Atherton Tablelands Tours & Attractions

Allawah Guests do require their own vehicle or a hire car during their stay.

The Cairns Highlands is the ideal romantic getaway, and Allawah Retreat is a superb holiday base from which to explore all the attractions of the historic Atherton Tablelands. Or, explore further afield in tropical North Queensland and discover the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and the vastness of the savannah lands west to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Close by are a number of quality restaurants and cafes serving fresh locally grown produce.

Enjoy shopping for antiques, local arts & crafts and jewellery, going for steam train rides, hot air ballooning, wildlife spotting, fishing, swimming, horseriding, sightseeing, caving, exploring local weekend markets and historic towns, old goldmines and much much more. Visit our links page.

Atherton Tableland Self Drive Day tours which could incorporate the following:

Hot Air Ballooning, Skyrail cable car and Kuranda scenic rail, Lava tubes, Limeston caves and marble mines,Tropical fruit winery, Fruit wine distillery, Coffee plantation and tasting, Mareeba wild animal park, Tropical Savanna Wetland Reserve,Wood craft gallery, Waterfall circuit, Volcanic craters, Bird watching lagoons and beautiful scenic drives whilst exploring the Atherton Tablelands or experience a tour to the Great Aussie Outback.

View the rainforest from above
on the Skyrail
Skyrail - Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland
Visit Millaa Millaa Falls
on the waterfall circuit
Millaa Millaa Falls - Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Must-see and things to do:

Over 75% of Australia's coffee is grown in Mareeba
Over 75% of Australia's coffee is grown in Mareeba
  • The Lakes: eg. Lake Tinaroo, Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham, Lake Euramoo
  • Waterfalls: Millaa Millaa Falls and the waterfall circuit, Millstream Falls, Davies Creek and Emerald Creek Falls
  • Rainforest giants like the Curtain fig tree, Cathedral Fig, Giant Red Cedar, twin Kauris
  • Birdwatching: Hastie swamp NP, Mareeba Tropical Savannah Wetlands, Bromfield Swamp, etc.
  • Mango winery and local distillery producing banana and other fruit liquors
  • Visit farms and enjoy tasting local tropical fruit, and exotic cheeses at Mungalli Creek boutique cheese factory
  • Tolga Woodworks: a wonderful timber gallery in Tolga, and Duncan gallery offers unique images and The Crystal Caves in Atherton is a fascinating tour.
  • Visit craft and antique shops and find that hidden treasure.
  • Dine out at Restuarants serving fresh locally produced products. Depending on your tour, try one of these eateries all serving fresh locally produced food — Malanda Gourmet Food Factory, Pensini’s on Lake Tinaroo, Lake Barrine Teahouse, and don't forget our great restaurants like historic Eden House and Nick's Swiss-Italian Restaurant. Try one of the local country pubs where they serve local produce and hearty size meals and a good yarn at the bar. (Not all restaurants are open for lunch and dinner)
  • Coffee and Tea plantations offer a variety of experiences and most offering tours and tastings of their products.
  • Mamu Canopy Walkway Stroll along the 350metre elevated walkway and view the amazing rainforest from the 37 metre high tower elevated above the gorge below.


Atherton Tableland Townships

Kuranda

Kuranda is known as the village in the Rainforest.  Located about 38 kilometres from Cairns and at the Northern end of the Atherton Tablelands. it is surrounded by World Heritage listed rainforest. Kuranda was once an alternative lifestyle village, but now boasts a myriad of markets, shops and nature based activities to suit everyone.

Attractions:

  • Barron River Falls Rainforest walk
  • Jungle Walk
  • Bat and Butterfly and Bird world sanctuarys
  • Variety of craft shops
  • The popular Kuranda Markets

Yungaburra

The picturesque village of Yungaburra is nestled amongst rolling green hills, with many outstanding beautiful natural attractions such as crater lakes, waterfalls and World Heritage Rainforests within easy reach of this lovely village. A stroll around Yungaburra offers a glimpse of a fascinating past, where wide verandahs and heritage shop fronts line the tranquil streets. A classic country pub, quaint coffee shops and award winning restaurants will tempt your tastebuds, or browse the craft and antique shops. Heritage cottages, friendly motels and boutique resorts are some of the varied options available in and around Yungaburra. Yungaburra is just over an hours drive from Cairns.

Attractions:

  • Galleries in the main street
  • Quaint restaurants and cafés
  • The Curtain Fig tree
  • Petersons’ creek walking circuit
  • Platypus viewing platform
  • Yungaburra Markets every 4th Saturday of each month

Herberton

Herberton is the oldest town on the Tablelands. Several of the buildings constructed in the 1880s and 1890s still stand to this day, including the top shops at the Heritage Corner, which was previously the Jack and Newell building, the School of Arts building, Police Station, Courthouse building and the churches. There are also 2 hotels which proudly boast being the oldest continuously licensed and operating hotels in Queensland.

Attractions:

  • Herberton Historic Village
  • The Spy Camera Museum
  • Herberton Mining Musuem
  • Walking Trails
  • Visit nearby historic Irvinebank’s Loudon House

Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine

The larger of the twin crater lakes, Lake Barrine has been operating as a tourist destination since the 1920s. Picnic and toilet facilities. Both lakes are remnant volcanic craters.

Attractions:

  • Enjoy a lake cruise and devonshire tea at the Tea House on the waters edge
  • Spot the sunbathing pythons, eels, turtles, ducks and other water birds
  • Experience remnant Tableland Rainforest on the 6.5km walk around the lake
  • Short walk to the 1,100 year old Twin Kauri Pines

Millaa Millaa

Beautiful Millaa Millaa nestles in emerald hills surrounded by dairy farms and a circuit of waterfalls. 
Its lookout presents the most expansive views in the area and Millaa Millaa Falls in an indelible image which has become an emblem of the region. It is located at the Southern end of the Tablelands.

Attractions:

  • Millaa Millaa falls
  • The Waterfall circuit
  • Misty Mountain Trails
  • Mungalli Creek Dairy
  • Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway

The Outback — Chilligoe

Chillagoe is 140 kms west of Mareeba. Chillagoe is easily accessed by conventional vehicles via the Wheelbarrow Way. A dramatic landscape created by massive marble bluffs and rock formations greets travellers. The Chillagoe smelter operated in the early 1900s at which time, it was the centre of a thriving mining industry that brought wealth and development to the Chillagoe area. Guided tours of the Chillagoes caves are conducted daily. The tours take you through Donna, Trezkinn and Royal Arch Caves. Pompeii, Bauhinia and The Archway Caves are self guided.

Attractions:

  • Historical Chillagoe Smelter
  • Chillagoe Caves (Mungana)

The Outback — Mount Mulligan

Mount Mulligan lies 50 km north of the tiny town of Dimbulah in the Northern region of the Tablelands.  The road to Mt Mulligan is unsealed. Mt Mulligan was based entirely on coal mining, but was never profitable, and spent most of its life in the shadow of financial ruin. It is chiefly known for the horrific mining disaster that occurred there in 1921.

 

Mareeba

Mareeba area is known as the big land of outback plains, endless blue skies and orange sunsets and is considered "The Gateway to the Cape of Carpenteria journey. Mareeba enjoys 300 sunny days a year. It is the largest town on the Atherton Tablelands, situated on the banks of the Barron River near its junction, with Granite and Emerald Creek.

Attractions:

  • Mareeba Information and Heritage Centre
  • Warbirds Adventures
  • Mareeba Wetlands
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Coffee plantations
  • Fruit wineries

Tolga

Tolga is situated just north of Atherton. Tolga began life as a staging post on the railway track, which stretched all the way to Millaa Millaa and played an important role in dairy industry. The township has also served as a centre for the timber industry, and also as an Army Ordinance Depot, and as the centre of the maize and peanut industries. In its heyday the township supported nine licensed premises.

Attractions:

  • Tolga Woodworks
  • Tolga Cane
  • Tolga Scrub
  • Heritage Farm Machinery Museum
  • Tolga Railway Museum
  • Rocky Creek War Memorial
  • The old army war igloo
  • Tolga Markets 1st Sunday of the month

Atherton

The bustling town of Atherton has many facilities including accommodation, eateries and shopping and could be considered the commercial centre of the Tablelands. From its beginnings as a timber-getter's camp and a staging post between the tin mines and the coast, Atherton has blossomed like it's trademark Jacaranda trees.

Attractions:

  • Hou Wang Temple
  • Atherton Antiques
  • Hallorans Hill lookout
  • Crystal Caves
  • Birdwatching at Hasties Swamp
  • Gallo's Dairyland for chocolate and cheese

Lake Tinaroo

Lake Tinaroo is 15 mins from Atherton via the township of Kairi and also via Tolga. Tinaroo township sits on the edge of Lake Tinaroo. Lake Tinaroo itself is an extremely popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. On the foreshore of Lake Tinaroo, and adjacent to the township, a concreted walking track, pontoon onto the Lake, sandy beach, play areas and BBQs shelters have been built recently. Lots of grassy areas to enjoy a game with your children. Take the Dambula Forest Drive which passes many great spots for camping, picnicking, fishing and water sports.

Attractions:

  • Water Skiing
  • Jet Skiing
  • Canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Red Claw Potting
  • Camping
  • Walking
  • Dambula Forest Drive

Malanda

The friendly township of Malanda is set against a backdrop of rolling green hills, at the heart of the waterfalls and Lakes District. Malanda is 10 Minutes from Atherton and Yungaburra. Malanda is in the centre of the dairying industry with the Malanda Dairy centre operating as a cafe and offering factory tours.

Attractions:

  • Nerada Tea Plantation
  • Malanda Falls Info offering guided rainforest walks

Ravenshoe, Mt Garnet & Innot Hot Springs

These country towns are located west of Millaa Millaa. Ravenshoe is Queensland's highest town at 920 metres above sea level. Previously relying on a rainforest timber industry, Ravenshoe now has a new lease of life with a number of art galleries and craft shops. Mt Garnet in its heyday was known for its mining of silver, copper and lead. Innot Hot Springs is where you will find Nettle Creek's mineral waters bubbling at 75 degrees celsius.

Attractions:

  • Art galleries and craft shops
  • Nettle Creek's mineral waters bubbling at 75 degrees celsius

Take a look at some of our photos of Atherton Tablelands attractions:

So much to see and do. But may we suggest you allow one day free of your busy tour schedule and enjoy a day of R&R and make Allawah Retreat your home-away-from-home for a day. Relax and unwind in the heated spa, book a therapeutic massage, take a walk, read a book, play a game of Scrabble, catch up on the laundry or just sit back and take in the panoramic views. Just as the name implies: Allawah (aboriginal meaning) for "sit down, stay here and rest a while".

Take a hot air balloon flight
to see the area in style
Hot air ballooning over Mareeba - Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland
See the rainforest from above at the Mamu Canopy Walk
Mamu Canopy Walk


We had the most relaxing time ever. No noise, no kids. The best 40th birthday ever and the hot air ballooning just topped it off. Thank you for letting us share your retreat with you.

Shaun & Debbie
Cairns

Tableland Markets

Visit colourful Tableland Weekend Markets during your stay at Allawah Retreat.

The following list contains the days of the month that there are markets on the Atherton Tablelands.

  • 1st Saturday of each month: Atherton, Mt. Molloy
  • 2nd Saturday of each month: Mareeba
  • 3rd Saturday of each month: Malanda
  • 4th Saturday of each month: Yungaburra
  • 1st Sunday of each month: Tolga
  • 2nd Sunday of each month: Innot Hot Springs, Kairi
  • 3rd Sunday of each month: Herberton
  • 4th Sunday of each month: Ravenshoe