Trip 20, part 10 – A day out in the Atherton Tablelands

Now we’re on our ‘slow’ way home, we’ve got lots of one day stops in the towns along the way.  The first of which being Atherton, not far from Millaa Millaa where we stayed on the way up.

<< An Azure Kingfisher on the Coen river on our overnight stop on the way south >>

<< Our campsite at the Woodlands Big4 in Atherton, a lovely campground with the best toilet and showers we’ve ever seen whilst camping >>

After pulling in and setting up camp, we did a quick run into town for fuel, supplies, alcohol and hardware to see us through the remainder of the trip, running into Nadine from Pinnarendi Station in Woolworths.  Despite only spending 5 days at Pinnarendi, Nadine quickly recognised us by name and it was lovely to have a quick chat to her and catch up again.  As per our other post, we loved Pinnarendi Station Stay and strongly recommend visiting Nadine if you’re in the area.

Saturday, 15th Sept.  A lazy day today, Rod and BJ opting to stay at camp whilst Jules and I took a short’ish (100km) tour of the area.  First stop the historic mining town of Herberton, which as it was only 8am, was still asleep.  However, it’s a nice little town with a cool looking historic village recreation (which we didn’t go to).

<< A Rainbow Lorikeet on Bottlebrush in Herberton >>

Then it was on to Mt Hypipamee Crater and the Dinner Falls.  Another lovely rainforest walk takes you to the rim of a small, but 70mtr deep, crater that scientists believe was created by a volcanic gas explosion.  The base is filled with water which is another 20’odd metres deep and is home to some endemic species, only found in this crater.  On the way back we looped via the three sets of Dinner Falls on the Barron River, which whilst not as spectacular as some of the other falls we’ve seen, are still nice nonetheless.  Highlights of this little jaunt was seeing a male Scrub Fowl kicking dirt up into his nesting mound, a bandicoot and a very short and stocky wallaby.

<< The Hypipamee Crater >>

<< One section of the Dinner Falls on Mt Hypipamee >>

<< One section of the Dinner Falls on Mt Hypipamee >>

<< Above one of the Dinner Falls on Mt Hypipamee >>

<< Rainforest on Mt Hypipamee >>

Next stop was the Gallo Dairyland dairy, which is very obviously a working dairy as it stinks of cow shit in the carpark..  Luckily the smell remains outside and inside they make and sell a variety of great cheeses and chocolates.  We only tried the cheeses which were mostly great, buying a couple for lunch later on the trip.  The aptly named “Volcano” cheese is chilli ‘hot’, not just chilli intent, you really get a chilli hit eating this baby and was one of the knob of cheeses we bought.

As it was moving towards lunch, we headed to Yungaburra, another very nice town in the tablelands.  We intended to grab lunch at the fantastic and ye olde pub, but had to knock off 40mins as they didn’t start serving till 12.  Luckily there are plenty of cool art and craft shops in town which we could visit.  Jules had a small mishap on one of the manicured footpaths, twisting her ankle a bit, but she soldiered on like a trooper, albeit a bit more hobbly and slowly.  The stroke of midday hit and it was off to the pub for a counter lunch and beer, watching the local Red Dirt Harley Davidson group ride in for a meal as well.

<< The Yungaburra Pub >>

<< Out front of the local shops in Yungaburra >>

Last stop of the day was the Crystal Caves in Atherton.  A, now aging rock nerd, Rene Boissevain, has collected and now proudly displays his famous collection of gems, minerals, rocks and fossils.  For a modest fee you can do a self tour of his ‘cave’ where he’s mounted his collection on the walls, most of which are perfectly lit and open to touch.  Even non-rock nerds would be hard pressed not to enjoy this experience as he’s got some amazing items on display, the most famous of which is the largest Amethyst geode ever dug up.

<< A “Jule next to a jewel”, Rene’s famous and much loved Amethyst Geode >>

Tomorrow it’s off to Townsville for a couple of days so we’ll see you then.

Note, all photos on this post by Tony..

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