Population 6249

Originally called Prior's Pocket and renamed in 1885, this town is the commercial hub of the Atherton Tableland. It is an area renowned for its volcanic crater lakes, waterfalls and fertile farmlands. Surrounding the town is dense rainforest that abounds in birdlife, and the nearby parks and forests offer a variety of watersports, bushwalking and outdoor activities.

Visitor Information

Cnr Silo Rd and Main St; (07) 4091 4222

Nearby national parks

  • Crater Lakes National Park

    Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, this national park surrounds two lakes, Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham. These are volcanic...more

  • Mount Hypipamee National Park

    This small, but very beautiful, high-altitude rainforest national park boasts a number of ‘must-see’ features. The first is an...more

  • Wooroonooran National Park

    Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Wooroonooran National Park boasts the two highest mountains in Queensland, along with wild...more

Nearby towns

  • Yungaburra

    Yungaburra is a historic town on the edge of the Atherton Tableland. Originally a resting spot for miners, it was slow to develop. The...more

  • Herberton

    Known as the 'Village in the Hills', Herberton sits about 1000 metres above sea level on the south-west ranges of the Atherton Tableland....more

  • Mareeba

    Mareeba was the first town settled on the Atherton Tableland by pastoralist John Atherton in 1877. Tobacco production began in the 1950s,...more

In Town

Chinese Interpretive Centre and Old Post Office Gallery Atherton once had a large population of Chinese working for local timber cutters. This centre exhibits photos of these days and has artefacts and works by local artists and potters. Tours of the nearby Hou Wang Temple, built in 1903 and recently restored, depart from here. Open Wed–Sun; Herberton Rd.

Hallorans Hill Conservation Park: walk to the rim of this extinct volcanic cone on the Atherton Tableland, where there is a spectacular lookout and informative displays; off Kennedy Hwy.

Crystal Caves: explore underground tunnels and chambers lined with crystals, fossils and fluorescent minerals. The above-ground Fascinating Facets shop sells a range of jewellery and gemstones; Main St.

Birds of Prey: interactive bird show featuring some amazing aerial predators; shows 11am and 2pm Wed–Sun (closed Feb, Mar and Nov); Herberton Rd; (07) 4091 6945.


Atherton Tableland This 900m high tableland is a productive farming district, thanks to the high rainfall and rich volcanic soil. Near Yungaburra is the remarkable Curtain Fig Tree, a strangler fig that has subsumed its host, sending down a curtain of roots. Volcanic lakes and spectacular waterfalls, including Millaa Millaa Falls and Zillie Falls, are among the other scenic attractions.

Lake Tinaroo With 200 km of shoreline, Lake Tinaroo is ideal for fishing, waterskiing and sailing. Walking tracks circle the lake, and dinghies and houseboats are available for hire. The Danbulla Forest Drive is a scenic 28 km drive; via Kairi 15 km NE.

Hasties Swamp National Park: local and migratory birds visit this swamp, including whistling ducks and magpie geese; (07) 4091 1844; 3 km S.

Tolga: this town has a railway museum and craft outlets; 5 km N.

Wongabel State Forest: important wildlife refuge in Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. An informative heritage trail gives an insight into Aboriginal culture and history; Kennedy Hwy; 8 km S.

Fishing spots near town

Lake Tinaroo 14 km

Lake Tinaroo is built across the Barron River Gorge in the Atherton Tablelands; about two hours’ drive from Cairns via Gordonvale and Yungaburra. The lake was the first of Queensland’s impoundments stocked... Find out more

Trinity Inlet 48 km

The Cairns region offers more than gamefishing. South of the city are rivers like the Russell and Mulgrave; to the north are the Daintree and Mowbray Rivers. Anglers heading inland will find opportunities like the famous... Find out more

Cairns 51 km

Many international game anglers regard Cairns as the game fish capital of the world, with plenty of big black marlin – the Holy Grail of gamefishing. Granders or Julies, call them what you will, these huge female... Find out more

Russell Heads 53 km

Russell Heads is the junction and estuary system of the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers, south of Cairns. I was fishing with Kieran Livingstone who had a Cairns Custom Craft aluminium, a solid boat ideal for river and... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Cheese-tasting 31 km

In the lush highlands of Millaa Millaa, overlooking Mount Bartle Frere, the certified biodynamic Mungalli Creek Dairy has a superb range of organic cheeses and yoghurts for sale and tastings. You can watch the delectable... Find out more

Savannahlander 49 km

This small two- or three-carriage train heads out across the savannah country from Cairns to Forsayth on a four-day round trip, allowing you to get off at towns and see key places, such as Undara, along the way. You can... Find out more

Wildlife experience - Cairns 53 km

Combine several of the Cairns area’s main wildlife attractions into one seamless day out: the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail, Kuranda Koala Gardens, Birdworld and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Book through... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Tolga Woodworks Cafe and Gallery

If you love the smell and feel of timber and the joys of wood-fired bread served with perfectly prepared, fresh, simple but not boring food then don’t drive past here. Menus run from Thai, Greek and Tuscan salads... Find out more

Breweries around town

Blue Sky Brewery 50 km

After a significant period between drinks, Cairns once again has a working brewery with the opening of Blue Sky Brewery in 2008. Located in the heart of the city, the microbrewery, bar and restaurant complex has six... Find out more

Campsites around town

Discovery Holiday Parks – Lake Tinaroo 13 km

Just 150 m from Lake Tinaroo, this caravan park has an excellent range of facilities for a comfortable stay after a day of boating or waterskiing on the lake. Other activities include fishing for barramundi or sooty... Find out more

Platypus camping area 15 km

Platypus campground, 4 km from the western entrance, has 18 numbered sites for small tents, large tents and vans. Open fires are allowed here in the provided fire rings and BBQs (except when fire bans apply); bring your... Find out more

Fong-On Bay camping area 17 km

A favourite with waterskiers, this campground is divided into 2 sections with good water access: Bulmba and Gungul. To get here, turn off Danbulla Forest Dr 16.5 km from the western entrance, or 11.5 km from the eastern... Find out more

Downfall Creek camping area 18 km

This campground is 7 km from the western entrance and 21 km from the eastern entrance of the Danbulla Forest Dr. Campers can take the 2.4 km walk through the forest to Kauri Creek. Bring all self-sufficient supplies,... Find out more

Kauri Creek camping area 19 km

A great spot for swimming and canoeing, Kauri Creek is 9 km from the western entrance and 19 km from the eastern entrance of Danbulla Forest Dr. Open fires are allowed in fire rings; generators are not permitted.... Find out more

School Point camping area 20 km

School Point can be reached by 2WD or boat. It has has 8 numbered campsites with a gravel surface. To get here, turn off Danbulla Forest Dr 16 km from the western entrance, or 12 km from the eastern entrance, and follow... Find out more

Granite Gorge Nature Park 29 km

Formed millions of years ago by ancient volcanoes, the boulders at Granite Gorge are a natural wonder well worth checking out. Some, allegedly, are shaped like animals. The tent sites are shady; safari tent accommodation... Find out more

Dinden camping area (bush camping) 30 km

A 4WD is advisable for accessing these 6 bush campsites, 5 km along Davies Creek Rd from Davies Creek National Park. It is preferable to visit in the dry season (Apr–Oct). Bring your own water, rubbish bags, and a... Find out more

Davies Creek camping area 31 km

Camp beside the creek at this clearing 6 km from the Kennedy Hwy, accessible by conventional vehicles. There are 8 sites with space for 10 campers per site. Bring firewood for the allocated fireplaces, and all... Find out more

Junction camping area (bush camping) 33 km

At the western end of the Mt Bartle Frere Trail, campers can walk in or access the site via road (unsuitable for conventional vehicles when wet). Go birdwatching during the day and search for possums by spotlight at... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

BIG4 Atherton Woodlands Tourist Park 2 km

On the outskirts of Atherton, about 2 km from the town centre, this tidy park has large shady trees and makes a good base for a few days while exploring the area. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park 13 km

This park is located on Tinaroo Dam, 17 km from Atherton. It is popular with anglers who come year round to catch barramundi from the stocked reservoir. The park has good basic facilities. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more

Walkamin Central Van Park 16 km

This is a relatively new owner-operated park adjacent to the Kennedy Highway. There are excellent amenities and a large central building with a camp kitchen and large open fireplace. There is not a lot of shade, but we... Find out more

Big4 Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort 44 km

Enjoy the excellent facilities of this quality park, on the southern approach to the city 7 km from the centre of Cairns. There is a cafe, free minigolf, tennis and aqua aerobics, and the list continues. Bookings are... Find out more

BIG4 Cairns Crystal Cascades Holiday Park 45 km

This good quality park is easily accessible and only about 5 km from the centre of Cairns. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Cool Waters Holiday Park 47 km

Located in the foothills a few kilometers out of Cairns, this is a quality park with very good facilities. Pets are allowed, but small dogs only. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Cairnsvilla and Leisure Park 48 km

The park is 4 km from the centre of Cairns, set in a quiet area with beautiful tropical surrounds. It has very good facilities including a mini-mart and a TV room. It is an ideal park for a holiday.... Find out more

Cairns Sunland Leisure Park 48 km

Located in suburban Cairns, this park is easily accessible and is a good base to spend a few days. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Lake Placid Tourist Park 49 km

This park is about 10 km north-west of Cairns, on the bank of the Barron River. Enjoy the covered barbecue area, and the Skyrail terminal, a major attraction, is nearby. Bookings are required in peak periods and a... Find out more

Innot Hot Springs and Leisure Park 51 km

Located in the centre of the small township, this place has good facilities and the local hotel is just a short walk away. A relaxing dip in the spring-fed pools in the park is most enjoyable at the end of the day.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Atherton Rainforest Motor Inn

Five of the 33 motel rooms here have kitchens for self-catering. The accommodation is set pleasantly in 2 hectares of gardens adjoining the Tolga Rainforest. Cooked breakfasts and evening meals can be delivered to rooms.... Find out more

The Summit Rainforest Retreat

Because it is also suitable for small conferences, the retreat has a varied and interesting range of accommodation, from a one-bedroom apartment to a five-bedroom home with a conference room, and a Queenslander-style... Find out more

Barking Owl Retreat

This wonderfully named property contains two self-contained cottages: Dingo’s Lair and Owl’s Hollow. The cottages are spaced well apart and set in 16 hectares of property in a valley on the edge of the... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

The Canopy, near Malanda 21 km

Located at Tarzali, this place comprises six beautiful glass and timber treehouses set in 40 hectares of rainforest that has never been logged, with Lumholtz tree-kangaroos creeping around, green ringtail possums,... Find out more

Possum Valley Rainforest Cottages 23 km

Near Millaa Millaa, the two secluded bush cabins here, on 62 hectares of bushland and rainforest, can sleep up to eight people each, and are completely powered by solar technology and a small water turbine in Possum... Find out more

Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat 24 km

By renting out nine elegant eco-accredited treehouses (near Malanda), the owners have funded a massive weed-clearing and revegetation program – including planting 20 000 trees – on their 92-hectare property,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Gordonvale park area 38 km

33km N of Babinda (R) or 27km S of Cairns (L)

Just off the highway at the Mulgrave River.

The Boulders camping area 43 km

T/O at Babinda

Small campground located 6km west of the highway via the main street. Near a picnic area in the rainforest. Limited sites.

Babinda rest area 49 km

T/O at Babinda

Secluded area on a riverbank located 500m south-east of the highway via the old Bruce Hwy.

What's on around town

VP60 Celebrations: military parade; Aug.

Maize Festival: Aug.

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