Leaving Port Douglas we once again drove the winding roads of the Great Dividing Range. Due to the altitude the climate in the Atherton Tablelands is slightly cooler than the somewhat uncomfortable humidity levels we’d endured over the past weeks and we welcomed the change.
After some slight mis-direction by the sat-nav we arrived at the caravan park at Lake Tinaroo. There is camping in the nearby Danbulla National Park, but unfortunately it was booked out for the dates we wanted. It turned out to be a great spot to stay and we spent a few days exploring the area.
Lake Eacham is a popular swimming hole. The lake was created hundreds of thousands of years ago following volcanic eruption leaving a crater that filled with water. Surrounding the lake is dense rainforest. We walked the 4km trail that follows the circumference of the lake, spotting the occasional turtle along the way.
Danubulla National Park
We took the scenic drive through the Danbulla National Park, stopping at ‘The Chimneys’ picnic area. The chimneys are the only remains of settlement in the area. We also stopped to do the very peaceful short Mobo Creek Crater Walk.
The Cathedral Fig
The Cathedral Fig is a mosterous 500 year old strangler fig. There is a short easy walk from the car park and then a stroll on a boardwalk to circumnavigate the fig.
Lake Barrine, like Lake Eacham is a crater lake. It was late morning so we stopped so morning tea at the Lake Barrine Tea House seemed like a good idea. We found a table on the deck overlooking the lake and had some awesome tea and scones.
The Curtain Fig
This is another huge strangler fig. When the host tree fell the strangler fig sent roots down to the ground all along the length of the tree, resembling a drawn curtain.
There are many waterfalls in this region, we only visited a few.
The Malanda falls have been converted into a public swimming pool, complete with ladders to get in and out. The surrounding area looked inviting although it was a little too chilly for use to take a dip when we visited.
The well known waterall circuit includes Millaa Millaa, Zillie and Ellinjaa waterfalls. All the wateralls are easily accessible from the car park except Zillie. We viewed Zillie from lookout platform at the top. There was a small narrow overgrown path that trailed into the bush. We started down it, but when we found a fallen tree blocking our way we turned back. We’ve since found out that there is a spectacular view of the whole fall from the bottom of the trail – so don’t wimp out like we did, persevere to the bottom!
We actually visited Josephine Falls as we were leaving the tablelands and heading further south as they were a little out of our way. However they are well worth the effort to get to. Although it is a little bit of a walk from the car park it is a paved pathway to the beautiful wide swimming holes created by the three tier falls.
There is a fairly easy walking trail (about 2km) that takes in both the Dinner Falls and the amazing Hypipamee Crater. The crater is 70m across with sheer granite walls. The water surface is covered by a green waterweed and is 58m below the viewing platform and is an astonishing 70m deep.
We had a wander around the picturesque town of Yungaburra. This quirky town is full of arts and crafts shops and galleries which we enjoyed browsing. We also got some award winning steak from the local butcher which was dee-lish.
Although we stayed in the tablelands, you could see a lot on a day trip from Cairns.