Things to do in Atherton Tablelands

Our most recommended things to do in Atherton Tablelands

Cairns: Paronella, Lake Barrine & Millaa Millaa Falls Tour

1. Cairns: Paronella, Lake Barrine & Millaa Millaa Falls Tour

Departure from Cairns, we head south travelling past Walsh’s Pyramid, one of the largest naturally formed pyramids in the world. Here your guide will stop so you can grab a photo of this unique North Queensland landmark. Now it’s time to travel up the World Heritage-listed Gillies Highway climbing 730 metres above sea level whilst enjoying the breathtaking views over the Goldsborough Valley. Just before the top of the amazing Gillies Range is a short photo opportunity at the Heales Lookout before heading into the gorgeous Atherton Tablelands. The first stop is the beautiful World Heritage Listed Lake Barrine Crater Lake National Park. On arrival, your tour guide will take you on a short walk to visit the 1000-year-old Twin Kauri Pines, true giants of the rainforest. Enjoy a Wonderful Devonshire Morning Tea, before we depart and head to the historical town of Yungaburra. This beautiful village is recognised as having the most Nationally Listed Heritage buildings in Queensland. Here your guide will take you on a driving tour around this quaint town showcasing the many Nationally Heritage buildings. Next stop is The Curtain Fig Tree located in the Curtain Fig Tree National Park. This amazing feat of nature reaching 45+ metres up into the tropical rainforest canopy. Here your guide will guide you around on the boardwalk interpreting the amazing formation of this 600-800-year old epiphyte while also looking out for endemic wildlife species in the rainforest canopy, like the rare Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo. From here, we will head through the historical dairy town of Malanda, home to Australia’s oldest continuously running commercial picture theatre. Your guide will drive you around this charming town showcasing the beautiful old pub & theatre. Travelling through extensive beef, dairy, sugar cane & other diverse types of farming areas, we arrive at Millaa Millaa Falls – one of Australia’s most photographed waterfalls. Here you will have an option of swimming under the cool waters falling 20 metres over an ancient volcanic lava flow formed over 1 million years ago or you can sit back, relax & enjoy the tranquillity of nature. Now it’s time to descend from the mountains down the Palmerstone Highway through sugar cane & banana fields to the coastal town of Innisfail, where we enjoy our delicious Lunch. Paronella Park is the next destination with a 45-minute guided tour in English, Chinese or Japanese. The tour will guide you through the extensive National Trust Gardens while learning the rich history of Hose Paronella’s wonderful achievements and the colourful history of how he built his Spanish Castle in the rainforest; you will have amazing photo opportunities of the breathtaking Mena Creek & Theresa falls & much more. spend approx 2.5 hours here allowing plenty of free time to enjoy the rest of the park at a leisurely pace. Then, return to Cairns.

From Cairns: Atherton Tableland Wilderness Tour with Lunch

2. From Cairns: Atherton Tableland Wilderness Tour with Lunch

Embark on a full-day trip to Atherton Tableland from Cairns and admire the lush beauty of tropical North Queensland. Visit Wooroonooran National Park, swim in Lake Eacham, and enjoy lunch in a historic pub. Your 11-hour excursion begins with a drive to the Wooroonooran National Park. Stop for a swim at Josephine Falls, which features a huge natural rock slide. Travel across the volcanic landscape of the Atherton Tablelands. Marvel at the 18-meter-high Millaa Millaa Falls, framed by lush rainforest and tree ferns. Enjoy lunch at the Malanda Pub, before visiting Mount Hypipamee. Walk through the rainforest on easy pathways. See wildlife around Dinner Falls, including brush turkeys and Boyd’s forest dragon. Visit the giant curtain fig tree, and try your luck at platypus spotting in Yungaburra. Enjoy a last swim at Lake Eacham, before the trip back to Cairns.

Barron Gorge: Half-Day Barron River White-Water Rafting

3. Barron Gorge: Half-Day Barron River White-Water Rafting

Experience white-water rafting in Barron Gorge National Park, known for its rugged rainforest mountains, steep ravines, and the falls carved out over thousands of years by the Barron River. Enjoy optional pickup from Cairns or Port Douglas before heading to the national park. Meet your guide at Lake Placid, and get ready for your river rafting tour on the river. Enjoy the area’s scenic beauty and a combination of calm water and a series of white-water rapids as well. Spend two hours navigating rapids up to grade three. No experience is necessary, making this a good choice for beginning rafters. There is also plenty of excitement for the more experienced.

From Cairns and Northern Beaches: Rainforest River Tubing

4. From Cairns and Northern Beaches: Rainforest River Tubing

Get an adrenaline rush on a fantastic river tubing activity in a beautiful rainforest close to Cairns. Escape the usual tourist path and join the locals in the Behana Gorge, where a canopy of trees arch over gently tumbling waters, or experience the small rapids of the Mulgrave River in safety. Navigate the river fully supervised by a minimum of two guides on the water at all times. Suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, the activity requires no previous experience and includes all safety equipment. Spend a couple of hours floating down a pristine stream in the rainforest and soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural surroundings.

Port Douglas: Breakfast with the Birds

5. Port Douglas: Breakfast with the Birds

Escape to a wondrous free-flight aviary and have a dining experience like no other. Breakfast among birds and other wildlife at the picturesque new Koala Habitat in Curlew Café, located at the heart of the Wetlands Habitat.  Enjoy comfortable banquet-style seating with up to 10 people on each table and interact with and feed koalas, kangaroos, colorful birds, and more in a relaxed spacious setting. Dine family-style in an exclusive seated area on fresh local produce from the surrounding area and food-rich Atherton Tablelands. Learn more about the diverse wildlife from the passionate gamekeepers and enjoy all the wildlife presentations!

From Cairns: Rainforest & Nocturnal Wildlife Tour

6. From Cairns: Rainforest & Nocturnal Wildlife Tour

Departing from your Cairns or Northern Beaches accommodation, head south to view the agile wallabies that live within the city limits. Make a second stop at the Cathedral Fig Tree, an 8,000-year-old Strangler fig with a giant root system. Enjoy an afternoon tea at the world-renowned Lake Barrine before walking through the rainforest. Keep your eyes out for musky rat-kangaroo, Boyd's forest dragon, rainforest birds, butterflies and flying foxes. After a quick stop at Lake Eacham, visit a private access platypus viewing area in Yungaburra for a 90% chance of seeing the unique mammal. Enjoy a delicious dinner at a restaurant in the township of Yungburra. Then, your nighttime spotlighting adventure begins! Walk under the night stars and into the rainforest. Look out for Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo, northern leaf-tailed gecko, ringtail possums, gliders, frogs, owls and more. Return to Cairns at around 10:00 PM and Northern Beaches at around 10:30 PM.

2-Day Atherton Tablelands, Mossman Gorge and Daintree Tour

7. 2-Day Atherton Tablelands, Mossman Gorge and Daintree Tour

Experience the diverse beauty of Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, and Mossman Gorge on 2 day trips from Cairns. Day 1: Learn the Aboriginal history of Babinda Boulders in the Atherton Tablelands, and go for a swim in the crystal clear waters of Josephine Falls. Slide down a waterfall on a natural rockslide before visiting Millaa Millaa Falls. Enjoy lunch at a Australia’s largest timber pub before a bush walk and time to swim behind a waterfall. Gaze into a volcanic crater and look for wild cassowary in their natural habitat. See the Curtain Fig Tree before heading to Lake Eacham, a dormant volcanic crater lake full of turtles. Watch the sunset before the drive back to Cairns. Day 2: Take a scenic coastal drive towards the Mossman Gorge and enjoy panoramic views of the Coral Sea along the way. Get a warm welcome from the local Aborigines on arrival, and then cross the Daintree River for lunch at a beach. Explore the ancient rainforest on a guided tour of Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk and learn more about the flora and fauna, from low-lying ferns and shrubs to the massive canopy and mangroves. Taste some locally made ice cream, and enjoy a wildlife cruise to look for crocodiles before the return trip to Cairns via Port Douglas.

Cairns: Rainforest and Waterfalls Tour Atherton Tablelands

8. Cairns: Rainforest and Waterfalls Tour Atherton Tablelands

Venture into the wilderness of Queensland's far north on a tour that makes nature and the outdoors fun and accessible. See waterfalls, lookouts, lakes, and craters on this day-trip of the Atherton Tablelands from Cairns. Experience the unique endemic wildlife and natural beauty of the Atherton Tablelands. Visit places like Josephine Falls, Babinda Boulders, Millaa Millaa Falls, and Lake Eacham. Choose what destinations suit you best with a flexible itinerary that caters to your group's interests. Make a stop for a swim in a freshwater waterfall or natural water slide and take a break for some coffee or tea. Be sure to also check out the ancient fig tree that's hundreds of years old. Your knowledgeable guide will help you to learn more about the region as you explore the terrain.

From Cairns: Atherton Tablelands Food and Wine Tasting Tour

9. From Cairns: Atherton Tablelands Food and Wine Tasting Tour

STOP 1 Journey to the Atherton Tablelands which is located 1 hour’s drive from the city via the scenic Gillies Highway. Discover a cool highlands where you will sample a delicious breakfast of local produce and enjoy a special coffee or local tea at an 80-year old lakeside tea house over looking Lake Barrine crater lake surrounded by lush rainforest. STOP 2 Next, visit Nerada Tea Plantation situated on the scenic outskirts of Malanda. Here, you will be tasting several of the Plantation grown, single-origin teas, such as Plantation Fresh Black and Royal Devonshire, black tea with a hint of natural vanilla. The teas will be paired with a selection of local cheeses. Whilst enjoying your tastings, overlook the lush fields of Australia’s largest Tea Plantation. Keep your eyes peeled as you might just spot one of the resident Tree Kangaroos, too! STOP 3Enjoy lunch. The Australian Platypus Park is home to a thriving platypus population. Take a wander down to see them in their magnificent setting then sit down to enjoy flavored handcrafted smoked products, combined with a unique blend of local Australian native herbs and spices. These tasty treats are all produced in-house using only the freshest quality ingredients and include Crocodile, Red Claw (Yabby), and Kangaroo with fresh local salads topped off with a boutique beer, Dragon Fruit cider, Lemon Myrtle tea, and finish with a wine tasting of the Murdering Point tropical fruit wine range. STOP 4Arrive at Gallo Dairyland, a working dairy farm where we sample their hand-crafted chocolates and an opportunity to buy their cheeses. STOP 5The Humpy is the best place to go for freshly harvested produce straight from the growers. Marvel at the array of vegetables, tropical fruits, and hundreds of varieties of nuts, dried fruits, and locally produced jams and sauces. Enjoy some seasonal fruits and different hot peanuts and macadamia nuts, and get some time to browse to make any purchases. STOP 6 Continue to the Mount Uncle distillery to taste some of their award-winning liqueurs and spirits. Wander around the stunning property nestled in coffee and banana plantations and meet the friendly animals. STOP 7 Move on to the Jacques Family coffee plantation and get an insight into the finer details of coffee, from the tree to the cup, Stroll through the coffee bushes and gardens, and end with a cup of Jacques coffee made just as you like it and served with homemade scones with jam and cream and sample some coffee liqueurs. Alternate stop: Rainforestation for local coffee and tea with fresh damper, Davidson plum jam, and cream.

Port Douglas: Scenic Hot Air Balloon Ride

10. Port Douglas: Scenic Hot Air Balloon Ride

See the Atherton Tablelands from the sky on a hot air balloon tour. Marvel at the colors of the sunrise, spot birds soaring through the air, and see the balloon inflate.  Meet your experienced ballooning team at Atherton Tablelands first thing in the morning, in time to witness the inflation of the hot air balloons. Times vary seasonally to correspond with the sunrise. Experience the fun and unique sensation of a hot air balloon ride over the Atherton Tablelands, Australia. Enjoy the picturesque landscape at sunrise with a full flight experience.  Soar over the patchwork panorama below. Watch out for the variety of Australian birdlife and take in the peace and serenity that is hot air ballooning. This is a self drive meet at Mareeba option, this tour does not include return transfers from Port Douglas

Top sights in Atherton Tablelands

Frequently asked questions about Atherton Tablelands

What top attractions are a must-see in Atherton Tablelands?

The must-see attractions in Atherton Tablelands are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Atherton Tablelands

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What people are saying about Atherton Tablelands

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 611 reviews

We found the Herberton Historical Village very enjoyable. It was beautifully displayed & you almost felt that you could have been in the same era. The demonstrations where amazing & were open to questions no problems. The attention to detail is phenomenal & you can feel the love that has been given in order to give to all the Customers/Tourists the experience that would be expected so when you leave you have a fabulous memory. We would not hesitate to recommend this Village to anyone & sorry that we could not spend more time checking this Historical Village out.

My husband and I contemplated about spending big dollars to go on day tours while in Port Douglas..instead of driving around ourselves. Well it was well worth every cent! We sat back and relaxed while being taken to unexpected places, some that were only accessible by the tour companies best decision ever, we went on three while visiting Port Douglas. Chris 1 on our Atherton Tablelands Food and Wine Tasting one was the best.

The pick up was on time but wasn't informed about the location of my pick up, I had to call the operators for the location. The guide covered all the important places and the lunch was too good

Great day with plenty of spectacular scenery and plenty off swimming holes beneath waterfalls Driver/Guide excellent and also a great meal at the pub

Awesome trip! Andy took us to some beautiful spots and kept everyone happy and cheerful.