The Curtain Fig National Park contains the renowned Curtain Fig Tree, an enormous strangler fig tree. Located a short drive out of Yungaburra, a small town in the Atherton Tableland, the giant tree has several aerial roots hanging down from its branches that look like curtains. It's over 500 years old and definitely worth a look! There
Danbulla National Park and State Forest is a spectacular part of the Atherton Tableland, encompassing eucalypt and acacia forests, pine plantations and rainforest; also crater lakes, walks and places of local history and interest. The park and State forest covers 12,000 hectares between Tinaroo and Lamb ranges and borders Lake Tinaroo. Choose a camp site at one of six camping areas. Enjoy a short walk through upland rainforest to Mobo Creek crater or take time to marvel at the enormity and age of the cathedral fig tree.
At Emerald Creek, Dinden State Forest, the waters of Emerald Creek tumble down a granite rock face, forming the picturesque Emerald Creek Falls. Smooth-barked water gums with graphically twisted trunks create a natural arch above the creek. Bottlebrush trees, with red flowers in season, sprout from between the rocks. Dragonflies and damselflies hover around the water. Picnic in the day-use area beside the creek. Follow the easy one kilometre track to the falls through dry open forest characterised by eucalypts, acacias and grevilleas, with pandanus trees in the moister gullies.
Hallorans Hill Lookout is an ideal spot for a barbecue or picnic, watching the sunset or just enjoying the view of the surrounding areas, farmland and rolling hills. The best way to enjoy this is to start from the Environmental Park on Louise Street, follow the walking track right to the top of the hill. Best times are early morning or late afternoon when you can watch the sun set. Walking track takes approximately two hours return.
Hallorans Hills Conservation Park protects eucalypt forest and a remnant of the endangered mabi forest on an extinct volcanic cone. The cone is part of the legacy of the tableland's fiery geological past.
Hasties Swamp is a large seasonal wetland renowned for its diverse range of resident and migratory birds. A two-storey bird hide has wheelchair access and is big enough to hold a school group. Observe the birds from the comfort of the hide, using the signs as a guide to species identification. At least 220 bird species have been recorded, mainly in the wetland and open woodland.
Atherton Chinatown is the Award-winning site of the unique Hou Wang Temple and interpretive museum. Located just over a scenic hours drive south west of Cairns, the National Trust of Queensland property ensures visitors of a fascinating insight into part of North Queensland's history and heritage. The site was chosen by the Chinese settlers during the 1800s. The temple is the only one of its type remaining and the only temple dedicated to Hou Wang outside of China still existing. It has an ornate interior with original wood carvings that can be seen during the guided tour of the property.
Kahlpahlim Rock, also known as Lambs Head, is the highest point in the Lamb Range and presents a challenging adventure for the experienced bushwalker. The sheer size of the rocks and the views over the Davies Creek catchment, if the weather is clear, are impressive.
Lake Barrine, in Crater Lakes National Park, is a maar: a crater lake formed by volcanic explosions. The surrounding rainforest is typical of that found on fertile red basalt soils in high rainfall areas. In several places, large kauri pines emerge through the canopy
Plunging over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow, Big Millstream Falls is reputedly the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia. Lying in the rain shadow of the eastern dividing ranges, the dry open woodland here is in stark contrast with the rainforest which is only kilometres away. This area is rich in World War II history. Picnic in the shady day-use area among the blue gums and ironbarks, or walk down to the viewing area above Millstream Falls. At Little Millstream Falls, enjoy a different perspective by walking the narrow path to the base of the falls.
Mount Hypipamee National Park is centred around a diatreme (a volcanic pipe or vent) thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion. The gaping hole is 70 metres wide with steep granite sides that plunge 58 metres to the lake below. The lake itself is 82 metres deep! The park protects unique high-altitude rainforest and is World Heritage listed. Picnic in the rainforest then walk 400 metres to the viewing deck over the diatreme. Return along the 1.2 kilometre Dinner Falls track. Look for golden bowerbirds, spotted catbirds and riflebirds. Go spotlighting to see green, lemuroid and Herbert River ringtail possums, and long-nosed bandicoots.
The Hypipamee crater is referred to as a volcanic pipe. The pipe was opened upward through surface rocks by gas produced from molten rock below and as a result of tremendous pressure, the vent exploded sending volcanic bombs far across the landscape. It has a diameter of 61 metres at the water level which is 58 metres below the platform. Even 85 metres below the water surface, the pipe hasn't lost any of its dimensions. Approximately 10 minute on concrete path to the Crater and the choice of taking the 'natural' path along to see the different levels of Dinner Falls. Free spotlighting nights are regularly held here as there is an abundance of wildlife throughout the park.
Enjoy an intriguing insight into the world of bats. The Bat Hospital Visitor Centre has Advanced Ecotourism accreditation and offers a unique 'up close and personal' wildlife experience just outside Atherton. You will meet about ten species of bats. Some will be the small insectivorous microbats that you can sometimes see in the wild at nearby Undara and Paronella Park. Others are the larger fruit and nectar eating megabats like the flying foxes. The Visitor Centre experience includes a short video about the work of the hospital, and world-class interpretive signage.
Wongabel State Forest protects a remnant of the endangered mabi forest, less than two per cent of which now remains. In 1903, red cedar seedlings were planted in the forest to replace mature trees which had been logged. Commercial plantations of hoop, kauri and Caribbean pine now grow beside native forest. Enjoy a 750 metre return walk through the forest or take the longer 2.5 kilometre route. Both tracks have been designed with consideration for walkers who are vision impaired. Braille booklets and audio headsets are available from the visitor centre in Atherton. Both tracks are also wheelchair accessible, but assistance may be required for the longer walk.