Atherton Tablelands, Waterfalls and crater lakes

  • Location 18.0903°S, 145.3143°E
  • Population: 25541 (2018)
  • Elevation:752 m
  • Area: 11,293 klm²
  • Postcode: 4883

Where are the Atherton Tablelands?

Atherton Tablelands is around 260 kilometres west of Cairns and 1662 kilometres north of Brisbane.

An area of rainforest, marsh, and grassland are known as the Atherton Tablelands begins immediately south of Cairns and rises more than 700 metres above sea level.  Chillagoe’s limestone caverns and neighbouring volcanic crater lakes result from millennia of erosion from an ancient coral Reef.


Here you can see various fauna, such as colourful frogs and the elusive platypus.  The Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo in a few sites in the country.  327 of the 430 bird species in the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics region in the Tablelands.  It is possible to view golden bowerbirds, king parrots, honeyeaters, red rosellas and masked owls when you look up at the skyline.


The Atherton Tablelands is a veritable food bowl thanks to their basalt soil, ample rainfall, and abundant sunshine.  The Atherton Tablelands farmers grow an abundance of tropical fruits like mangos, limes, and bananas.

Visit the Yungaburra Markets or the Shaylee Strawberry Farm to select your berries and taste the goodness for yourself.  Also, there are numerous roadside booths where you may purchase fresh vegetables; place your money in the honesty box).

Coffee and Gin

As one of Australia’s two largest coffee-growing regions, the Atherton Tablelands is a great place to enjoy an espresso that’s as good as you’ll get in a Melbourne cafe.  Walk through the plantation at Skybury Coffee and try their award-winning Arabica blends while you’re there.  Stop in at the Mt Uncle Distillery, which uses Australian botanicals to produce award-winning gin.


Mountain bikers may enjoy nearly 60 kilometres of purpose-built routes at the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park.  The Lamb Range near Mareeba is home to the Davies Creek Mountain Bike Park, a network of flow routes.  Take a kayak ride across Lake Barrine, dive into the crystal clear waters of Lake Eacham, or cast a line for barramundi in Lake Tinaroo while vacationing in the Australian Outback.

Climb the mountains and explore the wilderness.

There’s more to this place than just cuisine.  Crater Lakes National Park’s short trek or Wooroonooran’s challenging Misty Mountains offer bushwalking and hiking opportunities through lush rainforest.
The largest and oldest farmers’ market in Yungaburra is held every month on the fourth Saturday.  Make sure to stock up on local veggies and eat at a farm gate.

You’ll find a remarkable Chinese temple on Atherton’s outskirts, built-in 1903.  Only one of its kind outside of China, the Hou Wang Temple was built during a brief gold rush by a significant influx of people to the area.

Bartle Frere, Queensland’s tallest mountain, is located on the Atherton Tablelands.  Those who brave the 15-mile trek to the peak with breathtaking vistas of Cairns and the Coral Sea.


Explore the 100-kilometre Waterfall Circuit, starting in Cairns, which features several stunning waterfalls ideal for a dip.  Along the way, visit Lake Barrine and Millaa Millaa Falls.Zillie Falls, and Ellinjaa Falls,


Atherton Tablelands Weather

The mild climate and comfortable temperatures make the Tablelands a desirable year-round holiday destination.

Free from the coastal humidity, temperatures range from 5 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius.

This region’s annual rainfall of 1387 mm (54.6 inches) makes it an ideal place to grow food.

 Where to stay

Unique accommodations dot this magnificent scenery, and quaint Beds and Breakfasts with reasonable prices are popular with international and domestic visitors.

A few good hints

Along the way, visit the Whistlestop Cafe in Yungaburra.  This group of ladies inject love and fun into their meals and treats.

Next, visit the Skybury Coffee Plantation just outside of Mareeba.  Here you can also buy delicious red Papaya and coffee beans.

Nearby you will also find Granite Gorge.  Stop by for a refreshing swim and to see Mareeba Rock Wallabies.

The Atherton Tablelands has something for everyone.  

Next, visit

During your stay, there are great local markets to explore every weekend.