If you want to make the most of your car rental Cairns – what about a road trip to the Atherton Tablelands? Located 1 to 2 hours west of Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands includes the two major towns of Atherton and Mareeba, but also Kuranda, Herberton, Walkamin and Chillagoe. So if you’re ready to organise your car hire Cairns, let’s check out what’s on offer in the Atherton Tablelands.
The town of Atherton is a 80 minute drive west from Cairns car rental, whether you head north via Smithfield, Mareeba and Walkamin or south via Gordonvale, Goldsborough and Yungaburra. Atherton is a quiet little town with great parks and picnic areas.
Built by Rene and Nelleke Boissevain from 1987 to 1992, the Crystal Caves are located in Main Street, Atherton. They offer 300 square metres of tunnels, grottos and crawlspaces with a treasure trove of natural crystals and fossils on display.
Just a 10 minute drive in your Cairns car rental from the Crystal Caves you’ll find Gallo Dairyland. Enjoy a scrumptious cheese platter, burger or home-made pie, quiche and salad in their café. Pop into their shop and buy hand-crafted chocolates and watch their herd of 200 Holstein-Friesian cows being milked twice a day!
Kuranda is a short 35 minute drive north-west in your hire car Cairns, but if you’re heading back from Atherton, it’s a 60 minute drive north-east. Kuranda is a small mountain village, surrounded by World-Heritage rainforest and is known for its shopping, dining, galleries, walking tracks, river tours, wildlife and fabulous scenery.
A 7 minute drive from the centre of Kuranda, along the Kennedy HWY and across the Barron River will find you at the Rainforestation Nature Park (it’s also a 28 minute drive from Cairns car rental). Home to the Army Duck Rainforest Tours (land and water), the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience and the Koala & Wildlife Park, Rainforestation is definitely worth a visit!
A 12 minute drive west from the Rainforestation Nature Park, back along the Kennedy HWY and recrossing the river brings you to KUR-Cow Barnwell Farm (it’s also 40 minutes from Cairns). Offering a real-world, interactive cattle mustering experience with horse riding, ATVs and a sunset dinner or Wagyu BBQ, everyone loves a trip to Kur Cow Barnwell Farm!
A leisurely 60 minute drive west from Cairns car rental brings you to Mareeba, a lovely rural town on the Atherton Tablelands. Best known for its coffee plantations and rodeos, Mareeba is often used as a base to further explore the region.
Whether you’re staying overnight in Mareeba or driving from Cairns, the best way to start your day is with Atherton Tablelands Hot Air Ballooning! Meet at the Mareeba Heritage Centre (just off Byrnes Street) at 4.40am and enjoy the experience of flying over the Atherton Tablelands as dawn breaks!
Head south-west from Cairns car hire for just over an hour (via Mareeba) or south from Mareeba for 14 minutes and you will arrive in Walkamin. With a population that’s less than 500, this is a quiet rural town that has a great caravan park and the most awarded distillery in far north Queensland.
Located just 5 minutes from the centre of Walkamin, the Mt Uncle Distillery is famous for its whiskey, gin and vodka. Established in 2001 and sourcing ingredients from the local area, this distillery has built a solid reputation for its quality liqueurs and spirits. Check out their cellar door and take a guided tour of the distillery, before leaving armed with a selection of your favourites!
Another 30 minutes’ drive time in your car hire cairns and heading south from Walkamin, 90 minutes from Cairns via Mareeba or 100 minutes from Cairns via Gordonvale brings you to Herberton. The main drawcard for this old mining town is the Historic Village & Museum.
This is an outstanding collection of over 60 original buildings that were all relocated on the edge of the town to form the Historic Village. Includes a school, bank, coach and livery stable, miner’s hut, fully restored rail ambulance, and much more. It’s a treasure trove of Australiana and the perfect spot for history buffs.
Just over a 2 hour drive west from Herberton in your car rental cairns or 2½ hours from Cairns, brings you to the mining town of Chillagoe with a population of less than 300. Once a thriving mining town, it now supports a small zinc mine and marble quarries.
Once an ancient coral reef, Chillagoe now hosts spectacular limestone bluffs with more than 500 caves, hence the popularity of the Chillagoe Caves. Featuring a spectacular landscape with old mines and a plethora of wildlife, the Chillagoe Caves guided tours provide a fantastic opportunity to walk through stalagmites and stalactites, karst formations, calcite crystals and much more. You’ll need to hire our Raptor to get there, however, due to the nature of the tracks.
To find out more about car rental Cairns, contact us today on 0447 809 899.