Northern Experience Eco TourRainforest, Waterfalls & Paronella Park

Overview

Discover the natural beauty and history of the Atherton Tablelands on this full-day tour, covering over 300km packed with pristine rainforest waterfalls, ancient tropical rainforests and the intriguing history of heritage-listed Paronella Park. Amongst a small group in our air-conditioned bus, our expert guides reveal the secrets of the rolling landscapes and charming townships of the Tablelands, taking time to pause for unforgettable scenic views, rainforest encounters and of course, a dip in the cool rainforest waters of Milla Milla Falls and Babinda Boulders.

Highlights

  • Full-day tour
  • Small group touring
  • Expert tour guides
  • Spectacular scenic lookouts
  • World Heritage rainforest
  • Visit two waterfalls
  • Lake Barrine wildlife cruise
  • 1000-year-old twin kauri pines
  • Curtain Fig Tree
  • Yungaburra & Malanda townships
  • Swim at Millaa Millaa Falls
  • Visit Babinda Boulders (if time permits)
  • Restaurant quality lunch
  • Paronella Park & guided walk
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Itinerary

TABLELANDS WATERFALLS, RAINFOREST & PARONELLA PARK

Your full-day discovery tour of the Atherton Tablelands and Paronella Park starts with a coach pickup from your Cairns accommodation or alternative meeting point, between 7.15am – 7.45am. Travelling south from Cairns in our air-conditioned coach, your first photo opportunity is at the towering Walsh’s Pyramid, a Cairns icon and one of the largest naturally formed pyramids in the world at over 900 metres in height.

Onwards through the verdant green landscape of the Goldsborough Valley, we commence our ascent into the cool tropical rainforest climes of the Atherton Tablelands via the Gillies Highway. Rainforest giants stand sentinel over our winding path, breaking momentarily at Heales lookout for a spectacular vista over the valley and out to the Coral Sea.

Our first stop in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area comes at Lake Barrine, in Crater Lakes National Park, where a short guided walk with our expert guide reveals the area’s ancient natural history at the 1000-year-old twin kauri pines, true giants of the rainforest.

After a walk imbibing the rainforest ambience, it’s time for Devonshire tea: enjoy freshly-baked scones with jam and cream, washed down with locally-grown, fresh brewed tea and coffee. If you’ve picked Tour A, a 40-minute guided wildlife cruise on the lake is the best way to see the heady mix of plant and animal life that calls these lakes and rainforests home. Birdwatchers will delight in the array of ducks, pelicans, sea eagles and various other seasonal visitors to the lake, in addition to tortoises, eels, water monitors and various species of snakes sunning themselves on the shoreline.

Alternatively on Tour B, you can relax in the teahouse overlooking Lake Barrine, or take a leisurely walk through the rainforest walking tracks, keeping watch in the water for eels and turtles, in the trees for Boyd’s forest dragons and on the rainforest floor for Australia’s most ancient marsupial: the musky rat-kangaroo.

Next stop is the historical town of Yungaburra, where your guide will share the township’s logging past, taking you on a driving tour around this quaint town and showcasing the many heritage-listed buildings. He will even stop for a photo or two! From Yungaburra it is a short drive to the Curtain Fig Tree, which towers more than 45 metres into the rare Mabi forest of its namesake, Curtain Fig Tree National Park. Leading a fascinating boardwalk tour, your guide shares the unlikely story behind the formation of this 600-800 year-old epiphyte, while also looking out for unique wildlife in the rainforest canopy, like green ring-tailed possums, eastern whip birds, Victoria’s rifle birds the rare Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo.

Next is a driving tour through the historical dairy town of Malanda, home to Australia’s oldest continuously running commercial picture theatre and another slice of Australiana, the charming Malanda Hotel. After a 30-minute drive travelling through rolling green pastures, home to teeming rainforest streams and beef, dairy and sugar cane, we then arrive at Millaa Millaa Falls. Seem familiar? It’s one of Australia’s most-photographed waterfalls! Jump into the cool rainforest waters and shower under the falls as they tumble over 20 metres from volcanic lava flow formed over 1 million years ago. Or, sit and enjoy the sights and sounds from the rainforest canopy.

We descend from the Atherton Tablelands via the Palmerston Highway and through the traditional lands of the Mamu people, passing expansive sugar cane and banana fields to the coastal town of Innisfail. With lunch included, you’ll enjoy a hot buffet at Roscoe’s Pizza Place. The extensive National Trust-listed gardens at Paronella Park are our next stop, where a 45-minute guided tour in English, Chinese or Japanese tells the story of the park’s memorable architecture, set amongst sprawling tropical gardens and inspired by founder José Paronella’s dream of a Spanish castle.

Photo opportunities abound here, from Kauri Avenue to Teresa Falls, the Grand Staircase and suspension bridge over Mena Creek Falls. With 2.5 hours here, you’ll have ample time to explore the grounds, appreciate its history and capture some memorable moments.

Now, we head north towards Cairns, stopping at a local banana farm where you can buy your very own taste of the tropics with local bananas, papaya and seasonal, home-grown fruit. Onwards past Babinda, where — time permitting — we stop for another dip at Babinda Boulders, sampling the tranquil waters nestled between striking granite boulders. Babinda, Queensland’s wettest town with more than four metres annual rainfall, sits between Queensland’s two highest mountains: Mount Bartle Frere (1,611 metres) and Mount Bellender Ker (1,593 metres). These majestic peaks are blanketed in World Heritage-listed rainforest and form part of the Great Dividing Range, Australia’s most substantial mountain range and the fifth longest land-based range in the world. From its beginning off the tip of Queensland, it spans 3,500 kilometres through into New South Wales then Victoria before ending at the Grampians: quite a stretch!

Following these northern portions of the Great Dividing Range home with a full day of rainforest, history and waterfalls behind us, it is approximately a 50-60 minute drive back to the city of Cairns and onwards to your accommodation, arriving between 6.00 – 6.30pm.

Rates

TOUR B
Includes Devonshire Morning Tea, Lunch & Entry & Guide Walk at Paronella Park
Adult $185
Concession (Pensioner, Seniors Card Holder) $180
Child $130
Family (2 adults, 2 children) $550
Return transfers per person (Northern Beaches hotels - pay direct to driver) $28

All rates are in Australian dollars and include GST. Conditions: Northern Experience Eco Tours reserves the right to amend this itinerary due to any unforseen circumstances and accepts no responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged property, lunch destination may be changed without notice, cancellation fees apply. Pensioner ID required.

NORTHERN BEACHES PICKUPS ARE COMPLIMENTARY FROM:

  • Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, 6 Skyrail Dr, Smithfield
  • Cairns Central Railway Station (Bunda Street Entrance), Bunda St, Cairns

NOTE:

  • Child age: 4-14 years
  • Infants: 0-1 years travel free if nursed
  • Infants: 1-4 years. A $70 fee applies payable direct to the operator on the day of travel
    Family: 2 adults / 2 children. Additional children are at the child rate as per your chosen option.

Terms and Conditions

Inclusions

What's Included

  • DEVONSHIRE MORNING TEA. Scones and tea/coffee at Lake Barrine Teahouse.
  • LAKE BARRINE WILDLIFE CRUISE. Discover this crater lake and its wildlife with expert guides (Tour A only).
  • RAINFOREST LAKESIDE WALK. Visit the twin kauri pines at Lake Barrine.
  • CURTAIN FIG TREE and elevated rainforest boardwalk.
  • MILLAA MILLAA FALLS, including time for a swim.
  • QUALITY LUNCH at a local restaurant.
  • PARONELLA PARK including priority entry, 45-minute guided tour free time to explore.
  • VISIT ICONIC LOCAL LANDMARKS, INCLUDING Walsh’s Pyramid, Heales Lookout, Yungaburra, Curtain Fig Tree, Malanda, Crawford’s Lookout, Millaa Millaa Falls.
  • RAINFOREST SWIM at Babinda Boulders (time permitting).
  • TASTE THE TROPICS. Buy your own locally grown tropical fruit at local fruit stall.
  • RETURN HOTEL TRANSFERS (Cairns area only). Paid transfers available for northern beaches hotels ($22 per person) or make your way to collection points.
  • ATTRACTIONS and all national parks permit fees as per itinerary.
  • SMALL GROUP TOURING in comfortable, air-conditioned buses.

Checklists

WHAT TO BRING

  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable covered walking shoes
  • Swimwear, towel and change of clothes.
  • Bottled water
  • Light jacket in cooler months (June – Oct), when the Tablelands can be quiet cool early in the morning, but still hot enough for swimming later in the day.
  • Umbrella (if rain is forecast)
  • Camera with spare batteries and enough room on the memory card.
  • Cash / credit card as we visit two very well-equipped gift shops with mostly locally-made products.
  • A sense of adventure and thirst for great views!

All Inclusive Price

from $180

Get in touch

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24 Hour Reservations1300 321 019

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