Thursday, January 17, 2008

Atherton Tablelands: Day Trip From Cairns

Cairns has a geographical location that other tourist cities would die for. It is in the tropics, but without the intense heat, humidity and dust of many other tropical locations, or the sapping dryness of the Outback. While it has seas, reefs, hills and forests, it is ideally located for day trips to dozens of nearby places. Atherton Tablelands, located just 48 kilometers from Cairns, is situated at an average height of 3280 feet (1 km) and is one of UNESCO’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas. Recently, the tourist associations started using the term Cairns Highland for Atherton Tablelands to draw a comparison to just how close they are to Cairns â€" bear in mind they are one and the same thing. Much inland, and at a sufficient height, Atherton Tablelands enjoys a cool climate that some call “naturally air-conditioned”. With 1400 mm of annual rainfall, it is just right for the abundant tropical flora. The spring-fed crater lakes within Atherton Tablelands remain filled even during droughts, making them favorite swimming holes for tourists and locals alike, far and wide. Atherton Tablelands is ideal for trekking, mountain biking, sightseeing and other activities. The area is divided into many regions; among them Kuranda, Mareeba, Tolqa, Atherton, Yungaburra, Lake Tinaroo, Lake Eacham, Lake Barrine, Malanda, Herberton and others. There are an impressively large number of activities waiting for you at the Tablelands. You can go on a wine tour at the Golden Pride Mango Winery, or (if you’re lucky, quiet, and arrive at the right time of day â€" early morning is always a good time) - view platypus â€" the semi-aquatic duckbill look-alike egg-laying mammal â€" at the Peterson Creek at Yungaburra. You might try fishing at Lake Tinaroo for Barramundi, black bream or red-claw yabbies. Tinaroo is also the location for water-skiing, windsurfing, canoeing and sailing. You can go bushwalking, and there are many famous bushwalking tracks, among them being Tinaroo Dam hike, Lake Barrine walk, Lake Eacham walk or the Kauri Creek walk. The Tablelands is a prized home to more than 300 species of birds, and so it is a great venue for all birdwatchers. You can see the giant cassowaries, whistling-ducks, Magpie geese, Sarus cranes, broglas and other birds. The Danbulla Forest Drive, around Lake Tinaroo takes you through breathtaking forest views, picnic spots, camping sites and swimming holes. Talking of swimming, the whole of the Tablelands is full of creeks, holes and lakes, and you can literally take a dip anywhere with enough water to cover you. It is also the Tablelands that plays host to one of the most magnificent creations of natural history â€" the Curtain Fig Tree, a huge curtain of strangler vine on a leaning fig tree. The gentle Malanda Falls on the road leading to Malanda, is a nice spot for swimming and family picnics. Then you can witness the Waterfall circuit, including the Milla milla, Zillie and Elinjaa falls. Of course, the lakes â€" Tinaroo, Eacham and Barrine â€" are picturesque sites by themselves, and are ideal for both relaxed family outings and adventure activities. Atherton Highlands have been populated by local Aborigines for thousands of yeas; but European settlement was inspired by tin and gold deposits, and heavy lumbering. The tin and the gold have disappeared, and the tropical forests have come back to claim much of the once bare space. Much of the area is still under cultivation while sugarcane, corn, maize, tobacco, strawberries, chicken and cattle products still remain plentiful products. Many of these are available at local and weekend markets of which there are many: the Atherton market, Herberton market, Innot Hot Springs market, Kairi Market, Kuranda market, Malanda Lions market, Mareeba market and others. Disclaimer We take no responsibility for inaccuracy or omissions in the information provided, which is not intended as specific advice. Before relying on the material, you should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to your individual circumstances to evaluate accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance of the information to your specific needs. Produced by the team at - a group of travel and technology industry professionals promoting unique Australian tourism and travel products produced this article on behalf of

No comments: