purpose-built for mountain bike riding. Horses are not permitted on the trails.

HALLORANS HILL LOOKOUT

Walk right up the side of an extinct volcano - Hallorans Hill.  The walking track starts at the return.  You'll see a curtain fig tree, miniature waterfalls, rock pools and rainforest.  Keep an eye out for bush turkeys and even the occasional tree-kangaroo. On top at the lookout, enjoy the panoramic views across the Atherton Tablelands.  The views include Lake Tinaroo, the Seven Sisters - extinct volcanoes and Mt Bartle Frere - the tallest mountain in Queensland.  There are also covered barbeques and an attractive play area for children. 

CRYSTAL CAVES

Put on a miner's helmet and venture into the man made cave system, which offers an amazing labyrinth of gemstones and fossils studded into the walls.  You'll be awestruck when you see the giant amethyst, a recent purchase.  Crystal Caves is located in Atherton's main Street and is a major draw card to people of all ages.

HASTIES SWAMP NATIONAL PARK

Only two kilometres south of the Atherton Information Centre is a bird-lovers paradise. Twitchers call this area a "hot spot".  This is a good place to observe nesting behaviour.  An all weather bird hide is perched next to wetlands containing large concentrations of birds including some rare species.  There's no entrace fee for this park.
LAKE TINAROO
Lake Tinaroo is a major tourist attraction. It is a protected and safe place for sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, swimming, fishing, red clawing, bird watching, hiking, picnicking, and camping.The wilderness surrounding the dam is diverse, including dense rainforest, pine tree plantations and Australian scrub. As a result, the birdlife is spectacular and platypuses and kangaroos are abundant. Lake Tinaroo is regarded as the best Barramundi fishing in the world. The barramundi here cannot breed because the water is only fresh. (Barramundi need a salt and fresh water environment to breed) Therefore, the lake is stocked annually with baby barra that grow into monsters bigger than anywhere else in the world.

LAKE EACHAM

A clear, blue lake surrounded by cool rainforest, Lake Eacham offers swimming, birdwatching, canoeing, picnic areas and shady walking tracks. It is a popular recreation area for locals and visitors. In geological terms, the lake is a maar—a volcanic crater formed by massive explosions from the superheating of groundwater. The crater has filled with water, forming a lake 65m deep. A number of rainforest communities can be seen along the 3km track encircling the lake. Over 180 bird species have been recorded from the rainforest and you may be lucky enough to see one of the few species of marsupial active during daytime—the small musky rat-kangaroo.

LAKE BARRINE

Blue crater lake 4km past the Lake Eacham turnoff - tea house, boat tours, bush walking, bird watching and wildlife spotting. A mere 1 hour drive from Cairns via the scenic Gillies Highway brings you to the cool atmosphere of the Atherton Tablelands, where you will come across a beautiful, enchanting natural lake hidden in World Heritage Rainforest. Lake Barrine is something special as it is actually a water filled crater left by a volcanic eruption approximately 10,000 years ago.Whether you’re interested in a fully guided boat tour of the lake and its creatures, a swim in the freshwater lake, a walk around the lake in the lush rainforest or a quick snack at the lakeside teahouse amongst beautiful terraced gardens; Lake Barrine offers one of the most beautiful and relaxing environments in the tropics.

THE GEM GALLERY

Yungaburra Historic Village - opal, bead and pearl jewellery. Specialising Australian opal, not only do we cut and polish the opal from its rough state right here in our store, we then design and manufacture the gold and silver jewellery. The workshops are situated right inside the shop to provide customers with an up close view of all of the processes involved, from concept to completion. We also provide opal cutting demonstrations and opal education for organised groups and we are always happy and willing to provide information about opal to any individuals just passing through.

ATHERTON TABLELANDS EVENTS

  • Wheelbarrow Race - held in May at Mareeba
  • Mareeba Rodeo - held in July at Mareeba
  • Victory in the Pacific Celebrations - held in August at Rocky Creek (between Atherton and Mareeba)
  • Walkamin Country Music Festival - held in October at Mareeba
  • Barra Bash Fishing Competition - held in October/November at Tinaroo
  • Yungaburra Folk Festival - held on the 4th weekend in October at Yungaburra