aerial image of paronella park

Plan Your Trip

2 day Paronella Park & Tablelands

This jam-packed two day itinerary will take you through southern Cairns to the magical Paronella Park and up to the Atherton Tablelands to treat your tastebuds to an abundance of local produce.

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Day 1

Babinda to the Atherton Tablelands

cairns to babinda boulders roadtrip

9AM – Babinda Boulders

Every good adventure begins with a swim right? Well it does in Tropical North Queensland where there’s more rainforest pools than you can poke a stick at! The Babinda Boulders has something for everyone. From its walking tracks and lookouts, to its cool, green waters lined with large granite boulders, thick, lush rainforest and the haunting legend of an ancient and tragic Aboriginal love story. What a way to start the day.

family at paronella park

11AM – Paronella Park

#thedreamcontinues is not only the official hashtag of this delightful ruin in the rainforest but it’s an apt way to describe the next stop in this 48 hours of fun. Paronella Park is a photographer’s delight, offering postcard scenes left, right and centre. From the mossy ruins to the towering trees, to the waterfall and grand staircase, you won’t be disappointed.

11AM – Mena Creek Hotel

Nothing beats the charm of a local pub set amongst the cane fields. The Mena Creek Hotel was built in 1929 and since then has been serving up delicious, good sized meals to locals and tourists. Match that with good old Queensland customer service and you’re on to a winner.

nucifora tea fields

2PM – Nucifora Tea Plantation

If you suffer from car sickness and want to avoid the trials and tribulations of a winding range road, the Palmerston Highway offers the very best trek to the Tablelands for you. This scenic drive takes you from the coastal lowlands to the Atherton Tablelands, with far less twists and turns than the Gillies or Kuranda Range roads. We recommend stopping at the Nucifora Tea Plantation at the bottom of the Palmerston for a quick photo op.

mungalli creek dairy cheese

3PM – Mungalli Creek Dairy

Need a little caffeine fix? The Mungalli Creek Dairy ‘Out of the Whey’ teahouse is the perfect place to recharge those batteries while enjoying a stunning view over the Tablelands. The coffee is good and there’s a wide range of cakes and sweet treats to go with it. They also do lunch and free cheese and yoghurt tastings. The teahouse is open 10am – 4pm.

rose gums wilderness retreat

3PM – Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat

Spend the night in a treehouse at Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat – the perfect place to pull up stumps for the day. This privately owned and operated retreat has nine handcrafted pole and timber treehouses, each with views over the rainforest and their own private setting. Sit on the deck, light a fire or soak in the spa bath. Each treehouse has a private BBQ, so make sure that you stock up on local meats for dinner.

Day 2

Atherton Tablelands

rainbow lorikeets rose gums wilderness retreat

8.30AM – Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat

It’s hard not to get a good night’s sleep at Rose Gums, everything about this place leads to rest and relaxation. That means you wake up early, refreshed and ready to go. The treehouses have a full kitchen and come with a delicious, complimentary breakfast hamper, featuring milk, yoghurt, cereals and coffee. Once we’ve recharged, it’s time to head over and feed the birds at the owner’s residence. What a delightful way to start the day.

Lake Barrine Devonshire Tea cafe Atherton Tablelands

8.30AM – Lake Barrine

Head to Lake Barrine, a volcanic crater lake surrounded by lush green rainforest. Visit the Lake Barrine Teahouse and tuck into the iconic Devonshire Tea whilst looking out at views of the lake from the charming verandah. Stop, relax and sock up the serenity. Take a short walk to the twin giant bull kauri trees, which are estimated to be around 1000 years old.

antique toys herberton historic village

12PM – Historic Village Herberton

The Atherton Tablelands has lots of two things: beautiful scenery and country charm. One way to really see what life would have been like here in the early pioneering days, is to visit Historic Village Herberton. Set on 16 acres, this attraction has more than 50 restored period buildings and recreates a historic tin mining town, complete with shops, a school, garage and more. There’s a café / restaurant on site, giving you plenty of time to explore everything this place has to offer, without getting hungry.

Gallo Dairyland

3PM – Gallo Dairyland

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Gallo Dairyland, which is located on the Malanda-Atherton Road. Gallo makes their own delicious and amazing selection of chocolates on site. If you want it, they’ve got it. I’m talking everything from freckles for the kids, to hazelnut chocolate, coconut chocolate rough and chilli chocolates. The best part? You don’t have to stop at one. They sell by the weight, so pick what you want and indulge away. There’s much more to this place than chocolate, there’s cheese, ice-cream, tea and coffee, a restaurant, kids farm and milking demonstrations.

Gillies Range Road

5PM – Gillies Range Road

It’s been a refreshing, rewarding and delicious 48 hours and now it’s time to head home down the iconic Gillies Highway. It might be a windy way home, but has some gorgeous views over the hinterland and cane fields below. There’s lots more to see and do the Atherton Tablelands, but there’s always time for another adventure.

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