Queensland:- Atherton Tablelands

(25/9/2017 – 2/10/2017)

Since we had quite an expensive week in Cairns we decided to do some free camping so we looked at a couple of free campspots at Lake Tinaroo.  After speaking with council staff we found out that a sign had been posted saying that ‘caravans are not suitable’ to where we wanted to camp so we ended up booking at another caravan park called the Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park (stay 7 nights pay for 5).   The holiday park is located across the road from Lake Tinaroo.  Well, what a little gem of a place this was!!!!!

There was also a lovely pool, jumping pillow and sandpit for the kids.   Along with the camping and caravan sites, they also have cabins here too.  There were some firepits scattered around the park.   Mitchell loves campfires, and of course in particular toasting marshmallows!!!!!!  Who doesn’t like toasted marshmallows?? (Well, actually I don’t LOL)

Lake Tinaroo was just beautiful.    The area had lots of huge trees for shade, fantastic walking/bike tracks, a couple of children’s playgrounds, boat ramp, BBQs and toilets.  Everything was well maintained and clean.   After setting up, we went for a great bike ride in the afternoon.  Actually, I think this was the first time I had ridden my bike since we left home!! LOL

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As it was school holidays too, the park had activities for the children so Mitchell had a great time participating in the activities and meeting other kids.

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Budding artist!!!!!

One day there must have been some sort of promotional thing happening as they had a Chinese lion came dancing through the park!!  Hou Wang Temple is a chinese temple in Atherton but I don’t know if it had anything to do with that????

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We visited the Gallo Dairyland in Atherton.  It’s a fully functional dairy farm that produces their own range of dairy products and hand crafted chocolates.  Along with a café, there is a cheese making factory and chocolate making shop where there were observation windows so could see things getting made.   At 3.00 pm we went outside for the cow milking (yes, very smelly as you can imagine!!!!) and then we walked through the animal nursery.   After some yoghurt and cheese tasting back inside we then finished with buying some ice-cream and a bag of mixed chocolates!!!

On the way home from there, we stopped at Shaylee Strawberries.   We picked up 2 containers and we all went out the back of the shop to the huge farm and picked strawberries.   We filled the two containers and we ended up buying a 1kg tub of strawberry gelato and a jar of jam!!  Yummo!!!

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There was no cost at either place except for your purchases.    It was really an enjoyable afternoon and a great experience for Mitchell.

One day we took a drive out to Lake Eacham.  On the way there we stopped for lunch at Yungaburra Hotel and had a very nice pub meal at this old fashioned country hotel.

It was such a lovely drive to Lake Eacham.  It’s a clear blue lake surrounded by rainforest in the Crater Lakes National Park.  Lake Eacham offers swimming, birdwatching, canoeing, picnic areas and shady walking tracks. It is a popular recreation area.  There were lots of people swimming in the lake (despite a resident freshwater crocodile living somewhere there!!).  After we had a swim, we had a walk around the area and then headed home.

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On the Thursday, we drove into Atherton township and went to the Crystal Caves.  Wow, what an amazing tour, so glad we decided to do this.   It only cost us $40.00 instead of the usual $50.00 and Mitchell was free.

The Crystal Caves is a natural history museum displaying the private collection of a man by the name of René Boissevain who came to Australia in 1963 from Holland.   He has travelled to every corner of the globe to collect crystallised minerals, gemstones, fossils and rocks.   To exhibit everything he then built 250m2 of tunnels and grottos for people to explore through.   Unfortunately my photos turned out just crappy, they’re too dark.   But I was able to copy a photo in so you can see how truly beautiful and colourful it is inside these incredible caves!!!

This is actually René Boissevain standing on the walkway, he is the creator of these Caves.

 

 

We put on headlight bands around our heads and Mitchell put on a helmet with a light and we walked through these “caves” filled with crystals of all shapes and sizes.   You can touch nearly everything and take as many photos as you like.  It was truly amazing how it was all created and built to look like real underground caves.

From the street front, there is a gift shop where they sold lots of jewellery, crystals and minerals, etc,  and at the back of the shop are the “caves” which is quite unexpected.   It was definitely a worthwhile visit.

On Saturday, we drove up to Mareeba and had lunch at Coffee World.     They had a beautiful café and gift shop.  You can also do a tour  where you can discover coffee and tea treasures from around the world and see the evolution of every style of coffee maker and on certain days you can see their Master Coffee Roaster at work in the roastery.   In the tour you can also sample unlimited quantities of gourmet coffee, local plantation teas, some handcrafted chocolates and liqueurs.    They also had a lovely chocolate shop where they make all their chocolate on site, just exquisite.    And of course we bought some – white chocolate for Andrew and salted caramel milk chocolate for me!!!! Yum!!!

On our way back to the park, we stopped at the Peanut Place in Tolga.  It is a family owned business.    Peanuts arrived in Australia in the 1860’s by Chinese immigrants during the Palmer River gold rush in North Qld but only became a commercial crop in the early 20th century.    Today, the two major production areas in Australia are in Qld.

The Atherton Tablelands alone produces about 10,000 tonnes from 60 growers.  More  than 95% of Australia’s peanut crop is still grown in Queensland.   I couldn’t believe the amount of fresh peanuts with so many varying flavours as well as peanut butter and peanut ice-cream they had selling in the shop!!!    I do like peanuts but actually much prefer cashews so we bought a bag of fresh hot cashews!!  Delicious!!!

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On Sunday (1st October) the staff at the park put on pancakes for breakfast in their café.   Andrew surprised me with gorgeous flowers and chocolates at the table for our 1 year wedding anniversary!!  Awww………   such a very thoughtful and wonderful husband!!!! Love Love Love this husband of mine!!!!   Happy 1st Year Wedding Anniversary!!!!

In the afternoon we hired a boat and went out on Lake Tinaroo for a couple of hours.  Mitchell had fun fishing and also steering the boat around the lake.  We had a great family day out!!!

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The Atherton Tablelands is a wonderful agricultural area, lots of farms, coffee and tea plantations, rainforests,  wetlands, lakes and waterfalls, wineries, bikes and hiking trails, arts and crafts, historical museums and plenty of fresh produce abound.   I was so surprised at how much there is to see and do!!!  I reckon we could have spent another week here sight seeing!!!!

We left Lake Tinaroo on Monday morning and headed back towards the east coast to Paronella Park, Mena Creek.

 

(25/9/2017 – 2/10/2017)

 

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