© Cairns Backpackers Guide 2013
Cairns Backpackers Guide
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A   typical   day   trip   will   set   you   back   anywhere   from   $85   to   $160   and   the   content will   differ   depending   on   the   tour.   The   following   list   is   in   order   from   the   cheapest tour. Captain Matty’s Barefoot tours             Another hightly recommended tour and at a great price. This tour is  “all about relaxing and having a you beaut day out with no time restrictions’’ so most backpackers would find this tour to be just the thing. Tropics Explorer Tablelands Tour             This tour is an absolute bargain and good fun as well. Wait a while Wildlife Tour The only way you will see lots of native rainforest wildlife without hijacking a uni zoology field trip. See column on left for more info.
There are 5 or 6 waterfalls on the tablelands, but by far and away the best one is Milla Milla Falls (pictured right). It is a great place to get skimpy and wet especially in the summer months. In the winter the water gets mighty chilly but that doesn’t stop the scandinavian backpackers all whom seem intent on swimming behind the falls. All of the tours go here.
Atherton   Tablelands   is   about   an   hour   drive   west   of   Cairns   and   is   a   great   place   to   not   just   see some   rainforest,   but   also   cool   off   in   the   lakes   or   waterfalls,   something   not   easily   accessible   in Cape   Trib.   In   fact,   it   makes   sense   to   do   the   Tablelands   rather   than   Cape   Trib   if   you   are   here during   the   wet   season   not   just   so   that   you   can   take   a   dip,   but   also   because   Cape   Trib   gets   so much   rain   in   the   wet   season   it’s   not   funny.      Here   are   the   main attractions of the Tablelands The curtain fig tree (right) The Cathedral fig tree Lake Eacham and Barrine. Both have walks, Eacham is best for swimming, Barrine has a boat cruise $15). Milla Milla falls (and other waterfalls) Paronella Park (photo below). Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walk The Tablelands really do lend themselves to the option of renting a car and not worrying about a tour. The roads are easy to navigate (although you will have to drive on steep mountain roads with many bends) and a day trip is not too rushed. Make sure you get an early start though if you choose this option. It is best to drive up the Gillies highway and back down the same way or back via the Palmerston Highway (allow more time).  Having said that though the cheapest tour is only about $85/person so this is a hassle free way of seeing all the Tablelands has to offer.
It was originally built 80 odd years ago by a Spanish settler for his not so beautiful wife. It comprises romantic gardens including the tunnel of love , Kauri Pine Avenue and concrete picnic tables (moss covered) by the river. The castle side of it is just as awe inspiring including the grand staircase, the theatre room and tea house.  If you are self driving entry is about $40. The 2 main lakes on the Tablelands are Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham. They are both volcanic crater lakes with clear blue water surrounded by rainforest. Lake Eachem is perfect for swimming whilst Lake Barrine runs boat cruises on the lake and has the tea house (perfect lunch stop). There are rainforest walks around both, and Barrine has 2 of the biggest Kauri pines you will ever see. All fo the tours go to one or the other of the lakes.   TIt is very hard to see rainforest wildlife as they are all pretty much nocturnal. You really need to go on tour like the Wait a While Wildlife Tour . Animals you can expect to see are: Platypus (98% success rate!) Possums Bandicoots Flying foxes Pademelons (rainforest wallabys) Plus a whole lot more you might see if you are lucky such as tree kangaroos and bettongs
Take a tour or rent a car? Best day tours on the Tablelands for backpackers The Lakes The waterfalls Wildlife Get the cheapest rental car now! Paronella Park Find out more Find out more
If you have the time and money you really should haul your ass to Paronella Park. It is just a magical, enchanting mix of jungle and concrete architecture.