This blog is a collection of photos I took when I travelled around the beautiful Atherton Tablelands. Cooler than the coast, there’s diverse offerings; more than enough to warrant a week’s stay.
First stop on our way here from Mission Beach was Paronella Park. It is the dream castle built by Spaniard Jose Paronella in 1929 on 13 acres of virgin forest that meets up with Mena Creek Falls. He built the ultimate pleasure and leisure centre, creating picnic areas, tennis court, cinema, ballroom, swimming pools, tunnels and bridges. Seven thousand trees were planted, including an avenue of giant kauris. Interestingly, the park was fuelled by its own hydro electricity.
It’s an incredible story of a hard working man who provided a fabulous place for people to enjoy. The park was ‘lost’ for a number of years, damaged by floods and fire, then bought by the current owners in 1993 who set about restoring it. There’s still a lot of work to do, but even so, it’s a click worthy experience.
The Tablelands are green as far as the eye can see. Plenty of rain falls here. Little wonder that bananas, sugar cane, mangoes, avocados, macadamia nuts, passionfruit and strawberries grow well.
Green, laidback Malanda is where we based ourselves. We set up in Lake Eacham caravan park and enjoyed coffee in their fabulous cafe Fronds. Many attractions are in striking distance of Malanda.
Yungaburra is a traveller’s delight. The town dates back to 1890 and has 18 charming heritage listed buildings. Pretty cafes, a fabulous bookshop, galleries, hotel and bnbs line the streets. Bright swathes of flowers, large trees and wide streets complete a very pretty picture. For those planning a trip to Cairns, Yungaburra is only 70 kms away.
Herberton turned out to be a big surprise. There’s more to this small town than I gave it credit. Built on the back of tin mining and having a number of attractions, we should have stayed another day to do it justice.
Herberton Historical Village is on 16 acres, has 60 restored buildings, resembles a tin mining town and was a fascinating place to visit. Normally, I would pass this sort of thing off as a tourist trap, but this wasn’t the case. The sheer size of the diverse collections – cars, tractors, toys, groceries, pharmaceutical, school means half a day passes quickly.
In Ravenshoe we called into the pub; met a couple of locals who are long time timber cutters, ordered drinks from the ever smiling, young Argentinian female bartender all the while immersed in the powerful twangy vocals of Charley Pride. It made for a good couple of hours.
Our final stop was Innisfail where bananas grow by the mega ton and art deco buildings dominate.
Next stop: Lucinda