Quiet, restful, beautiful, varied – the Atherton Tablelands, 90km southwest of Cairns, rise up from 500m to 1200m above sea level. It’s an area rich in natural beauty and boasts several unspoilt, charming, historic towns such as Atherton, Kuranda, Tolga, Kairi and Tinaroo.

The area sits on rich, red volcanic soil and has an abundance of natural attractions such as waterfalls, scenic views, walking tracks, deep rainforest, native animals and prime agricultural land. The Tablelands are unique in that they provide visitors with modern facilities and natural splendour, all in the same, relaxed package.

Did you know?
The Kuranda Scenic Railway winds its way through 15 tunnels and over 37 bridges, through deep rainforest, over steep ravines and raging rivers and streams into the centre of the Tablelands from Cairns, the gateway to the rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef.

An engineering feat opened in 1891, the railway determined the future of two ports – Port Douglas and Cairns. Had the railways gone to Port Douglas, it wouldn’t be the little retreat it is today.

How to get there
Qantas and Virgin Blue offer regular flights to Cairns from most major cities in Australia.

For driving routes see the website with the Atherton Tablelands online booking service and visitor information below.

Best time to go

Further information
Useful websites:


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Atherton Tablelands online booking service and visitor information

Official Kuranda Scenic Railway website

** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.

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