Tablelands Explorer

Tablelands Explorer

Discover history, culture and nature. This day trip from Cairns combines culture, geography and history, taking in some of the region’s most diverse and spectacular landscapes and ecosystems, as well as exploring the Atherton Tablelands’ rich Aboriginal culture and pioneering and settler history.
Highlights of this tour:
Breathtaking panoramic views across the Atherton Tablelands to Queensland’s highest peaks, visits to the Danbulla State Forest, Gadgarra and Crater Lakes National Parks, lovely Lake Barrine, historic Yungaburra, Herberton Historic Village and spectacular Millaa Millaa Falls.

Included in this tour:

All transport, exclusive small group (limited to 6 guests)
Entry to National Parks
Morning tea
Lake Barrine Cruise
Entry to the Herberton Historic Village
Afternoon gourmet snack
Price p/p: $265.00 BOOK NOW

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How the day will unfold:

Pick up from your accommodation for 7.00am departure from Cairns.
We travel up the Gillies Range, famous for its 263 corners and panoramic views.

Rainforest and Wildlife

Our first destination is a spectacular introduction to the upland rainforest ecosystems of the Wet Tropics. We may be lucky enough to spot native wildlife such as small mammals and some of the many bird species that share this rich habitat.

A Birds Eye View

Weather permitting we’ll take a short adventure down a beautiful rainforest track for incredible views across the region and get a feel for the dynamic geological forces that have shaped the area, which includes Queensland’s highest mountain peaks. We’ll also find out about the local Aboriginal clans and their culture, and the difficulties that they faced when European settlers came to the region.

Crater Lakes National Park

The Crater Lakes National Park comprises two separate sections—Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham. Cool rainforest surrounds both clear, blue crater lakes. We’ll take a relaxing cruise on Lake Barrine for a close-up view of the world heritage rainforest ecosystem and an insight into the area’s wartime and settler history.

Lake Barrine Cruise and Devonshire Tea

Lake Barrine Teahouse is renowned for its Devonshire teas, with scones made to a secret recipe going back four generations. There’s also a selection of homemade cakes, all served with locally grown tea and coffee. Over morning tea we’ll find out more about the Curry family, who are custodians of this special place, and explore some of the period features of this lovely example of 1930s ‘Queenslander’ architecture.

 Yungaburra, Heritage Village 

Back in the comfort of our 4×4 for the short trip to Yungaburra, which has existed largely unchanged since 1910, and a tour of the old town, with the highest proportion of heritage listed buildings outside regional centres in Queensland.

Atherton Tablelands

From Yungaburra, we’ll traverse rolling farming landscapes to historic Atherton. We’ll get a unique perspective on the Tableland’s geology that formed the rich, red, volcanic soils that support much of the region’s agriculture, as well as the feat of engineering that in the 1960s saw Tinaroo Falls Dam built to supply water for the Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Area.
Heading west from Atherton, we’ll travel through peaceful grazing lands, passing the Hou Wang Temple, site of the original Atherton Chinatown, to Herberton, the Tablelands’ oldest town, which was founded in 1880 after rich tin deposits were discovered in the area.

The Historic Village Herberton

The Historic Village Herberton is an outdoor museum presenting the story of Australia’s pioneering past, with a particular focus on Herberton, and paying homage to the tin mining era, through collections of turn of the century machinery and small engines, transport, fashion and pharmaceuticals, as well as motor vehicles and war memorabilia. Priceless collections from grocery items and tobacco to treasured dolls and toys also feature in the museum, which has more than fifty restored period buildings, including Elderslie House, the original home of John Newell, founder of Herberton. The 130-year old home is a superb example of late colonial period ‘Queenslander’ architecture, and houses a stunning collection of period domestic items, ceramics and fashions.

Lunch at the Bakerville Hotel

We’ll also enjoy a scrumptious lunch onsite in the Bakerville Tearooms, housed in the old Bakerville Pub, which was moved to the Village in three sections in 1990. Look out for one of the pub’s original licensees, Albertina Allen, who some believe haunts the Village, and is occasionally seen on the Tearooms verandah.
Back on the road, and emerging briefly into the present, we’ll head through Herberton town, which has a number of heritage-listed sites. We’ll also pass through a variety of different habitats on our way to Ravenshoe.
The traditional owners of the land in the Ravenshoe district are the Jirrbal people. We’ll find out more about their traditions and stories. The area’s main industry was timber until the surrounding rainforest areas were world heritage listed in 1987.

When the cows come home

After a short comfort stop, we’ll take a scenic drive through dairy farms and high-altitude remnant rainforest bordering the Misty Mountains wilderness area, with crystal clear creeks and panoramic views over the green countryside. At this time of day we may have to give way to cows ambling across the road to the dairy for afternoon milking.

A gourmet snack with a view

This spectacular leg of our journey will end at Millaa Millaa, once centre of a busy dairy industry, with its own cheese factory. We’ll make the short drive down to iconic Millaa Millaa Falls. Here you’ll enjoy a gourmet snack featuring local produce.

A panoramic return

 Our return journey to Cairns will take us down the Palmerston Highway, with amazing views of Bartle Frere and the surrounding valleys. We’ll head north through banana farms along the Bruce Highway, arriving in Cairns around 6pm.