Atherton Tablelands

Australia’s fabulous Atherton Tablelands lie in the beautiful rolling hills behind Cairns, the main city in tropical north Queensland. My initial feel as we reached the top of the range was that I could have quite easily been driving through the countryside in the UK. As we started to explore we realised that the rolling green hills are just a snippet of what The Atherton Tablelands has to offer. Full of stunning waterfalls, rainforest drives, local food factories, fruit farms, country markets and fascinating heritage, there’s a mass of adventure to tackle no matter what your idea of fun is.

The weather is slightly cooler in The Tablelands than in Cairns so there is an abundance of fruit and vegetable farms, making it an absolute haven for overseas travellers on a working holiday visa. If you are considering working on a farm in Far North Queensland then the Tolga Country Lodge is a good starting place to get your foot in the door.

Harvest Seasons:

  • Bananas and Pawpaw (papaya): All year.
  • Avocados: February to May
  • Custard apples: March to July
  • Potatoes: September to December
  • Sugar cane planting: June – November
  • Watermelons, pumpkins: October-December
  • Mangoes: November-March

For more information on Working Holiday visas, including online application go to Australian Government Department Of Immigration.

For locals or travellers this is an ideal side trip from Cairns, Port Douglas or the Daintree, or a great stopover if you’re heading west along the Savannah Way, you can cram lots into a solid three days of exploring.

Most people approach the Tablelands from Cairns, as it’s the closet city and is conveniently positioned on the main coastal highway. From Cairns, you need to follow the Captain Cook Highway, turning onto the Kennedy Highway, which will take you up towards Kuranda. This is an incredibly twisty-turny road so for those of you with a weak stomach I would definitely recommend some travel sickness tablets! The range climbs through the mountain, which has breathtaking views over Cairns. Stop at the lookouts and take in the scenery, notice the instant change of climate. You will feel like you are in the thick of the rainforest, with lush green foliage and the sound of the native wildlife. View Full Post