Atherton Tablelands – waterfalls and historic villages

Enzo at Zillie Falls

The Atherton Tablelands is a beautiful part of Queensland where rich farmlands are interspersed with national parks, tropical rainforest, lakes and waterfalls. The National Parks are inaccessible to dogs, but other areas were very dog friendly making for a mixed Enzotraveldog experience.

Millaa Millaa

Named from the local Aboriginal term for ‘lots of water’, Millaa Millaa is famous for waterfalls. It has a nice main street centred around Tobins General Store where you can get pretty much anything you need. After walking the ‘CBD’ the folks stopped for coffee and cake at Barrista in the Mist a great little coffee shop with gluten free cakes; they even had lactose free milk! ‘Dog’s OK on the verandah’? ‘Of course, no worries’.

We checked into the Millaa Millaa Tourist Park, a quiet cool green and shady spot with excellent telephone and TV reception for the folks to catch up on work and Formula 1.

The Waterfall Circuit

The caravan park provided a local waterfall guide on check-in. We tried to do all the waterfalls in a day. Oops – spreading them over two days may have been wiser. Generally speaking, the falls in National Parks were ‘no dogs’ but had good paths while those not in NP were dog friendly but down goat tracks.

Millaa Millaa Falls, not dog friendly but clearly visible from the lower car park, so I checked it out from the van while the folks went closer to take photos.

Millaa Millaa Falls
Millaa Millaa Falls is 18.3 metres in height.  It is a popular swimming spot with, 2 car parks, toilets, BBQs and a picnic area.

Zillie Falls was dog friendly with a slippery goat track down to the lower view. Good shoes and no Zimmer frames for humans. Great track for dogs!

Zillie Falls
Zillie Falls, taken from the top of the track
Zillie Falls, taken from the bottom of the track
Zillie Falls, taken from the bottom of the track

Elinjja Falls, National Park again, I had to wait for the photos to see this one.

Ellinjaa Falls
Ellinjaa Falls. Turtles and platypus can often be seen here.

We drove the Old Palmerston Hwy to Ravenshoe through beautiful, lush dairy farming land, to see the Pepina Falls, smaller but nice. Dog friendly, but down the roughest of all the goat tracks.

Ziggy travelling down Old Palmerston Highway
The Old Palmerston Highway was a single lane road and a bit of an adventure for Ziggy.
Cows in a paddock
The cows have the best view.
Pepina Falls
Pepina Falls, smallish waterfall, but very peaceful location.


Ravenshoe is Queensland’s highest town. Home to historic pubs, a big wind farm, a steam train and Millstream Falls, the ‘widest falls in Australia’. We were suffering waterfall fatigue by the time we got there but the town walk was great.

Ravenshoe Hotel

Ravenshoe Steam Railway

On the way back, Millaa Millaa Lookout had great views over the Atherton Tablelands. It’s the view you see in all the brochures!

Millaa Millaa Lookout
Millaa Millaa Lookout


Herberton was a nice town not too far from camp and home to the Herberton Historic Village. This is a vast collection of 50 old buildings, and numerous machinery and memorabilia. Not normally the folks ‘cup of tea’ but this one was exceptional AND dogs welcome everywhere in the complex. It took us about two hours to get around it all, but we could easily have spent twice as long. Amazing old smells everywhere!  Certainly worth the drive.

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BIG4 NRMA Atherton Tablelands Holiday Park is a great dog friendly park, just out of town. It rained for two days while we were there. Apparently, that’s normal for Atherton! I did a bit of ‘guarding the van’ outside the local art galleries. The rain eased while the Sparrow was in the IGA and the Silverback and I walked around the shops. I even went in a couple of op-shops with him for a sniff about. On the way back to the van we noticed a sign declaring the whole shopping strip a dog free zone! Oops, too late, no one seemed too worried about it. I guess they knew we were ‘from away’.


On the way off the tablelands, the folks went to see The Curtain Fig, in the aptly named Curtain Fig National Park. Naturally, I guarded the van for that one.

Morton Bay fig tree with a unique arrangement of aerial roots that form a curtain of roots
One tree falling against another lead to this interesting arrangement of aerial roots.

Curtain Fig with aerial roots hanging down in a wide curtain

We also stopped for a town walk at the very quaint Yungaburra, this is a National Trust village, circa 1900, with timber guest houses, craft shops and a beautiful old pub.

Yungaburra Main Street

Last of all, the drive towards Cairns, along Gillies Range Road through the Gadgarra Forrest Reserve and National Park was a treat.

view over the valley coming down from the Tablelands

Despite having to negotiate a few dog restrictions, we had a great time. There is clearly a lot more to see on the Atherton Tablelands and I am sure we will be back.

3 thoughts on “Atherton Tablelands – waterfalls and historic villages

  1. I love to think back to our days in Atherton, in the Tablelands. When it got dark, before dinner, we strolled comfortably through the “town”. It was boring, but there were two men who excitedly pointed to the sky. Otherwise we would have missed the mile-long exodus of the bats. Unbelievable, after a quarter of an hour there was still no end, but we were hungry and returned to the hotel. The next day we visited the nearby and have known since then that we saw flying dogs. This clinic is worth supporting.
    Have a good trip R. + F.

  2. What a wonderful place to be visiting – so good that there are so many dog friendly places too!
    Ziggy seems to be doing a grand job!

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