Tablelands Region Guide

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KURANDA RANGE
KURANDA RANGE
VIEW FROM KURANDA RANGE LOOKOUT
VIEW FROM KURANDA RANGE LOOKOUT
BARRON RIVER
BARRON RIVER
BARRON FALLS
BARRON FALLS
BARRON GORGE
BARRON GORGE
GILLIES RANGE
GILLIES RANGE
DAIRY FARM IN MALANDA
DAIRY FARM IN MALANDA
MILLA MILLA FALLS ON THE WATERFALL CIRCUIT
MILLA MILLA FALLS ON THE WATERFALL CIRCUIT
ROAD SIDE FRUIT STALL
ROAD SIDE FRUIT STALL

Tablelands Self Drive

Updated: 28-Feb-2007

Self Drive the Tablelands
Self driving the Tablelands is highly recommended as this provides greater flexibility, with more options to be able to visit all the main attractions as well as some of the region's best kept secrets!

There is an excellent road network, healthy rural towns for shopping and supplies, and plenty of accommodation options to choose from.

The Tablelands are accessible from the coast via four major highways: the Palmerston Highway near Innisfail; the Gillies Highway near Gordonvale; the Kennedy Highway which passes through Kuranda and Smithfield to the north of Cairns; and the Rex Range Road near Mossman.

Kuranda Highway:
The Kuranda Highway is a gentle road and a pleasure to drive. Just north of Cairns City you will need to take the turnoff at the Smithfield Shopping Centre roundabout. This is the very start of the Kuranda Range Highway. As you climb the range you will travel through lush, green rainforest. The views of the Coral Sea are spectacular.
At the top of the range is the village of Kuranda, but if you continue on your drive for a further 30 minutes you will eventually reach Mareeba. The flora along this road varies from thick rainforest to Australian scrub.

If you intend to continue past Mareeba, you will turn left at the major intersection. This long straight road will take you to the tiny township of Tolga, and then onto Atherton or Lake Tinaroo.

Along the Kennedy Highway between Kuranda and Mareeba are Davies Creek National Park and Emerald Creek Falls, both of which are set in the drier eucalypt forests and granite boulders of the Lamb Range.

Gillies Highway:
This route from Cairns to the Tablelands will take you up the Gillies Highway through the luscious rainforest. The Gillies Highway ascends the mountain ranges starting at the small town of Gordonvale (30km south of Cairns). Over the next 30 kilometres you climb some 600-1000 metres to the Atherton Tablelands encountering spectacular lookouts along the way which enable you to take in the view of the valleys deep in the Great Dividing Range.

From Port Douglas, Mossman or Daintree Rainforest:
The Rex Range is regarded as the most beautiful ways to travel to the Atherton Tablelands. This road begins at the base of the mountains near Port Douglas (69km north of Cairns), so it is ideal if you’re visiting Port Douglas in the morning and then intend to head up the mountains in the afternoon. Alternatively, you could make this trip in reverse.

Just south of Mossman, 12 kilometres north of Port Douglas, the Rex Highway will take you through the Mossman sugar cane paddocks before climbing the Rex Range to Julatten and Mt Molloy. It is a 75 kilometre trip to Mareeba.

From Innisfail:
Starting at Innisfail (93km south of Cairns), the Palmerston Highway stretches through rich Wet Tropics rainforests of Johnstone River Valley to Millaa Millaa. Picnic areas, waterfalls and spectacular lookouts can be found along the way. Although this is the longest route from Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands, many people beli

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