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North Queensland Outback & Tablelands

Why not hire a 4wd and head west from Cairns to discover a diversly rich region with incredible natural wonders

Atherton Tablelands

From the rainforest mountain ranges, through the food bowl of the Atherton Tablelands, stretching to the spectacular outback landscape of wide horizons, deep gorges, and hot springs, abundant with wildlife, semi-precious gems, ancient mammal fossils and national parks set in Australia’s richest agricultural lands. The region is renowned for crater lakes, hiking and biking trails and
gourmet produce.

Kuranda

The picturesque mountain retreat of Kuranda Village is the first stop on the Tablelands trail, just 25km northwest of Cairns. Surrounded by the world’s oldest living tropical rainforest, it is well known as the Village in the Rainforest with daily markets and is accessible by Skyrail and the Kuranda Rail.

Kuranda Koala Gardens is home to many of Australia’s unique animals including bilbies, quokas, wallabies, wombats, snakes, gliders and freshwater crocodiles. And home to several koalas and everyone loves a koala! Whether they are eating, sleeping or just looking adorable they are undoubtedly one of this country’s most iconic creatures and you even have the opportunity to cuddle one!

Yungaburra

Yungaburra is a vibrant mix of alfresco café culture, boutique shopping, and the famous Yungaburra Markets. Explore natural attractions and drive, hike or bike through stunning rainforests and volcanic crater lakes. The area is a haven for wildlife, watch for platypus, tree-kangaroos, wallabies and a large variety of birds.

Charming townships to stay and explore include Kuranda, the village in the rainforest and Yungaburra with a host of delightful BnBs and cafes, set in an idyllic hamlet.

Chillagoe

200kms West from Cairns, you will find the stunning 400-million-year-old limestone caves of Chillagoe, with spectacular caverns and passages decorated
with stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones. Visitors can self-explore The Archways, Pompeii Cave and the more difficult Bauhinia Cave to see the cave coral. Alternatively, engage with the National Park rangers at The Hub for a guided tour of the spectacularly lit Donna, Trezkinn and Royal Arch caves and Wullumba Aboriginal rock art. For a caving adventure experience, contact info@chillagoecavingclub.org.au. The Weir is the locals favourite swimming hole, to dust off in the flowing rock pools and be sure to also visit the Car Museum, Smelter site and restored Railway and Police Station.

Comfortable, airconditioned cabins are available at the Observatory and Eco Lodge, where you can also book a guided stargazing tour. There is also a Guesthouse and a variety of accommodation options at the Chillagoe caravan parks.

Mt Mulligan Lodge

With the backdrop of its 18-kilometre long sandstone namesake, Mt Mulligan Lodge offers laid-back luxury in the outback. A member of the Luxury Lodges of Australia and set on a 28,000-hectare cattle station, Mt Mulligan Lodge invites 30 guests to experience the spirit of the outback through a captivating landscape steeped in Indigenous significance dating back 37,000 years. The expansive property bears the marks of the historic gold and coal rush and in its current operation, the pastoral history of Australia. A range of experiences have been designed to ignite adventure and connect guests with Queensland’s history, culture and outback.

Undara Lava Tubes

280kms south-east of Cairns, along the Savannah Way, you will find the Undara Volcanic National Park famous for its Lava Tubes and volcanic activity from 164 craters. Major eruptions 190,000 years ago created this geological phenomenon producing 24 cubic kilometres of lava distributed over 100kms, the longest flow in the world from a single volcano.

Choose from a range of accommodation from restored Railway Carriages to the newly appointed Homesteads

Talaroo Hot Springs

100km further west from Undara, you will find the outback oasis of Talaroo, offering a truly unique visitor experience combining the culture of the traditional Ewamian people and their connection with the 65million year old hot springs. To deeper form a reconciliation between people, culture and place, guided tours with a traditional owner take place along the purpose-built boardwalks and include a bathe in the healing communal pool or book your own private soaking pool naturally fed by water seeping underground heated by hot granite rocks.

Try a genuine camping experience with a comfy queen bed in an Eco Tent! There is a café open until 6pm.

Cobbold Gorge

Immerse yourself in the natural wonder of Cobbold Gorge, cruise, kayak or paddleboard along the gorge then walk atop over the fully glass bridge, bushwalk to the top of the escarpment, along the way you can see native plants such as the Soap Tree Acacia. At the top, take a rest on the extensive rocky plateau and enjoy spectacular views of the twisting chasm below. Ensuite accommodation, licensed restaurant, infinity pool, swim up bar and helicopter tours are available.

Cobbold Gorge offers ensuited Boundary Huts, with a king bed and outdoor sitting area.

Riversleigh

A world heritage site, in the Lawn Hill National Park inscribed for its outstanding natural universal values. One of the most significant mammal fossil deposits found in the world, which has revealed records of Gondwanan life forms which existed back 25 million years to the late Oligocene period. The site provides reports of groups of mammals, an exceptional example of the extinct marsupial lion and features reptiles, turtles, fish, crocodiles, pythons and birds embedded in the limestone.

Accommodation can be found at Adels Grove 50kms away so make sure you book ahead!

Hughenden

Take a paleo tour of Outback Queensland with a visit to see ‘Hughie’ a life-sized skeletal Muttaburrasaurus, a plant eating dinosaur that roamed the region 100 million years ago. You’ll find him at the Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden, where there is also fossil collections, interactive displays and Australian dinosaur bones found in digs from 1865 to the present day. If you want to see more dinosaurs, include the Dinosaur Trail, through Winton and Richmond into your travel plans. You’ll gaze at fossils of gigantic dinosaurs from around 98 million years ago (many dug up in outback paddocks!) and marvel at the famous 100 million year old dinosaur footprints at Lark Quarry.

A variety of hotel rooms and caravan park cabins are available.

GREAT BARRIER REEF

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