Exploring Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands

Cairns has been wonderful and everything surrounding it was wonderful to see, but we again were excited by the next destination. We headed slightly north of Cairns and then drove west up into the Atherton Tablelands.

Our first stop on our journey into the Tablelands was a coffee/chocolate farm. It makes sense right?

We opted for the tour, paid only a few dollars and had access so not only unlimited coffee, liquers and chocolate, but also a museum full of funky interactive information on coffee and it’s history. I know museums are boring as! But this one wasn’t I promise you. Definitely worth a visit, I know we learnt a lot, and we for sure took advantage of the unlimited items!

The next stop was to a Platypus ‘farm’, which was not really a farm but a place you could see them in the wild. I have to mention that Chris gave me a great direct translation for Platypus from English to Dutch. From memory he explained that a platypus meant flat pussy directly translated…. Something to get your attention whilst reading.

Now back to the tour…We walked down to a little pond with our guide who was very much from Queensland. He gave us a little help on knowing where to look and what to spot, he also told us to talk, make noise and be loud because the platypus’s were more confortable with sound. After that he left us to our viewings. Now we had the expectation that platypus’s were a moderate size and would of course be on the water surface like otters, at least enough for us to spot and observe them. Well no that is completely wrong!

They in fact have to eat for 11 hours in a day because they actually have no stomachs. They are constantly diving back down to the waters bottom in search of food, only coming to the surface for a breath and to chow things down. So while they are eating away, we only saw them pop up for max 10 seconds each time, before they went down again. Really great way to see platypus’s.

Their size was a whole other thing. They were so absolutely tiny, it took us some time to make sure what we were witnessing was in fact playtpus’s and not a snake or even a stick floating in the water.

Whilst we were observing the water with the occasional appearance, another group came down the hill to join us. Of course as we were told by our guide, it was best to talk. So as you can imagine we were talking, laughing and making quite a bit of noise to ensure we saw the animals. The new group did not appreciate this method of attention seeking.

First thing was the fact that they were carrying giant camera’s. It was as if they were prepared for the miniature animals and wanted to make sure they could see them even through the water to the bottom, with the size of lens’s they had. The second aspect that made their encounter the highlight, emphasis on highlight, of the tour was one of the groups members, a German lady. Her response to our hello and chatter was met with a death stare and this question to the quide ‘shouldn’t we be quite’?

We all gave each other a look and then briskly walked away to another viewing point. Only to burst into laughter just out of viewing distance form the group we just left. The way the whole scenario went was just a little hilarious!

With some funny jokes then about the group, their huge cameras and their German humour, we headed to our next destination.

We headed to the town of Milla Milla, where it was Chris and Annette’s first night camping with us.

On our way there we saw a sign for a giant ‘curtain’ fig tree. Curiosity got the better of us and we decided to take the detour there. It definitely was a giant tree and you could see the curtain resemblance. A cool little detour.

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Alex capturing Chris and Annette right!

When we arrived in Milla Milla we checked into the towns caravan park and set up shop.

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That night it was surprisingly fresh, if not cold. It took us a little by surprise and so once dinner was had and it was still before 8pm, we were unsure what to do with ourselves if we couldn’t sit outside any longer. Alex knew there was rugby on, so we thought it might be fun to visit the local pub and watch a bit. We set off on foot, as you do when it’s cold in a small town at night with no street lights. Eventually in the eerily dead town, we found the local pub. It was quiet, but we were welcomed with a number of hello’s and joined in the viewing. We are not sure what was more entertaining to watch, the match or the local men whatching the match. They were a lot of fun, adding to our experience and the atmosphere of the town.

Warmed a little by the alcohol consumed, we headed back to camp, where Annette was given a hot water bottle to help with the weather.

The next morning we had our first camp breakfast with Chris and Annette, discussing the seriously weird sounding birds that sang throughout the night. Some with the sound ‘hump hump hump hump aughhhhhhh’ on repeat!

Once packed up and on the road again, we didn’t have far to drive. Our first stop for the day was Milla Milla falls. Alex and I had in fact stopped here on our way into Cairns, but we wanted to show the parents the area also, as an introduction to Queenslands waterfalls. We did the waterfall circuit visiting a number of beautiful spots along the way.

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After sometime in the car, gazing at waterfalls, it was time for a little morning tea, in other words we needed coffee, emphasis on the coffee for Chris. We discovered a cute organic and bio-dynamic dairy farm café on a hillside overlooking some beautiful fields. There we devoured the free samples and then decided a cake each was a good place to start. Whilst selecting our cakes one of the staff came to help us, and we all quickly realised, as did she, that everyone was Dutch, bar me that is. It is definitely lovely to hear people stories and how they end up places, and the fact that anywhere you travel within Australia, there are always Dutchies around.

After indulging in some seriously amazing cakes, I mean have a look:

We drove for quite some time, all the way to the town of South Mission Beach. There was a Big4 caravan park right on the beach there, and we thought that wouldn’t be a bad way to camp. After driving around in circles for a few minutes deciding on which site to choose we finally got ourselves a good spot and set up camp in style.

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