The Atherton Tablelands area is a fertile plateau part of the Great Dividing Range in Far North Queensland (FNQ), Australia. It is located west to south-south-west inland from Cairns. Although it is in the tropical latitudes, its elevated position provides a climate suitable for dairy farming. It has an area of around 32,000 km² with an altitude ranging between 500 and 1,280 m (1,640 and 4,200 ft). The fertility of the soils in the region can be attributed to the volcanic origins of the land.
Great Barrier Reef
The Atherton Tablelands area is relatively close to the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
The principal river flowing across the plateau is the Barron River. The Barron River flows from Tinaroo Dam at Lake Tinaroo. From here it makes its way to Barron Falls (Bibhoora) near the tourist village of Kuranda from where it finally spills into the ocean near Cairns.
Crater Lakes National Park
Lake Barrine (Barany) was formed over 17,000 years ago when a large volcano erupted, leaving a crater that over time filled up with water to create a lake. Lake Barrine is the largest of the natural volcanic lakes in the area. A teahouse used by the Australian Army in World War II as a makeshift home is a popular tourist attraction with its stunning gardens and guided boat tours on the lake.
Lake Eacham (Yidyam) is the main feature of the Crater Lakes National Park, with a dense rainforest and thousands of small animals. It is a protected area managed by the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service. Lake Eacham is used for swimming, canoeing, bushwalking, and bird watching. There is a circuit walk around the lake that takes around 45 minutes to complete. There are also a population of turtles that can usually be seen just to the left of the pontoon.
Atherton and Mareeba are the largest towns in the area. Herberton, Kairi, Kuranda, Malanda, Millaa Millaa, Tinaroo, Tolga, Yungaburra, Walkamin and Ravenshoe are also located on the Atherton Tablelands.