Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls Day Tour from Cairns
World Heritage Wet Tropics Rainforest, Tropical North Queensland
The Barefoot Rundown:
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- Person Ages 12+
Welcome to Barefoot Tours’ Rainforest & Waterfalls Day Tour in the Atherton Tablelands. We are a small group tours’ experience with Full day tours leaving from Cairns to the Queensland National Parks.
Located at an hour’s drive to south-west of Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland, lies the cooler-climate of The Atherton Tablelands that accents of a wide variety of landscapes and attractions. A region that changes from agricultural land, to scrub forest, to ancient rainforests, it is definitely a natural wonder which is worth exploring. Sometimes if we are lucky, we can spot the famous cassowaries which is the flightless birds or Tree Kangaroos (endemic to the Wet Tropics) or other Australian Wildlife. Everything from ranges and waterfalls, to spectacular national parks and tea plantations, make the Atherton Tableland Tour a must do for any adventurer heading to Cairns.
Why should I come on tour with Barefoot Tours?
We have a cheeky, slightly non-PC style of humour and enjoy some good banter. If you want a variety of scenery, love the outdoors, want to take some refreshing swims, up for a bit of an adventure but don’t want to feel rushed… then welcome aboard!
Let us take you on an adventure through the mountain ranges, through World Heritage listed Rainforest (older than South Americas Amazon Rainforest), across a variety of nature and beauty. We’ll show you all the best things to do in the tropical oasis of the Atherton Tablelands, from taking a dip at some of Cairns most epic waterfalls (like Millaa Millaa falls, Ellinjaa falls, Dinner falls, Zillie falls, Nandroya falls) to sliding down the natural rock slide at Josephine falls, to exploring the mystic curtain of roots set by a half a century old Curtain Fig tree, and swimming in the volcanic crater lake known as Lake Eacham.
Our itinerary isn’t set, whilst we have the main locations, we do each day, we change things around, add things in, do it backwards or whatever way we think will be best. Each day is catered to our groups, what you feel like doing, how long you feel like staying, the weather and a little bit on what our guides feel like doing too…
If you’re up for a bit of fun, want to explore the falls’ & the forest, then bring your friends or family or come alone, make new friends and have an amazing time of your life with Barefoot Tours.
At the start of the Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls Circuit in the Crater Lake National Park is a Clear, blue lake surrounded by lush rainforest. Lake Eacham offers swimming, bird watching, canoeing, picnic areas and much more. Take your morning tea by enjoying forest-fringed views of the lake along with the company of some wildlife. There are over 180 bird species recorded in the rainforest, and you might even get lucky to see the small musky rat kangaroo as well. Lake Eacham is a volcanic crater lake. Click here to go to the gallery.
Curtain Fig Tree or Cathedral Fig Tree
One of our first spots of the tour stands tall just a few kilometres from the township of Yungaburra, the famous Curtain Fig Tree. With simply majestic visuals, this is a mighty monster of the ancient Mabi rainforest. Estimated to be over 500 years old, Curtain Fig Tree and the Cathedral Fig Tree is just over 50 meters tall with a trunk circumference of 39. It is one of the iconic tourists sightseeing attractions in the Atherton Tableland and said to be some of the inspiration beind the movie Avatar… These stranger fig trees’ grow from the sky down to the ground – find out more on tour! Click here to go to the gallery
Millaa Millaa Falls
Located on the waterfall circuits, these magnificent waterfalls are surrounded by lush rainforest. The waterfall soars around 18 meters skywards and you can find a pool at the base which makes it a perfect spot for an afternoon dip. Here you are able to swim right underneath the waterfalls and you can climb behind the waterfalls to enjoy the other side… Millaa Millaa falls is apparently where a bunch of 90’s TV commericals were filmed like Herbal Essence & Timotei shampoo ads. Relive those naughty 90’s with the classicly cheesy hair flick photos. Due to its aesthetic appeal and iconic representation, it has become one of the most famous waterfalls in the Atherton Tableland. These falls haven’t changed at all over the past century, which makes it an area rich in history and natural beauty. You might even get lucky to catch a glimpse of platypus. Click here to go to the gallery
The beauty of Josephine Falls offers whiffs of exoticism. Crystal clear water, Wet Tropics Rainforest, natural waterslides and large boulders to relax on, sounds like a dream, right? That is how Josephine falls are. One of our favourite freshwater swimming holes in the Wooroonooran National Park (pronounced Ooo-roo-nooran). Josephine falls boasts of a series of fun, cascading falls, surrounded by forest and a natural waterslide into the bottom pool area. This feshwater swimming spot is made fresh from the rain from our highest peak at Bartle Frere in the rocky mountains above. Memories of afternoon tea at this delightful swimming spot are going to be with you for a long time. Click here to go to the gallery
Henry Ross Lookout, Crawfords Lookout, Millaa Lookout, Gillies Lookout & the Tea Plantation – depends on the weather and timings of the day but we usually like to visit at least one or two of these beauties. Click here to go to the gallery
- Malanda Falls
- Malanda is a small county town and is partially surrounded by rainforest. The town is famous for its Malanda falls that are at the edge of the town and give great visual treats. We’ll stop here ocassionaly to pick up fresh food for our picnic lunch. You will also find local wildlife including many species of rare rainforest animals and birds such as tree climbing kangaroos, platypus and cassowary.
- Ellinjaa & Zillie Falls
- Both these waterfalls are located not too far from Millaa Millaa falls. Zillie falls is only accessabile in the dry season when most of the other waterfalls are just a drizzle, for this reason they are both on the occassional list of places we might visit. Ellinjaa falls is about a 20mins walk from the car park, it is a ledge waterfall with a small swimming lagoon below it.
- Henrietta Creek – Nandroya Falls, Wallaicher Falls, Tchulapala Falls & Silver Falls
- Henrietta Creek is a camping ground just off the Palmerston highway and is the base area for any of these waterfalls located around an hours hike in opposite directions from the creek. We occassionally will have lunch at Henrietta Creek, go for a refreshing swim in the creek before carrying onto to other waterfalls. Depending on the group or the day we have explored and swam at Nandroyer falls, Tchulapala falls etc. but it does have to be with the right crowd and decent shoes on the day.
- Dinner Falls & The Crater at Mt Hypipamee
- Located in the Mt Hypipamee National Park, The Crater & Dinner Falls are sometimes our picnic lunch spot. There is a total of three waterfalls here. The Hypipamee Crater is the main geological feature of this park. This crater was actually a deep crater filled with water and surrounded by cliffs. This is a wonderful place to visit on a warm day. A lovely walk down to the fall leads to a safe swimming hole located at the very base of the waterfall. If you are an adventure loving person you can swim up to the bottom of the fall, making your way along the rocks.
- Babinda Boulders – Devils Pool, Devils lookout, Goldfield tracks
- Babinda Boulders is off the Bruce highway. A beautiful National Park with walking tracks to the lookout, over the Devils Pools, then Babinda Boulders has a picnic area and also two freshwater swimming areas for you to enjoy a relaxing dip.
If you have a specific place you’d like to visit make sure you let our guide know in the morning on the day, so they can plan around it.
- Malanda Falls
- Transfers to/from your Cairns accommodation
- Morning Tea (biscuits, cakes & muffins)
- Stunning lookouts & Great photo opportunities
- Locally grown tea & plunger coffee (not that cheap instant crap)
- Chance to spot rainforest wildlife (cassowaries, tree kangaroos)
- Picnic lunch (fresh bread, salad items, meat & fruit platter)
- Multiple freshwater swimming places including waterfalls & a natural water slide
- Afternoon snack (good ol’ Aussie Tim Tams, quick fruit stop)
- Transfers from Northern beaches as mentioned above and also Port Douglas
- Towels – please bring ya own
- Soft drinks, beers, personal expenses or spending’s
Our tours take a maximum of 20 people each day.
Our tours start around 7:20ish depending on your accommodation and finish sometime between 6 to 7pm – we can’t tell you an exact time as every day is different.
We can drop you off most places around the Cairns CBD – sorry we don’t pick up from the Northern Beaches as we are too lazy and it’s too far away from us, this also includes Port Douglas, Palm Cove, Trinity Park or Beach, Kewarra Beach, and any other “beaches” we missed.
What to bring:
- Towel – to dry yourself with
- Camera – for all those cool photos, don’t rely on our guides, as sometimes it gets messed up (cough: guides)
- Sunnies & hat – to protect yourself from the ozone hole
- Swimmers, boardies, cozzies, bikinis – whatever you like to call them
- Cash – just in case we stop at a tea or banana farm and you want to buy some – they don’t take card
- Water bottle – we have water onboard to refil
- Comfy walking shoes or sandals or flip flops – we usually wear flip flops or barefoot, but we recommend something you are comfy in… You will be in and out of the water, shoes can get wet but thongs can be uncomfy on the longer walk of 600m at Josephine falls
- Maybe something a little warmer in winter, like a dry change of clothes and jumper
- Maximum age = none, if your fit and healthy and up for an adventure then jump on board… We are like a big family by the end of the day, nobody is left out, we’re all valued, and we all have some stories to tell!
- Minimum age – We don’t allow kids under 6 years of age (due to insurance purposes). Our suggestion is 10yrs old or above, as the day is 11 hours long and so for kids this isn’t always suitable. Some kids that love adventure, swimming and nature have an absolute ball on tour with us – and we love their enthusiasm they bring to the group. Whilst other kids are bored or want to go home at 10:30am, or there is no cell reception – so for this kids can think our tour sucks, and we don’t want this to affect our group either. As the parent/caregiver we ask you to self evaluate – is this tour really suitable for us?
If in doubt give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss further, or suggest alternatives for your family.
No, welcome to the rain-forest. Cairns Wet Season typically lasts from December through to about late March, this has changed a bit over the few years with the season having later starts but short answer is no we still run.
Have a positive attitude, it’s better than sitting inside a hotel room for the day, and even if the weather is crappy, at least you’ll see more locations instead! Some of you are only here once, and the rain is a huge part of the Cairns Region, majority of the tour operators adapt to the weather.
- This tour welcomes those aged 10 years and older. No max age limit, but you do need to be fairly fit and healthy and ok on your feet (some of the tracks can be a little tricky otherwise).
- Customers will receive a full refund or credit with 24 hours notice of cancellation. Customers will also receive a full refund or credit in case of operator cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
- Your guarantee is we will only commence a tour with confidence knowing the day will go according to plan. However we cannot predict acts of Gods.We cannot be held responsible for any (abnormal) changes to the tour itinerary. Due to the tour being located in the Wet Tropics region, we encounter a monsoonal Wet season. We cannot compensate for any Acts of god. (Example: Flooded roads, Trees Blocking access roads, Bridges going over with flooded water, Landslides, extremely hot weather, or torrential Rain.) Once you have joined the tour group on the day, we all have committed to the days tour. We will endeavour to deliver a full day of entertainment regardless of the present conditions. We will do our absolute best given any situation.
Eco-friendly Tourism is Responsible Tourism
One of the most satisfying aspects of our work is connecting people with nature, embracing & showing people a deeper understanding within Far North Queensland. Our tour practises are run with, not only the intention of giving you a once in a lifetime experience, but we are also committed to conserving FNQ’s habitat & cultural diversity… We all have an obligation to protect our planet, Barefoot Tours starts with itself, through carbon offsetting, awareness & education on tour ❤