Yungaburra

Just over an hour south-west from Cairns, Yungaburra is the first stop for travellers who've completed the spectacular drive up the Gillies Highway from Gordonvale. With its fresh air, great cafes and 28 heritage buildings, it's an enticing introduction to the charm of the Atherton Tablelands. There's good interpretation of the local streetscape, so take the time to stroll around, pick up the local history and check out the locally made arts and crafts.

The town itself is surrounded by the remnants of volcanic activity. Ask someone to point out the extinct volcanic mounds, the Seven Sisters, and then take a drive to the Crater Lakes of Barrine and Eacham. While they're often talked about in the same breath, the lakes have quite different characters. Barrine is smaller, with a quiet, almost Scandinavian feel (assisted by a delightful cruise boat and tea house), while Eacham offers large scale picnic facilities and is often very busy on a sunny day. Both however offer well interpreted walks which are worth taking the time to complete. The Barrine track at 6.5 kilometres is too long for many day trippers, so the fit nature lover has a good chance of a quiet time spotting the local wildlife.

On the way to Lake Eacham, take the Gadgarra turn-off to the Giant Red Cedar tree. Although the tree fell in cyclone Larry and is now lying on the ground, the size of it is still a spectacular site. Imagine the scale of the forests that once would have covered the rich dairy country of the Tablelands. Similar thoughts will no doubt come to mind when viewing another of the great Tablelands trees - the Cathedral Fig. It's well signposted off the Gillies Highway and has never yet failed to impress.

Yungaburra is also well placed as a base for exploring the considerable expanse of Lake Tinaroo. Boating, swimming, camping, bushwalking and fishing are all available on the dam. Try the 28 kilometres Danbulla Forest Drive around the lake and follow the signs to find the many lookouts, swimming holes and refreshment stops along the way.

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Curtain Fig Tree

Yungaburra, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
The Curtain Fig National Park contains the renowned Curtain Fig Tree, an enormous strangler fig tree. Located a short drive out of Yungaburra, a small town in the Atherton Tableland, the giant tree has several aerial roots hanging down from its branches that look like curtains.

Clump Mountain National Park

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
This park, on the scenic coast just north of Mission Beach, contains some of the few remaining patches of undisturbed tropical lowland rainforest in North Queensland. These rainforest remnants are important habitat for the endangered southern cassowary.

Malanda Falls Conservation Park

Malanda, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Surrounded by dense rainforest, the North Johnstone River tumbles over basalt rock that was formed by an ancient lava flow at Malanda Falls. The much-photographed picturesque falls flow into an artificial swimming pool in this popular park near Malanda.

Millstream Falls National Park

Ravenshoe, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Plunging over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow, Big Millstream Falls is reputedly the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia. Lying in the rain shadow of the eastern dividing ranges, the dry open woodland here is in stark contrast with the rainforest which is only kilometres away.

Mount Hypipamee National Park

Atherton, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
This park features a diatreme (a volcanic pipe or vent) thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion. The gaping hole is 70 metres wide with steep granite sides that plunge 58 metres to the lake below.
Free Entry
Josephine Falls, a scenic section of Wooroonooran National Park, features a scenic waterfall fed by rains falling on Queensland's highest peak, Bartle Frere, which looms above this popular picnic area.

Eubenangee Swamp National Park

Babinda, Cairns Area
Free Entry
One of the most important wetlands between Ingham and Cairns, Eubenangee Swamp is a birdwatchers' paradise, with over 190 species of birds recorded. Situated in the lowlands east of the Bellenden Ker Range (the wettest part of Australia), much of this park is flooded during the wet season.

Curtain Fig National Park

Yungaburra, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
This park protects a small area of an endangered type of forest, called mabi forest, the local Aborignal (Ngadjon) word for the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. The large fig tree found in this park is unique because the extensive aerial roots, that drop 15 metres to the forest floor, have formed a 'curtain'.

Mamu Tropical Skywalk

Innisfail, Cassowary Coast Area
From AU$19 - 23
The Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway is a spectacular walk through the canopy of World Heritage rainforest. It is an iconic tourist attraction in the heart of the Wet Tropics. With a 350 metre long elevated walkway through the canopy, a cantilever, a 37 metre observation tower and more than 1200 metres of walking tracks, this attraction is a must do for anyone visiting the region.

Frankland Group National Park

Deeral, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Surrounded by extensive fringing reefs, the five islands of Frankland Group National Park feature rocky outcrops, dense rainforest, mangroves and coastal vegetation, making them a haven for wildlife. A colony of spectacled flying-foxes roosts on Russell Island, while manta rays and sea turtles have been spotted in nearby waters, part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
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