So you’ve been chilling out in Cairns for a while, and you want to see what the Atherton Tablelands are all about. You keep looking up tour providers and they are all LAME. So what do you do? Well you source a car (beg, borrow or steal… I mean rent) and follow this amazing day trip guide!
Stop 1: Walshs Pyramid Instagram Spot
Now I won’t tell you to climb the damn mountain, cos ain’t nobody got time for that, but I will tell you to get a picture of it. With a summit of 922m and a pretty unique shape, it’s the perfect way to start your day trip. You’ve got a big day ahead, so make sure you start early – you could even catch this baby at sunrise!
Stop 2: Babinda Boulders
Who knew a bunch of partially submerged rocks would be so popular? These smooth rocks coupled with the cool, clear running fresh water make it a delight to cool off in the hot tropical weather. Be careful of those smooth rocks though – they can be a little slippery!
Stop 3: Josephine Falls
Did someone say slippery rocks?! This rock is just one big slippery slide! Bring your floaty, a mat or just use your bare bottom to ride the cascading waterfall into the lagoon below. Lucky you started your day early, because this spot can get pretty busy, and lining up is the worst. Josephine Falls is ranked as one of the most beautiful in tropical north Queensland!
Stop 4: Millaa Millaa Falls (we’ve made it to Atherton Tablelands!)
Okay we’ve actually hit the Atherton Tablelands now! Woohoo! Millaa Millaa Falls is an heritage listed plunge waterfall surrounded by lush green rainforest. “Well duh Monique”, I hear you say, “I can see that from the picture”. Here’s something you might not realise; this waterfall is FAMOUS. Peter Andre’s music video for Mysterious Girl was filmed here, AND the Herbal Essence (shampoo) advert was filmed here. So make sure you listen to some Peter Andre whilst capturing your perfected hair flip.
Protip: if you’re not sick of waterfalls yet, Millaa Millaa is part of a waterfall circuit! Follow that for 2 more waterfalls!
Stop 5: Malanda Falls
Now this waterfall isn’t so much to look at, but let me finish. A PLATYPUS LIVES IN THE WATERHOLE BENEATH THE FALLS. So if you want pretty much guaranteed sightings of a platypus, go here. And THAT boys and girls, is why Malanda Falls makes the list. What I can’t guarantee is a good photo (sit still damn platypus, how dare you swim).
Stop 6: Curtain Fig Tree
Another heritage listed item here in the Atherton Tablelands, This strangler fig will amaze you! A deadly beauty, the strangler fig will germinate on top of another tree and vigorously grow around it, until the host tree succumbs and dies. This particular tree attached to a second host, tilting the first, creating a beautiful curtain of roots, reaching towards the ground – giving it the name Curtain Fig Tree.
Stop 7: Gallo Dairyland
Alright, alright – I hear you. You’re hungry. It’s past lunchtime. Well if you’re anything like me, local produce is what you want, and if that local produce is cheese and wine, then so much the better. Gallo Dairy lets you taste the cheese before you choose which ones you want on your platter, and if your eyes are too big for your belly they give you a container to take the leftovers home. You can also check out the milking process there, and if you want more cheese, Atherton Tablelands has plenty of options – couldn’t you tell by all the cows everywhere?!
Stop 8: The Humpy
“More local produce!” you say? Ok! The Humpy houses local fruit, vegetables and other unique produce to take with you back to Cairns. There’s even some treats that you can take on the plane home with you! Matt and I got some beef jerky and passionfruits. Absolutely glorious!
Stop 9: Mt Uncle Distillery
Talking about heading back to Cairns, you might want some of that hard stuff to take back with you. Wet your whistle with a tasting at Mt Uncle Distillery. Matt and I shared one tasting and it was more than enough (because don’t forget, you’re driving). On the menu there are gins, rums, vodkas…. a variety! Our favourites were the delicious Navy Strength gin and Marshmallow Vodka.
Pro tip: there are farm animals there too! Get petting!
Now it’s time to head back to Cairns with all your goodies. Did you have a good day? What was your favourite part? Mine was the donkey. If you want to see more of the Atherton Tablelands, why not check it out from above?