Atherton Tablelands - The Inland Beauty of North Queensland

Queensland's Atherton Tablelands are part of the Great Dividing Range that is located inland from the coastal hub of Cairns. It covers a total expanse of 32,000 square kilometres; land of which is comprised of mountainous terrain and magnificent plateaus.

The tablelands are positioned around the lovely country town of Atherton. This is a town in which you can enjoy urban pleasures like interesting shops, unique art galleries, and charming country cafes, while still being able to soak up stunning natural surrounds.

Beyond the township, the Atherton Tablelands are identifiable by their varying landscapes of extinct volcanoes, crater lakes, rich rainforests and striking National Parks. The tablelands are also home to a wealth of attractions that will be fun to explore for the whole family.

Begin your adventures in the town of Atherton at the Crystal Caves by donning a miner's helmet and venturing underground into a man-made cave system. Explore this fascinating world of gemstones and fossils that jut out of the walls and leave visitors awe struck.

From here, get back out in the sunlight and embark on a hike to the Halloran's Hill Lookout. This track will take you past an extinct volcano, miniature waterfalls, rock pools and pristine rainforest. The views at the top will reward you with scenic vistas over the Atherton Tablelands, with highlights of the view including Lake Tinaroo and the Seven Sisters.

After viewing it all from afar, it will be hard to resist the urge to see it all up close. The lakes are a great place to start, and several can be found within half an hour of Atherton. Lake Tinaroo is a large, spectacular lake that is perfect for camping, boating, fishing and water skiing. Lake Eacham is located just nearby and is a sublime crater lake that offers great bush walking and bird watching opportunities. Just a further 4 kilometres up the road you will find Lake Barrine; a blue crater lake that will no doubt take your breath away with its stunning beauty.

Continue your exploration of nature with a visit to the Curtain Fig Tree. This is one of the largest of its kind in Tropical North Queensland and is one of the best known attractions in the Atherton Tablelands. Located just outside of Yungaburra, the tree is located on a short walk that is suitable for all fitness levels.

More of nature's wonders can be found at the Undara Volcanic National Park; a park notable for its lava tubes and gem fossicking. This area is known for minerals like topaz, moonstone, peridot, aquamarine, garnet, quartz and gold. It is also home to an impressive 164 volcanoes, vents and cones, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in the fascinating way these monsters of Mother Nature work.

The Atherton Tablelands truly are a blend of the best attractions of the wet tropics and the dry outback charm of North Queensland. Boasting a seemingly endless display of rainforests, National Parks, mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and rich agricultural landscapes, the possibilities for a holiday in the Atherton Tablelands are endless.

Christine Barton

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