Atherton Tablelands

Trip Start Sep 27, 2009
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Where I stayed
Rifle Creek Rest stop

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Atherton Tablelands, also known as the Cairns Highlands are just West of Cairns. The Atherton Tablelands are an area of countryside, small country towns, volcanic lakes, waterfalls, national parks and loads of farm land. The table lands are a thousand metres above sea level and we drove higher up the whindy mountain road its was great to see how the scenery changed, from tropical rainforest to rolling hills of the country side.  

We first drove through Mareeba and went to the 'coffee works'. We paid $19 each entry which was for unlimited tasting of the 21 coffees, 4 teas, 12 chocolates and 3 liquors. There were coffees from all over the world as well as coffees grown in the Atherton Table lands and some coffees mixed with other flavours like chocolate and Irish cream. We started off by trying the local coffee and then the flavoured ones, they were all really different but all pretty good. We then gave the chocolates ago, there was the traditional flavours like milk chocolate, dark and white chocolate, but they also had some strange fl;avours like lime  and black pepper, lemon and chili flavoured. The weird flavours were all abit hit and miss but the lime and black pepper was surprisingly good.

By this time we were both feeling a bit sick so we went and had a look around the coffee museum. The museum was full of loads of different coffee makers, grinders and tea pots from all around the world and lots of antique ones. We got a walkie talkie that explained the history of each thing, it was one mad guys personal collection!

After that we headed straight back to the tasting, Em got loads more chocolate and Chris carried on with the different coffees. Chris managed to try all 21 coffees so was on a caffeine high and Em had had her chocolate fix so we were both happy. We tried the liquors which were okay but a bit sickly they reminded us of corky shots that we used to do at uni! With the entry fee we got a $5 voucher for the gift shop so we bought a couple of bags of Australian coffee! We really enjoyed the coffee works, it was well worth the $19!

After that we went to information centre in Mareeba and got loads of information on the area, the people working in the centre was so great and friendly and gave us so much info! We then went to Mount Uncles Distillery where they made their own spirts and liquors. We had missed the tour but the owner gave us a personal tour of the place and explained how it all worked, the guy was great. He then gave us a taste of all the different spirits loads of different flavours of liquors like Elder berry, lime, coffee and marshmallow the guy only charged half price for the tasting and we tried loads of stuff, the rum was great and Em not surprisingly loved the marshmallow liqueur.

After the coffee and liqueur tasting we needed a break so set off to one of the areas famous lakes. We went to Lake Tinaroo which is a man made lake, original built for hydro electricity. It was a really nice lake and was huge, it was so big we couldn't see the other side. We relaxed there for the rest of the afternoon reading our books and watching the locals speeding around on the boats.

We spent the evening at a free rest stop just outside of Atherton, it was nice enough but the toilets were really far from the campground and there were no lights so it was pitch black at night so Em was freaking out every time she went to the toilet. The next day we went to Lake Barrine which is a volcanic crater lake, thought to be 40,000 years old and 65metres deep! We did a 5km walk around the lake which was through the rainforest with a few lookouts over the lake.

After Lake Barrine we went to Lake Eacham which is another volcanic crater lake nearby, the two lakes are twins that were both part of the same eruption. Lake Eacham was absolutely stunning the water was crystal clear and surrounded by rainforest it was really beautiful. We spent a few hours there swimming and relaxing with a beer on the grass it was a really beautiful.

After a last refreshing swim in the lake we drove down to Millaa Millaa falls. The waterfall was so picturesque it was amazing. We both swam underneath the falls and in the water hole with the turtles it was brilliant. The waterfall was huge and looked great. We then stopped at another couple of waterfalls Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa falls which were just as picturesque but we didn't swim in those ones.

After the waterfalls we went to Mungalli Dairy Farm and had a cream tea. The views from the farm were amazing of the surrounding countryside so we sat on a bench and enjoyed the views. We also got some free cheese and yogurt tasting which tasted great! The dairy farms in the Atherton Tablelands are the only tropical dairy farms in the world.

After our cream tea we drove out of the Atherton tablelands and back to the coast. We stopped at a free rest stop just outside of Misssion beach. The Atherton Tablelands were absolutely beautiful and we really enjoyed the area. The coffee works was awesome but the lakes were the highlight especially lake Eacham. Just driving around the area though and the views of the countryside was really amazing, we loved it. Its amazing that all these different places are only an hour from Cairns the area is so diverse and so beautiful it would be an awesome place to live.
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