How to Spend Two Days in Atherton Tablelands

How to Spend Two Days in Atherton Tablelands

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 06/11/2024

Reading time: 4 mins

Explore the mix of wetlands, savanna, and rainforests from the Atherton Tablelands.

The beautiful region of Atherton Tablelands is just over an hour’s drive from Cairns, offering stunning landscapes to explore. Over the course of two days, here is a range of things you can enjoy in the region!

Things to do in Atherton Tablelands: Day One

On your first day in the Atherton Tablelands, you will want to make your way there. Bring along some snacks for the two days and stop off at local cafes and restaurants for tasty meals. Whether you drop off your luggage at your accommodation or go right into exploring, here’s a list of things to do on day one.

Lake Eacham

The beautiful clear waters of Lake Eacham are actually in a former volcanic crater, with trees fringing the shores. You can go for a walk to spot the wildlife and enjoy a picnic by the lake.

Cathedral Fig Tree

One of the first stops should definitely be the legendary Cathedral Fig Tree. This fig tree isn’t just an ordinary tree, it is 500 years old and it is massive. There is a platform for you to walk around the tree and learn about its history.

Waterfall Circuit

To visit all the popular waterfalls in Atherton Tablelands, this circuit is perfect for you. You’ll come across Millaa Millaa Falls and Ellinjaa Falls, where you can go swimming. Zillie Falls is also stunning, but you’ll have to stick to the viewing platform here, as swimming is prohibited.

Millaa Millaa is first on the route and is popular within the region. The 18-metre plunge waterfall is surrounded by lush gum trees and ferns. Jump back in the car and head over to Zillie Falls and view the waterfall from the viewing platform. By the car park, there is a picnic area with a BBQ, a great place to settle for a picnic lunch.

Lastly on the drive is Ellinjaa Falls, where you watch the water run down lava columns, dropping into the base of the waterfall. As you make your way to the base of the falls, you could be lucky to spot a platypus or a freshwater turtle!

Things to Do in Atherton Tablelands: Day Two

On your second, and sadly final day in the region, you can get up to a range of activities in the region. To start off, you’ll have to wake up early for the first activity.

  • Hot air balloon at sunrise

Experience a stunning view of the Atherton Tablelands at sunrise while in a hot air balloon. Early in the morning, you’ll gently ascend into the sky above the Atherton Tablelands. From the balloon basket, you’ll have breathtaking views of the landscape below.

  • Lake Barrine

Close to Lake Eacham, Lake Barrine is another popular freshwater lake surrounded by rainforest. The clear blue lake is a great swimming spot, and you can also go canoeing, follow walking tracks, and enjoy a picnic.

  • Hou Wang Temple

The Hou Wang Temple is a former Chinese temple, but is now a museum. Built in 1903, the temple is one of the oldest Chinese temples in the country, and is located in the town of Atherton. You’ll walk through the old timber and iron temple, appreciating the Chinese cultural heritage with a display of cultural artifacts. This is one thing you shouldn’t miss while in Atherton Tablelands.

If you don’t have a way to get to Atherton Tablelands, you can join this tour. The tour is only for one day, but it’s still a chance for you to go out and see the spectacular scenery the Atherton Tablelands has to offer.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.