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Lakes District on the Atherton Tablelands

Day 54 - Wednesday 3 July 2013

Another sunny day in Cairns so we decided to pack a picnic lunch and drive up to the Lakes District on the Atherton Tablelands. We drove south from Cairns to Gordonvale where we turned right onto the Gillies Highway. The road was opened in 1930 and climbs about 800 metres from the sea to the Tablelands and has 263 corners in 19 kms.

View from the Gillies Highway Lookout

View from the Gillies Highway Lookout

Closer view from the Gillies Highway Lookout

Closer view from the Gillies Highway Lookout

At the top of the climb we drove into Lake Barrine, which is a fresh water lake about 1 km in diameter formed in the crater of a volcano that blew its top about 10,000 years ago. The Lake Barrine Tea House Restaurant was originally opened as a guest house in 1930 with the opening of the Gillies Highway. We stopped for coffee and shared a slice of toasted raison loaf, before walking along the lake shore to look at twin Kauri Pines, thought to be about 1,000 years old. They are about 50 metres high and have a diameter of 2.2 metres.

Lake Barrine Tea House Restaurant

Lake Barrine Tea House Restaurant

Di at Lake Barrine

Di at Lake Barrine

Twin Kauri Pines

Twin Kauri Pines

From Lake Barrine we continued on to Malanda to look at the Malanda Falls. Malanda is the centre of a dairy industry, and one of the largest dairy factories in the world providing the main source of employment in the town.

Malanda Falls

Malanda Falls

From Malanda we continued around the loop to Yungaburra, stopping at the Curtain Fig Tree on the way. The curtain fig tree stated life about 800 years ago when a seed was dropped into the crown of a host tree. The fig germinated and sent roots down to the ground, and as it grew it strangled its host tree which eventually died and fell into a nearby tree, ending up at about 45 degrees. The fig continued to send down roots and the host tree rotted away leaving the fig tree about 50 metres high and 40 metres across at the base.

Curtain Fig Tree

Curtain Fig Tree

Another view of the Curtain Fig Tree

Another view of the Curtain Fig Tree

From the fig tree we continued on to Yungaburra, a small town first settled as a centre for timber, dairying and farming in about 1910 with many of its original buildings still in place. The Yungaburra Hotel is renowned for its old world architecture based on locally felled timbers such as red cedar and silky oak. At Yungaburra we stopped for our picnic lunch before continuing on to Kuranda via Atherton and Mareeba.

Yungaburra Hotel

Yungaburra Hotel

Yungaburra Butcher

Yungaburra Butcher

At Kuranda we stopped at the Barron Falls for a photo before a bit of shopping at a local dress shop - Di was back for something that she had seen on our last visit. With our shopping done it was back to Cairns.

Barron Falls at Kuranda

Barron Falls at Kuranda

Posted by TwoAces 03:25

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