Are you ready to get lost in a rainforest? Not literally, but in the sense of fully entrenching one's self in an authentic tropical reality. Approximately over an hour south-west of Cairns, you'll find the illustrious Atherton Tablelands – where you're in for a tropical adventure. If you've never experienced the tropical highlands of Queensland, you're in for a unique experience. All we advise is that you prepare for some intense rainfall at times, the weather can be tumultuous.
Many aspects of the Atherton Tablelands will leave you in awe, and you certainly need at least a week to engulf every wonder. If you're a wildlife lover, make the time to seek out the vast population of animals in the vicinity. Wildlife and bird watching is popular for those living in the Atherton Tablelands, which means tourists also have the opportunity to undertake this activity.
Water is the key to Atherton Tablelands Caravanning – and we don't mean the ocean. Instead, the weather is one aspect, the wetlands and waterways. At every corner, you'll find waterfalls, lakes, and water based activities.
Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve
Pickford Road, Biboohra (Visitors Centre)
A glaring highlight of the Atherton Tablelands is the expansive Mareeba Wetlands (the common name utilised through the community) – the primary way to indulge in nature. This reserve brings together a community and tourists. Without the tireless work of the community, the reserve wouldn't be in the pristine condition that mesmerises so many.
The Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve is run directly as a community conservation project. With the assistance of a dedicated not-for-profit organisation, the Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland, and the tourism income, this reserve functions seamlessly. You'll be entirely grateful to all those involved in conserving this utterly beautiful fragment of Australia.
So how exactly do you experience the Mareeba Wetlands? Well, there are a few tours available, and opportunities for fly fishing, canoeing, birdwatching and more. At the Jabiru Safari Lodge, you can enjoy a day trip inside their open safari vehicle, allowing you a relaxing glimpse through the reserve.
Wildlife you may see…
- ✓ Wallabies
- ✓ Emus
- ✓ Kangaroos
- ✓ Wild Pigs
- ✓ Sarus Cranes
- ✓ Brolgas and more!
You can undergo similar activities within the reserve park, organised through the Jabiru Safari Lodge.
142 Pickford Road, Biboohra (Jabiru Safari Lodge)
6 Broadway St, Herberton
A slice of history is satisfying when exploring a new area of Australia, but when you're Atherton Tablelands caravanning, you can take history to the next level. Just past the Wongabel State Forest, and 16 minutes from Atherton, lies a gateway to another era. If you're from Victoria, the concept is similar to Sovereign Hill (Ballarat). With restored buildings, antiques, and classic food options. You could easily spend an entire day walking through the village, but you can determine this upon arrival.
You'll also find there is a mix of visitors, as the village has something for everyone. Learning about history couldn't be any more fascinating for the young ones, and returning to a past lifetime is incredibly nostalgic for the older visitors.
A trip back to the past is an adventure in itself, but in the Atherton Tablelands, it's only one of the various ways to spend your day.
Danbulla Road, Tinaroo
A lake of beauty and tranquillity – yet unnatural at its core. Lake Tinaroo is found aligned to the Danbulla National Park and is a great spot for relaxation. With a capacity of 3,500 hectares, there is endless potential within this man-made lake. It's soul purpose is for an irrigation scheme for Mareeba-Dimbulah, but the attraction of the dam is purely an additional element. Here you can sail, water-ski, swim, fish, or undertake some walking.
It's a hot spot for everyone visiting the Atherton Tablelands – and you should certainly find out why.
Here are some of the campgrounds surrounding Lake Tinaroo:
- ✓ Fong-On Campground (Fong-On Bay Access Road)
- ✓ Downfall Creek Campground (Danbulla Road)
- ✓ Kauri Creek Campground (Kauri Creek Access Road)
- ✓ School Point Campground (School Point Access Road)
- ✓ Platypus Campground (Platypus Creek Camp Access Road)
Places To Eat
Finding a place to eat in the Atherton Tablelands region is a pleasure unto itself. Surrounding towns and the immediate area will serve dishes best served with a glass of wine. Or without wine, but the wine is quite a centrepiece of the area. Amongst the tropical delight of West Cairns, a bite to eat is more than just sustenance.
Gillies Highway, Yungaburra
Fancy a scone?
If you're looking for the best scones in the area, and baked goods, take the time to ingest the historical charm of the Lake Barrine Teahouse. As you look onto the stunning Lake Barrine, you will be transported back into a timeless century of scones and tea. Made from local produce, all food is fresh and wholesome, with the team at the Lake Barrine Teahouse strictly dedicated to their art/creations. History is an intriguing aspect of life, and this 80-year-old teahouse is the epitome of heritage delight.
33 Gillies Highway, Yungaburra
If you're searching for an exciting atmosphere and night out, plus an extensive menu, find the route to Nick's Swiss Italian Resturant. There's a definite buzz surrounding this eatery, not too mention the awards that solidify the high-quality menu. It's no secret that we all love the comfort of Italian food, but is the carb loaded menu suitable for the tropical humidity of the Atherton Tablelands? That answer, yes.
We can guarantee you won't find a lookalike of this humble eatery anywhere in Australia. Owner Nick livens up the restaurant at every opportunity (with his accordion and music) – and that's the sort of spirit we can all appreciate. You can't delve into Atherton Tablelands caravanning without trying the food and festivities of this cosy abode.
Check out Nick's 25 Year Anniversary video – it depicts the character of the restaurant with pinpoint accuracy.
Super Star Cafe
25 Main Street, Atherton
When you're looking for an affordable, presentable, and quick bite to eat, stop by the Super Star Cafe. Although Atherton isn't exactly bustling with eateries, this quaint cafe offers what you need, when you need it. Coffee is also essential for many travellers and this could be the coffee haven you desperate seek.
Places To Stay
Atherton Tablelands caravanning delivers wide-ranging opportunity – including where you stay. With so many small towns encompassing the area, your caravan will find its temporary home.
141 Atherton -Herberton Rd, Atherton
Big 4 is a major tourist park chain – which is great to know if you're looking for extensive information and standard facilities. If you set up your caravan in this tourist park, be prepared for a variety of friends. Not only does this tourist park offer caravanning options, but also accommodation for non-caravanners.
- ✓ Powered and Unpowered Sites
- ✓ Internet Kiosk
- ✓ Hairdryers
- ✓ Laundry
64-72 Mountain View Drive
Located amongst some of the best attractions in the Atherton Tablelands, is the Atherton Holiday Park. Natural beauty is right in front of you, and all around, the perfect way to settle in amongst nature. With a tropical environment surrounding your caravan, you can't escape the blessings of Northern Queensland – not that you'll desire an escape.
- ✓ Powered and Unpowered Sites and Ensuite Sites
- ✓ Undercover BBQ Area
- ✓ Saltwater Swimming Pool
- ✓ Free Wifi
- ✓ Pet's Allowed
- ✓ Rural Views
152 Robert St, Atherton
Only minutes away from two gorgeous park areas (Hallorans Hill Regional Park & Rotoract Park) and set on 6.5 acres of land, this could be the right base for your caravan adventure.
- ✓ Drive Through Powered Sites
- ✓ Undercover Gas BBQ
- ✓ Kiosk/Tour Booking
- ✓ Saltwater In-Ground Swimming Pool
- ✓ Laundry Facilities
- ✓ Seniors Card Discounts
- ✓ Camp Kitchen
- ✓ Gas Refills