Allow yourself time to enjoy the Atherton Tablelands as there is so much to offer the self-drive traveller.
The Atherton Tablelands is a blend of the best attractions of the tropics; a combination of nature and lifestyle at its finest.
Among the World Heritage listed rainforests, national parks, mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls are some of Australia’s richest agricultural lands and charming small townships.
The farm and grazing lands are “the food bowl” of the northern tropics – yielding a constant supply of fruit, vegetables and grains to local and export markets.
The region is famous for spectacular waterfalls, tropical rainforests, world-class mountain bike trails, outback escarpments, agriculture and gourmet produce and the ideal holiday destination.
The picturesque mountain retreat of Kuranda Village is just 25km northwest of Cairns and attracts visitors from all over the world who enjoy its superb wildlife attractions, walking trails, river cruises, souvenir shopping and artists’ galleries.
Initially people came to admire the mighty 125m Barron Falls, while artisans were attracted to the region’s natural beauty and decided to call it home, creating a vibrant arts and craft culture.
A multi-cultural district rich in wildlife, museums, coffee and wine, with clear blue skies perfect for flying, Mareeba has a rich history going back to the gold mining days.
Couple that with a strong sense of community that hosts a Multi-Cultural Festival each August and embraces traditional outback sports such as the famous Mareeba Rodeo and The Great Wheelbarrow Race and you have a fun, vibrant and thriving stop off point.
The region is a magnet for self–drive visitors, and a popular destination for Grey Nomads who enjoy Mareeba as a base to explore the Atherton Tablelands. It’s also a gateway to Cape York and Gulf destinations.
Alternate Savannah Way Route: via Chillagoe
Travel via Chillagoe for an additional experience with unsealed roads. A former mining centre, Chillagoe is renowned for its marble, Australia’s finest, and limestone caves that have regular tours. Check your map for access via Mareeba and Dimbulah to the east or on the Ootan Road to the south which rejoins The Savannah Way 13 km east of Mount Surprise.
Atherton is on the Kennedy Highway and the town centre includes a comprehensive shopping centre, showgrounds, hospital and Olympic size swimming pool.
Atherton is fast becoming the ultimate cycling destination with the growing popularity of the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park, a network of world-class, purpose-built, single-track mountain bike trails located in the Herberton Range State Forest and easy access from Atherton’s CBD.
From its beginnings as a timber workers camp and staging post between the tin mines and the coast, Atherton has blossomed like its trademark jacaranda trees.
Ravenshoe, pronounced Ravens-hoe, is the highest town in Queensland at 920m above sea level. It has a population is about 1000 people in the township and many more in the surrounding area.
Situated on top of the Great Dividing Range, Ravenshoe sits between the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforests to the east and the drier, open forests of the Gulf Savannah to the west. Ravenshoe is surrounded by natural wonders like Millstream Falls and Lake Koombooloomba.
Ravenshoe is the highest point of the Misty Mountains walking tracks network, and is a great location for wildlife watching, particularly for platypus, 12 species of possums, 340 bird species and of course, Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo – which is just one of 14 species of kangaroo to be found in the area.
Mount Garnet is a small town on the Savannah Way and attracts gold fossickers and gem collectors. Originally founded on the discovery of copper and garnets in 1882, mining operations continued until the early 1900s when the Mount Garnet Freehold Copper and Silver Mining Company closed. The town languished until tin mining began in 1928 and several cattle stations and farms were settled. Today zinc, copper, lead, silver and lime are mined in the area.