Hastie Swamp - Mt Hypipamee Dinner Falls - Millaa Millaa Falls - Zillie Falls - Elinjaa Falls - Mungalli Falls - Malanda Falls - Lake Eacham
Full day drive starting at approx 9am, returning at approx 5pm
Starting from Atherton, travel up Herberton Road until you come to a sign saying Nyletta Wetlands/Hastie Swamp (Hastie Road) and turn left. Head down over the railway line and on the right hand side you will see the entrance road to Hastie Swamp. Here you’ll be able to see a wide range of birds, ducks, magpie geese but to name a few. These can be viewed from the ‘bird hide’ without disturbing their normal behaviour. Naturally the best times to view the many different breeds are before 6.30am or after 6pm but you will see many birds at any time during the day.
When leaving the Swamp, turn right into Hastie Road, then right onto the Kennedy Highway, which will take you to the Mt Hypipamee National Park where you can see the ‘Crater’ and Dinner Falls. It’s a 10 minute walk (approx.) from the car park to the Crater, then you can return via the ‘natural’ path to see the different sections of Dinner Falls.
Continue along Kennedy Highway, heading for Millaa Millaa, where you will see the sign for Millaa Millaa Lookout. On a clear day, you get an amazing view of the vast green, rolling hills and plateaus that make up the Atherton Tablelands. Continue through the town of Millaa Millaa, past the bright yellow building until you come to The Falls Tea House. Turn left into Theresa Road to see Millaa, Zillie and Ellinjaa Falls. If pressed for time, visit Millaa Millaa Falls and Ellinjaa as these are the nicest.
Turn left onto the Palmerston Highway. Within approx. 10 minutes, you’ll see a large weigh bridge shed on the left. You need to turn left into Brooks Road Junction, which is straight after this shed. This road will take you to Mungalli Creek Dairy where you can sample the locally made organic cheeses and if lucky, get to view the dairy products actually being made. This is also an ideal spot for a healthy, fresh lunch or snack while sitting on the deck, taking in the view. If you’re up for another waterfall, travel a bit further along the same road until you come to Mungalli Falls. There are actually 3 stages to this waterfall, the smaller rapid like falls where you can have a dip, the 2nd level, which you can view from the lookout platform and then the 3rd, which you can view after following the dirt track to the bottom.
Travel back along the Palmerston to Malanda where you’ll see the Malanda Dairy Centre which has tours through the Dairy Farmers Milk complex and displays of the Dairying History. Next is the Environmental/Visitor Information Centre which has a wonderful display of the volcanic history of the Tablelands, with a mock volcano. (There is a gold coin donation for entry to the centre.)Opposite the centre is a rainforest walk that takes approx 1 hour to complete and you can view the many turtles and fish in the river. Next to the Centre is the famous Malanda Falls, which was the original town swimming pool and is still used to this day for swimming – being a popular BBQ/picnic site for both locals and visitors.
From Malanda, you can head to Lake Eacham for a swim &/or do the 3km rainforest walk around the Lake, then onto Lake Barrine where you can go on a 45 minute cruise around the lake (if arriving before 3.30pm) and enjoy a Devonshire Tea on the deck of the Tea House. Ask about the history of this building while there. Heading back to Atherton, the last attraction is the world famous Curtain Fig Tree. There are two major fig trees on the Tablelands, but this is by far the most amazing. The strangler fig took over a ‘host’ tree, which later fell, landing on another. Over the years, the root system grew along the fallen tree, developing a ‘curtain’ of roots. At different times of the year, the tree actually changes colour from a brown to an almost orange colour.
Tropical Tastes - Food & Wine Trail
Full day drive starting at approx 9.30am, returning at approx 5.30pm
The Walkamin/Mareeba section of the Tablelands is classed as the Food & Wine Trail area. There are a variety of wineries, distilleries and coffee plantations to choose from, as well as plenty of choices to stop for lunch along the way. This trip originates from Atherton, and normally takes a whole day, starting at 9 – 9.30am and returning to Atherton at approx 5 – 5.30pm, so it’s best to come into the Atherton Tableland Information Centre either the afternoon before or the morning of your trip.
Travelling north out of Atherton towards Mareeba, you’ll come to a town called Walkamin. A little further along after the speed limit drops from 100 to 80, turn left into Hansen Road, then right into Chewko Road. This is where you’ll find the Mt Uncle Distillery (famous for their banana & coffee liqueurs), which make a variety of liqueurs for a sample and sale. Please note that this is not a winery. You can also sample and purchase some of the large variety of flavoured macadamia nuts grown locally. There is a small fee for sampling but you can collect a ‘One pay, one free’ voucher from the Atherton Tableland Information Centre.
From Mt Uncle head back down to Chewko Road but take a right into Hansen road, which then turns into Channel Road. Follow Channel Road until you come to the Mareeba and Dimbulah Highway (‘T’ intersection) and then turn right and drive until you reach NQ Gold Coffee Plantation. This is a coffee plantation that has been in the Maloberti family for generations and is still owned and operated by the infamous ‘Bruno’. Here you will take part in a tour where you’ll learn everything from how the coffee grows as a ‘cherry’ to how it ends up in your cup. The coffee is still harvested and dried in the traditional family way. Ground coffee and chocolate covered coffee beans are available for purchase.
After leaving NQ Gold, continue on the road back to Mareeba and when you reach the intersection, turn left and drive about 15 minutes until you come to Bilwon Road at Biboohra. Follow the signs until you reach the Golden Drop Mango Winery where you can take part in tasting their variety of mango wines and liqueurs. You can learn about their harvesting methods and also how the wines, liqueurs and champagnes are made. Wines, liqueurs, champagne, dried mango and frozen mangoes are for sale and there is a small fee for sampling the wines etc.
Travel back towards and through Mareeba, where you can take part in the sampling of coffee and guided tour through Coffee Works. (see Option 1) Tours are only available at 10am, 12 noon and 2pm daily. (10% discount voucher available from Atherton Tableland Information Centre) A coffee shop is located here where you can enjoy a smoko break or early lunch. Please note that Coffee Works is not a plantation.
Continue through town and turn left onto the Kennedy Highway as if you are heading to Kuranda, and just after you cross the bridge, you’ll notice a large shed on the right hand side. Turn right here and follow the signs to the Boutique Winery. This will bring you to de Brueys Winery where they make a huge variety of fruit wines, including lychee, wild cherry and many others.
Back out on the highway, turn right, travel approx 11km and then turn left at the sign for Jaques Coffee Plantation onto Gilmore Road. The drive from this turnoff is roughly 12 minutes but is well worth the trip. Here you can watch a movie in their air conditioned theatre, do a tour of the plantation on the ‘Bean Machine’, sample the coffee and relax a while. If you are up to it, they also offer micro-lite flights over the plantation for a fee. Liqueur is on offer for sampling for a small fee but make sure you collect a ‘free tasting’ voucher from the Atherton Tableland Information Centre.
Turn left back onto the Kennedy Highway to the Tichum Creek Coffee Farm and Coffee Shop. This is the ideal place to finish your day, enjoy a hot or cold drink and a piece of their famous ‘Opera Slice’.
The Mungalli Cheese Dairy is considered to be part of the Food & Wine Trail but is actually located at the other end of the Tablelands and is best visited while doing the ‘Back to Nature’ itinerary.
Discount or free tasting vouchers for the relevant attractions from the Atherton Tableland Information Centre - as they are not available at the attractions. Bottled water for in between tastings
Back In Time - Tableland History Trail
The Atherton Tableland is a place steeped in history and played a major role in World War II. There were over 100,000 troops located around the Tablelands and you can visit the Rocky Creek War Memorial Park, which has dedicated over 108 plaques to the many troops from various countries, who fought and lost their lives during the war years here. Rocky Creek is approx 12 minutes drive from the town of Tolga, and can be visited on your way to Atherton from Mareeba or vice versa.
The town of Atherton, originally called Priors Pocket, grew out of the camps that sheltered the men working in lumbering operations when cedar was plentiful and cheap, and the first official town lots were sold on 23rd February 1886. W.B. Kelly, known as the "Father of Atherton", who engaged in the store and hotel-keeping business was the first person to select a site. Some of the early pioneers of the town were Neil McGeehan, who built and occupied the very first cottage on the town site, Charles Tucker, who brought sheep to the Tableland, the Loder family, who manufactured both cheese and butter, George Windhaus, who grew and processed eight to ten acres of coffee on a site east of Hallorans Hill and the four Mazlin brothers, timber-getters and sawyers, who cut much of the timber used in the erection of the early buildings in the town.
The Atherton War Cemetery is located just off the Kennedy Highway, near the International Club. Here you will find the white identical headstones erected in tribute to those who died fir their country.
The Pioneer Cemetery which is located on Herberton Road, next to the Transfer Station, is an interesting place holding the history of many of our great pioneers. Although many may think that wandering through cemeteries is a morose thing to do, it’s actually quite interesting to read the many different inscriptions and old dates written on the headstones.
The next town on the list is Herberton. Herberton’s main claim to fame is Tin Mining. Willie Jack and John Newell found tin in Prospectors Gully, in the present town of Herberton, and smelted some in a tree stump at the present post office site to prove it actually was tin. In 1880 a Chinaman reported tin and the Chinese flocked to Herberton to find it. Willie and John returned to Prospectors Gully and found the Great Northern Lode on April 20, 1880, resulting in John registering the first discovery of lode tin in Australia. Thanks to some target shooting later that year, a lode of native silver was uncovered and the Silver Valley was named.
Driving through the town (Grace Street) the Camera Museum is first on the visit list. Here you will see the huge camera collection displayed, including the first Russian Spy camera, one made entirely from gold and many other weird and wonderful cameras and equipment. Turn right into William Street, then left into Ellie Street, then left again into John Street where you’ll see the Mural on the left depicting the history of Herberton. Last on the list is the new Tin Mining Museum located on Jack Street. You can see displays of minerals, metals and tin and information on the alluvial and hard rock mining, while the larger mining equipment is displayed outdoors. There are also various walking trails that head off from the car park, where you can see the Gully Shaft (first shaft), the Eastern Shaft (begun in 1886 and 600ft deep), and the New Gully Shaft. Original buildings still stand today.
Yungaburra was first called Allumbah, which was the Aboriginal word for ‘Red Cedar’. Land was surveyed in 1886 for group settlement and Allumbah village was chosen. A shanty pub was built by H S Williams and Maud, one of his daughters aged 16, came from the farm in Carrington to manage the shanty. In 1910, the railway came through from Tolga and the town name was changed from Allumbah to Yungaburra. The shanty pub was turned into a flour mill, and then later H S Williams built the famous Lake Eacham Hotel, now called the Yungaburra Pub. Many of the original buildings still stand today and can be seen and some even entered as they are still operating shops. Yungaburra’s first church was St Marks Anglican and built in 1911. St Patricks Catholic Church followed 2 years later in time for the wedding of Maud Williams to Jack Kehoe, a station master. You will also find a street named after him.
Dam Good Drive - Back & Beyond Tinaroo Dam
Two Hours to a full Day
Note: Please note that the road on the other side of the dam wall is 28 km of unsealed surfaces so if you have a hire car, please make sure you are allowed to drive on unsealed roads.
This drive takes you from Tolga around Lake Tinaroo Dam, to Lake Barrine, Lake Eacham, Yungaburra and back to Atherton. You will drive through state forests, softwood plantations and World Heritage Rainforests. Take a refreshing swim at Tinaroo or Lake Eacham. Lovely picnic spots throughout the drive.
This drive will take from two hours to a full day, depending on how many stops you make.
1. Tolga - This tour will take you through the town of Tolga, starting at the Tolga Woodworks Craft Gallery and Café to view their many items carved from timber, wrought iron, pewter and more. Drive through Main Street, which becomes Kairi Road.
2. Kairi - This leads you to the town of Kairi. If you are into arts and crafts or are just looking for that something special for someone special, call into the Kairi Pottery Barn. They have a range of gifts, ceramics, tea towels etc.
3. Tinaroo Township - Continue along the road and eventually youll come into the town of Tinaroo. On the right hand side, not far past the Caravan Park, you will see a picnic area and pontoon. The Atherton Shire Council has recently completed a walking track, pontoon for swimming, picnic tables & BBQs for the enjoyment of all. The walking track is approx 40 minutes return, and is fairly relaxed so youll be able to enjoy the cool breeze as well as the view. Once youve completed the walk, you might like to have lunch at Pensinis Restaurant at the Lookout or the Cathedral Lodge on Palm Street.
4. Dam Wall - Competed in 1958, Tinaroo Dam was built primarily for irrigation. It is now multi-purpose, also providing a water supply for the Tableland towns, and is a major recreation venue. There are BBQs and toilets located below the dam wall.
5. Platypus Rock Lookout - The lookout is a series of Granite Boulders with great views over the lake. Follow the steps up from the carpark. Drive a little further to the Platypus Camping and Day-Use-Area on the shore front. BBQs, toilets & picnic tables are provided.
6. Downfall Creek Camping area on the foreshore - BBQ and Toilet facilities provided are provided here. There is a "Regeneration Walk" from here to Kauri Creek Camping area, 2.6km, 2 hour return walk.
7. Kauri Creek Camping and Day Use Area - 300m from the camping area is the day use area. Picnic, BBQ and Toilet facilities provided. The sandy bottom rainforest creek provides a shallow swimming spot for the kids. Walking track - 5km; 2 hour return - steep and narrow track following the creek through upland rainforest, crossing the creek twice so you need to wade through.
8. School Point Camping & Day Use Area - Camping area is to be prebooked only. Picnic, BBQ and Toilet facilities provided for day visitors.
9. Fong on Bay Camping Area - a popular waterskiing and swimming spot. BBQs an toilet facilities provided.
10. School House - Originally located at School Point, the Euramoo School House was moved to this site in the 1960s
11. Lake Euramoo - An observation deck overlooks this small crater lake. Circuit walking track of 600m or 30 minute return takes you through the forest around the lake, but does not allow access to the lake.
12. The Chimneys - Danbulla was a soldier settlement after WW1. The two chimney stacks are all that remains of a 1924 house. A picnic area with BBQs,shelter and tables, Toilets, and large grassed area are provided.
13. Mobo Creek Crater - a 600m, 30 minute return walk through the forest around the crater.
14. Cathedral Fig tree - a rainforest walk of 150m (10 minutes) to the Cathedral Fig Tree, a magnificent example of a strangler Fig.
15. Lake Barrine - If you havent visited Lake Barrine, call in and do the cruise at Lake Barrine. Have afternoon tea at the delightful Teahouse overlooking the lake.
16. Lake Eacham - then onto Lake Eacham for a swim or the rainforest walk.
17. Yungaburra - if you have time, call into Yungaburra where you can enjoy a stroll around the town looking through the variety of shops. There is also a walk that takes you to the Platypus Viewing Platform where if youre lucky, youll spot one of the elusive platypus.
18. Atherton - If you have had no luck at spotting the platypus, head down to Platypus Park on Herberton Road in Atherton, as there is a family of 5 platypus in the original swimming pool/creek that can be seen at most times during the day. On your way, stop off at Shaylee Strawberries at the Marks Lane turn off , to pick your own strawberries when in season, or to purchase a gelati style ice cream or home made jams. They also have picnic tables and chairs under large shady trees so you can sit and relax