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10-The Atherton Tablelands

Here in the Wet Tropics, waterfalls just cascade out of the sky.  For the most dramatic waterfall the Barron Falls in Kuranda in the rainy season is awe inspiring and worthy of many photos.  For cooling off and bathing there are many crystal clear natural pools.  At Malanda Falls you can swim in the lava flows there that have moulded themselves into a natural swimming pool for bathing all the year round.   Rivers from the Highlands wend their way to the sea creating a landscape of shimmering lakes.  Soak up the surrounding beauty as you swim in the 10,000 year old clear waters of the ancient Crater Lakes of Barrine and Lake Eacham. In geological terms, the lake is actually termed a maar which describes a crater formed by a massive explosion due to superheating underground.  This crater filled lake is filled with clear blue tropical rain water that is just perfect for swimming in.

Around Lake Eacham there  is even a children’s 1.4km walk so that children can learn  about the local flora and fauna.  With tasks like wriggling like a snake or hunting for dragons there is total fun in this learning experience.

Afterwards  you can even take Devonshire tea afterwards at the historic 80 year old tea house on the shore.

If you would like to know more about history there are some wonderful places on the Tablelands you can visit.  The Spy and Camera Museum in Herberton might sound somewhat stifled but the owner, Michael, brings the spy stories and the history of his rare and collectible cameras
(many used in the Cold War) to life, be prepared to stay longer than expected.

Another surprise is the World War II aircraft museum and hangar in Atherton housing amazing World War II fighter planes that have been meticulously restored .  The museum and hangar features  military aircraft that have been collected from around the globe and includes the C47 Douglas DC3, P40 Kitty Hawk, Winjeel, T6 Harvard, Chipmunch and the Nanchang.  For the extra nostalgia there is a chance to pre-book a flight and be taken out on a flight.

For more energetic activities, join a tour for bike, hiking or kayaking so that you can discover the best of the local trails with informed guides.  On your mountain bike weave through purpose built trails complete with stunning mountain-top vistas.  Kayak on clear, tranquil waters spotting unique wildlife and secluded bays.

If you are a wildlife lover, the Atherton Tablelands attracts global attention.  With more than 430 bird species in the Wet Tropics and The Great Barrier Reef, 327 can be viewed on the Atherton Tablelands. The diverse avifauna makes it an ornithologists dream encompassing riverine, wetland, woodland, rainforest, grassland, agricultural and parkland. You won’t be putting down your camera or binoculars for long. Tours are strongly recommended as there is nothing better as a local who knows where the best spots are.

For all wildlife enthusiasts there are bushwalks and wildlife spotting tours taken by knowledgeable local people. You might be lucky to spot a Southern Cassowary, tree frogs, lizards and the very rare tree kangaroo.

If you wish to stay for more than just a day trip check out local accommodation.