Atherton Tourism & Travel
A scenic hours drive south west from Cairns, but a world away, Atherton, a rustic country town is the major service centre for the Atherton Tablelands. Atherton is built on the side of an extinct volcano, called Hallorans Hill. The rich, red volcanic soils of the area are estimated to be over 30-m deep and produce maize, the towns main industry.
Huge maize silos interrupt the rural and rainforest landscape. The attractive Environmental Park is a reminder of how attractive the area must have been before grazing and clearing.
Situated between the Bellenden Ker Range and the Great Dividing Range, the Atherton Tablelands also know as Cairns Highlands, is regarded as one of the regions best-kept secrets.
The Atherton Tablelands is home to World Heritage listed rainforests, national parks, mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. It is also rated as one of the richest agricultural plains in Australia due to the rich volcanic land at altitudes between 600 and 1000 metres.
Comprising of many towns from Cairns along the coast to Chilagoe in the west to the southern town of Ravenshoe, the Atherton Tablelands covers an enormous area.
The tropical climate of the Atherton experiences pleasant temperatures ranging between 17 C and 25 C from September to June and between 5 C and 14 C from July to August, with cool, mild summer nights and sunny winter days without high humidity.
Atherton forms the agricultural hub of the tablelands. The farm and grazing lands yield a constant supply of fruit, vegetables and grains to local and export markets.
Atherton Tablelands Wildlife
Spectacular walking tracks wind through the dense rainforest of Mt Hypipamee National Park, which is inhabited by seven species of possum. The most common is the coppery brushtail possum and other species include the green ringtail possum with green-tinged fur, and the lemuroid ringtail possum that leaps through the air from branch to branch.
The Lumholtzs tree kangaroo is also found around Mount Hypipamee and in other forest pockets of the Atherton Tableland. These nocturnal animals emerge in the evening, unfolding their powerful limbs to display remarkable climbing skills. Tree kangaroos are the only kangaroos that can move their hind legs independently of each other, making them able to walk as well as hop.
At dusk in the forest leaves rustle on the forest floor as geckoes, bandicoots and pademelons emerge and branches crack under the weight of heavy possums. Perhaps see a reclusive platypus scurrying along a cool riverbank.
Tinaroo Lake is a huge man-made lake formed in 1958 at the completion of the Tinaroo Dam. The reservoir is used for irrigation and hydro-electricity as well as barramundi fishing and water sports. The lake provides ideal conditions for waterbirds such as ibis, egrets, spoonbills, herons, darters, terns and the Rufous night heron. During the dry months when the water level is low, the white-bellied sea eagle, osprey, red-kneed dotterel and black fronted plover are attracted to the lake.
The ancient Bromfield Swamp was formed when a side of the Bromfield crater gave way. Only a small lake is found in the crater now. Bromfield Swamp is a breeding ground for Sarus cranes - the sight of hundreds of cranes flocking in at dusk is incredible.
Atherton ativities include bush walking, bird watching, wildlife cruises, marsupial spotting, hot air ballooning, horse riding and water sports as diverse as fishing to white water rafting.
Visit the famous, extinct volcanic crater lakes of Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham in Crater Lakes National Park.