Atherton township is one of the most visited place in Tablelands. With surrounded by lavish vegetation makes it the food bowl of Far North Queensland  

Atherton, the heart of Tablelands and the surrounding areas

One thing for certain about visiting Atherton town is the lively and welcoming people. The best thing  about this place once you enter the area is the captivating lifestyle, absorbing history, colourful markets, picturesque tropical landscapes, lush mountain views, idyllic and dynamic township. Atherton Tablelands is exceptionally popular with retirees looking for a more layback, quite, cooler and enriching lifestyle. It also lends itself to ease of travel to any of the wonderful tourist attractions within short distance scenic drives.

Atherton lookout: View of farmlands

Known as the food bowl of Cairns Tropical North Queensland, the local markets in this beautiful town of Atherton, have just about every vegetable or herb that you could want. With its rich, fertile soil, the area is home to many exotic fruits and nuts, dairy farms, tea houses and cafes. It has the abundance of fresh and locally produced vegetables which are so fresh from the farm lands. It is no wonder that there is a great number of food and wine festivals and tours that are very popular among locals and visitors to the region. 

Things to see and do

One of my favourite past-time in Tablelands is visiting the local markets. Each small towns in Tablelands has their market days every weekend on the calendar month. You will never get bored each time you visit the Tablelands. Always make sure to check your calendar which town has the market day. 

One of my favourite markets in Tablelands is the market at Tolga. It has its market day on the first Sunday of the month while Atherton’s market day is second Sunday. Tolga market is very popular among locals around Tablelands region and day visitors from Mossman-Port Douglas to Cairns and south to Innisfail. This market has the largest outdoor market in Atherton Tablelands. One of the best thing about why I love and enjoy this market so much is the abundance of locally produced vegetables that are sold right here from the farmlands nearby. The taste of each exotic fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts are endless. I have found out that, every vegetables and fruits sold here are fresh and most of them are organically grown. Yes, there is always a bargaining when it comes to buying anything but most of them are reasonably priced and you will walk away happy without having any second thought on being ripped off.

Local Markets

View of some fruit and vegetable stalls
View of other stalls
View of market stalls
Vegetables and fruits
Fruits (pineapple and pawpaws)
Plants for sale at the market

If your not busy indulging yourself among many of the endless line of fruit and vegetable stalls, you may want to relax with a cup of locally produced coffee while entertained by local buskers who are there to showcase their skills in entertaining their visitors to the region, especially to the market visitors. There is plenty of activities for any market goers and am sure that you won’t be disappointed and leave the region satisfied.

Local buskers

However, there is so much more to Atherton than just gastronomic delights. One of the most interesting things that always amazes me when I visit the Atherton Tablelands region is that some of the surrounding areas of Atherton is the incredible diversity of the area – from rolling green hills to arid landscape, waterfalls, and popular recreational lakes. This means that the day trip to the area from Cairns, Port Douglas and Innisfail is going to be a very busy one.

To fully feel this beautiful part of the countryside, you really need to stay a couple of nights or more to really explore the vast region properly. Whether you plan to stay in motels in Atherton township or charming cottages in Yungaburra, about 10 minutes drive out of Atherton or even camping at Lake Tinaroo or Yungaburra-Lake Tinaroo camping grounds, there is plenty of accommodations to suit your budget.

Some of my favourite places that I visited many times and I highly recommend visitors to the region to see are:

1. Waterfalls: Malanda Waterfalls, MillaMilla Waterfalls

2. Dam: Tinaroo dam

3. Recreational areas: Tinaroo and Yungaburra recreational areas by the lakeside

4. Herberton Historical Village

5. Hasting Swamp – Bird watchers paradise, just outside Atherton township

6. Curtain Fig Tree at Yungaburra

7. Lakes: Lake Tinaroo, Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham

8. Gallos Cheese Factory – Located between Malanda and Atherton

9. Lookouts: MillaMilla Lookout, Atherton township Lookout and Gillies Lookout

From personal perspective: Travelling does broaden our mind but to fully understand and appreciate the area we are visiting, it is vital to spend more than one night to really explore the area, especially your visiting a small regional or country town area.

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