North QLD Road Trip – Route 4: Cairns – The Tablelands – Townsville

Staying Cairns for 4 days but we haven’t seen much in Cairns city. We just mainly sleeping and walking along the esplanade in the afternoon. Have to give it another occasion to come back here.

From Cairns we head to The Tablelands via Gillies Highway to visit old town Yungaburra, Atherton, Lake Barrine, Lake Eacham and Malanda Falls before heading back to Townsville via Bruce Highway. The bonus for coming back trip is Kurrimine beach which is home of the renowned King Reef Crayfish. King Reef is the closest spot where the Great Barrier Reef comes to the Queensland Coast.

Cairns to Townsville via Gillies Highway

Cairns to Townsville via Gillies Highway

Pyramid mountain in Gordonville

Pyramid mountain in Gordonville

Funny painting on the rock at Gillies Highway.

Funny painting on the rock at Gillies Highway.

The Tablelands is famous with a lot of dairy farms. On the way to Yungaburra we saw a lot of cattle and the road sign warning cattle crossing the road.  We visited 2 famous huge trees in Yungaburra. The Cathedral Fig Tree, like the Curtain Fig Tree, is a gigantic 500 years old strangler tree. Located in the Danbulla State Forest, the Cathedral Fig has the reputation of being the best place to hear an early morning bird ‘singing’ in the Tablelands. Circumnavigate the base of the tree and giant buttress roots on the easily accessible boardwalk.

While we drove around Yungaburra town to have a look, we saw a mango shop at street side. We bought a box of huge Bowen mangoes with a bargain. We’re all mango lovers so it was little win.

In Atherton we only visited The Crystal Cave according to the tourist information flyer that is a must. But we were a bit disappointed with the “cave”. It’s a man-made cave and it’s more for commercial. We got this feeling because after days by days traveling around Far North Queensland and beautiful nature in The Tablelands, we were expected to explore a real nature cave. This “Cave” is located in a main street of Atherton. In front of the “cave” is a shop selling all the stuffs made from gems. It’s not too bad inside that they decorate like a cave and hide the gems all around that. You need to wear a helmet with a light in front of it (to look like a mining worker) but I don’t think many people wearing it (I didn’t). The big disappointing is The Empess – Worlds biggest Amethyst Geode (as they advertised). Yeah, it’s huge but it’s not original. I mean it was made by many small pieces and once again it’s man-made too. I called this “Cave” is a gallery – a gem collection. But we’ve been there and done that.

Malanda Falls is not as big as Milla Milla Falls. People built a swimming pool around the falls so it becomes a very popular area for picnic. But I don’t like that idea at all. I prefer swimming under running water.

Lake Barine and Like Eacham are so beautiful. They are very huge and smooth. This is very truly Tablelands.

Dairy farm.

Dairy farm.

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Cattle road sign near Yungaburra

Cattle road sign near Yungaburra

Cathedral Fig Tree

Cathedral Fig Tree

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Lake Barrine

Lake Barrine

Lake Eacham

Lake Eacham

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Curtain Fig Tree

Curtain Fig Tree

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Red dirt

Red dirt

Grand hotel in Atherton

Grand hotel in Atherton

The Empress at Crystal Cave in Atherton

The Empress at Crystal Cave in Atherton

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Malanda Falls

Malanda Falls

Kurrimine Beach

Kurrimine Beach

Big Bowen Mangoes bought in Yungaburra

Big Bowen Mangoes bought in Yungaburra

The holiday was over. We really enjoyed the trip and would love to come back there. We have planed for another occasion to visit Cooktown – the northernmost town on the east coast of Australia.

Road trip is so interesting and comfortable. It’s just flexible and we don’t rely on anything else. Just do what we love to do and enjoy!

* Thoa Read *

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