Cairns Highlands/Atherton Tablelands

The cool, elevated green and brown mountains behind Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef are part rainforest, part outback, and 100% Australia. The hospitality of the locals, the dramatic beauty of the ever-changing landscape, the captivating wildlife and the spirit of this place will stay in your heart long after you return home.

There is so much to see and do here, so plan to spend one or two weeks discovering all there is to explore in these fascinating tropical plateaux. The Cairns Highlands covers an area extending from the villages of Julatten and Kuranda in the north, to the outback town of Chillagoe in the west and south to Ravenshoe and Mt Garnet. It is made up of the Evelyn, Hann and Atherton Tablelands, hence its local name of the Tablelands.

The region’s past is firmly entrenched in the goldfields discovered in the 1800’s; you’ll hear the names of the Palmer and the Hodgkinson repeated often if you delve into the area’s history. In time, tin and other ores were found too. The olden day smelters and stamping batterys are still preserved in many regions.
The people, like those who live in the region today, were fond of the land, the Australian bush and its creatures, and enjoyed a mateship (a special friendship or bond) which forms both our folklore and the character of modern Australians.

The plateaux were shaped by the area’s volcanic past. Caves and cones, lava tubes and basalt peaks are features of a landscape of undulating lush mountains, green valleys, sparkling lakes and streams, spectacular waterfalls, endless plains, grassy savannahs and pockets of relict rainforest. The altitude varies from 400 – 1100 meters above sea level and the climate is pleasantly tropical without the humidity often present at the coast.

Today, the people who choose to live here are united by their strong sense of community, culture and heritage, their love of nature and the region’s abundant wildlife, and an appreciation of the special quality of life they share.

Acknowledgement: Discover – a Tropical Tableland Tourism publication