Atherton Tablelands Holidays Guide

Queensland, Australia

atherton tablelands holiday and accomodation guide

The Atherton tablelands, also known as the Cairns Highlands, contain the charming mountain village of Kuranda, which is a popular day tour from Cairns. Further afield, there are rainforests, crater lakes, waterfalls and historic towns to explore.

Atherton Tablelands Highlights

Atherton Tablelands Holidays Planner

The historic Kuranda Scenic Railway departs from Cairns and chugs its way up the steep zigzag incline through the rainforest, with majestic views back over the lowlands and the reef. Or for a bird's eye view of the rainforest, take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and stop off at the rainforest interpretive centre. On arrival in Kuranda stroll the quaint tree-lined streets of the town and visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. The Kuranda Heritage Markets are a popular spot with hand-made arts and crafts available. There’s also a large market held on Saturdays.

The region has tranquil rainforest and some amazing ancient trees in the 'Land of the Giants'. Incredibly, some of these trees have circumferences of more than 40 metres. Millaa Millaa Falls is a popular swimming spot, with a 3km circuit walk leading to further small falls and there are a handful of volcanic crater lakes to enjoy a cool dip in. There's elusive wildlife to spot including Bearded Dragons and Snapper Turtle around the lakes and The Atherton region is likely to be your best chance of spotting the rare Ulysses Butterfly in the forest, or the reclusive platypus paddling in the shallow streams – for both you'll need to be up at dawn or patiently waiting at dusk.

Away from the rainforest areas, Atherton is a mainly rural region, with rolling green hills, tea and coffee farms, dairy cattle and flower nurseries. The charming towns of Atherton, Meereba and Herberton are filled with cosy cafés, galleries and antique stores. Don't miss the Great Wheelbarrow Race held in May. Teams take turns to push a wheelbarrow 142kms from Mareeba to Chillagoe, all in the name of raising money for charity.

Atherton Tablelands Accommodation Search

Accommodation options include classic old hotels and guest houses, modern motels, backpackers, caravan parks, National Park campgrounds and authentic farm stays. There are many good quality restaurants available.

The following Atherton Tablelands hotels provide some of the best deals for a holiday in Queensland – please search below for availability and get the very best room rates sourced from over 100 local and online booking agents:

Atherton Tablelands Travel Info
Access to the Atherton tablelands is via road, rail, or cable-car from Cairns. Transfers and day tours are available. The highlands have a more temperate climate than the tropical lowlands of Cairns, with cool night and mild daytime temperatures.