Barron Gorge National Park has great cultural and historical significance, with dramatic scenery and World Heritage-listed rainforest. The local Aboriginal people developed trails through the area, which later became the first pack routes used by Europeans to link the hinterland goldfields to the coast. Today, you can walk the same trails for pleasure! Walk to a lookout to view Barron Falls (spectacular after good rainfall). Take the Skyrail cableway for views over the forest canopy and out to the coast. Jump aboard the famous Kuranda railway as it winds past ravines and picturesque waterfalls. Explore the rainforest along the walking tracks from Speewah or Kamerunga. Join a white-water rafting tour for an up-close experience of the river.
The Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve is set on 200 acres of open bush land, 40 kilometres west of Cairns. It is home to many of the world's exotic and endangered animals. They have the largest pride of lions in Australasia with 25 in total on the property. They also have Common Hippopotamus, Pigmy Hippopotamus, White Rhinoceros, Syrian Brown Bears, Sumatran Tigers, Bengal Tigers, Cheetahs, Servals, Otters, Ostriches, Deer, Reptiles and many species of Monkeys.
In the Chillagoe-Mungana National Park, dry tropical open woodlands hide underground caves of breathtaking natural beauty. Pockets of deciduous vine thicket cling to jagged limestone outcrops. Laid down 400 million years ago, the limestone has been weathered, dissolved and reformed by water to create caverns and passages of significant natural and cultural heritage value. Join a ranger on a guided cave tour to view splendid limestone formations. You can also explore some of the caves on your own. Visit Balancing Rock, an impressive tower karst (limestone pillar). Walk the nine kilometre return track to Royal Arch Bluff, looking for wallabies and birds. Drive the historic interpretive trail at the Chillagoe Smelters.
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.
High in the Lamb Range, Dinden National Park protects rainforest and eucalypt woodland. The clear waters of Davies Creek flow over smooth granite boulders and make a refreshing place to relax. Picnic or bush camp beside Davies Creek. Spend a day climbing to Kahlpahlim Rock (Lamb Range
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.
Eubenagee Swamp National Park
In Malanda Falls Conservation Area, the North Johnstone River flows through dense rainforest, tumbling over Malanda Falls into an artificial swimming pool. The Ngadjon Jii is the Traditional Owners of this area. Have a picnic and take a dip in the pool. Follow the easy one kilometre Tulip Oak walk beside the river and through the rainforest. Watch for platypus from the viewing platforms. Keep an eye out for secretive tree-kangaroos, sometimes seen here. Learn about the region at the Malanda Falls Wet Tropics Visitor Centre.
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.
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.