The Atherton Tableland

Getting to this region inevitably involved climbing as we travelled from the drier ‘flat-lands’ up to the Atherton Tableland. The contrast between the dry country and the wet tropics is amazing over such a short distance (around 300km). There are so many interesting places and small towns to visit that we stayed for a week at the Big4 in Atherton, using this as a central base to explore from. It is a beautiful park filled with lush tropical gardens and the brush turkeys, wallabies and many bird species like this red-browed finch also wander freely among the caravans.
Finch 1
The higher altitude meant a big change in climate – as one of the locals stated it is ‘always overcast’ and light rain occurs almost every day. Combined with the fertile volcanic soils, almost anything grows here.
It was great to meet up again with our friends Jan and Jamie. We all feasted on the fantastic local produce, especially the fresh fruit and vegetables. Ginny ate the best papaya she’s ever tasted, combined with local yoghurt …
Ginny enjoying a paw-paw & yoghurt
Two other foodie highlights:
1. Gallo Dairyland successfully combined two favourite foods – cheese and chocolate – OMG!
2. We were a bit ho hum about the coffee at the Coffee Works at Mareeba – that happens with a group of tea drinkers – but we LOVED the chocolates and liqueurs, and the museum’s collection of coffee paraphernalia
The restored heritage village of Herberton is outstanding – in fact it has spoilt us for all future museums etc as we often say ‘it’s not as good as Herberton’! Initially built to service a tin mining boom, the village is now home to many local buildings that have been relocated to this site rather than being demolished. For example, an old school.
Clearly some women migrants brought totally unsuitable clothes – think fox furs, and posh hats and gloves.
The pharmacy made you glad to be living today – some of the equipment and proposed ‘cures’ were enough to shock you into good health or kill you!
Several printing presses have been restored….
The Hou Wang Temple and museum tells the history of Atherton’s Chinese community, and clearly these migrants copped a hard time from the locals. They ended up with their own Chinatown area segregated from the rest of the town – except for gambling nights maybe!
Chinese temple
Some were able to buy farm land only to have it confiscated in the 1920s for the Soldier Resettlement Scheme. They had to move away to find work so Chinatown was deserted, looted and in a really bad state. The National Trust has now restored the temple, many local people have returned the historic art pieces and the volunteers do a great job in keeping this history alive.
The Avenue of Honour is a community project to pay tribute to our soldiers who have died in Afghanistan. It is located beside beautiful Lake Tinaroo with a backdrop of water and mountains, and the avenue is lined by native flame trees which flower in November around Remembrance Day. Total tear jerker for us both.
Ave of Honour 3
Ave of Honour 1
A question for you:
The last tobacco crop to be grown in Australia was here in the Atherton Tablelands – but what year was that? (Hint – it was in this century…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *