The Tablelands form part of the Great Dividing Range, Australia’s mighty mountain range that stretches for more than 3,500 kilometres (a little too far for most of us to walk). Due to its elevated position the temperature is perfect for dairy farming. Once covered by rainforest, now a lot of its natural splendour is protected by national parks. Prospector James Venture Mulligan first explored the region while searching for gold and tin in 1875, but it was named after John Atherton, a pioneer grazier who formed the town of Herberton along with Mulligan and John Newell. Just think – it could have been called the Mulligan Tablelands.
Stay in the town of Atherton for a number of interesting attractions. The Crystal Caves are an underground fairy-tale trip through a private collection of minerals and the world’s biggest amethyst geode. You can check out the Tablelands Regional Gallery, browse quirky local shops or visit Hou Wang Temple, the former place of worship for Atherton’s Chinese community and now a Chinese museum. Mareeba is another large town in the area, known for its assortment of crops, from avocados to lychees and much more tasty produce. Kuranda is known as ’the village in the rainforest’ and offers guests the chance to walk through the bush or enjoy a bird’s-eye view from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Three-and-a-half kilometres away you’ll discover Barron Gorge National Park, where during wetter months the river plunges over Barron Gorge and cascades into the lowlands. It’s a spectacular sight!
There are plenty of other towns and areas to explore too. Chillagoe is an authentic outback town with limestone caves and historic cabins. Yungaburra has old-fashioned shopfronts, some featuring architecture from 1910. Herberton and Irvinebark feature historical villages and bushwalks. Canecutter Way offers swimming and picnics - not to mention the coffee and wine. Mareeba is the caffeine capital of the Tablelands with Australia’s oldest coffee plantation featuring an on-site cafe and tours. Golden Drop Winery is a family-owned winery just outside Mareeba with a glorious range to sample. Then there’s Murdering Point Winery at Silkwood and de Breuys Boutique Wines at Mareeba. Excellent! There’s also kayaking, hot air balloon riding and wildlife tours to add to the adventure of it all. The Atherton Tablelands is an exciting destination with a friendly culture, making it the perfect escape from the daily grind (unless it’s coffee you’re looking to grind!). So book your Atherton Tablelands hotel with us and let the experience begin!
Hotels in Atherton Tablelands start at AU$120 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.