Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Atherton Tablelands

The third day of our Australian trip we picked up our oldest daughter at her hotel in Cairns - she had come in the previous evening and gone directly from the airport to a hotel - and went exploring in the Atherton Tablelands.  We were gone all day and went on from the tablelands to Port Douglas where we would meet three other family members and stay for another week and half.

We went first to Hypipamee National Park to see the crater and Dinner Falls.  The crater is an old volcanic pipe filled with water but so deep it was nearly impossible to get pictures.  We went on from the crater to Dinner Falls, a series of three falls on the Upper Barron River many miles southwest of Cairns and the Barron Gorge where the river has its mouth.

Staghorn Fern

 The Crater

 Dinner Falls

From Hypipamee we traveled to the town of Millaa Millaa and had lunch there as well as the opportunity to photograph a Ulysses Butterfly that was feeding on the Pentas plants near the town park.  The butterfly allowed us to get a number of pictures and even one of the residents came out for photos, telling us that they usually did not stay still long enough for photos.

Ulysses Butterfly

Millaa Millaa is near the beginning of the waterfall circuit which takes one to any number of falls in the area.  We visited three of the falls, Millaa Millaa, Zillie and Ellinjaa, the first of these one of the most beautiful falls I've ever seen.  We also saw our first Laughing Kookaburras as we traveled between Millaa Milla and Zillie Falls, though we would see many more.

Millaa Millaa Falls

tree ferns

 Basket Fern

 Ellinjaa Falls

African Tulip Tree

Laughing Kookaburra

From the waterfalls we went to Yungaburra and Curtain Fig National Park to see the massive Strangler Fig that is the main feature of the park.  That tree, having first tilted and then killed its host drops a curtain of aerial roots some 15 meters to the ground.  It is one of the largest trees in Queensland, around 50 meters tall and 500 years old.

We stopped briefly at Lake Eacham, one of the Crater Lakes, but there was not much to do there and we soon went to our last stop, the Cathedral Fig in Danbulla State Forest.  The Cathedral Fig is another 500 year old Strangler Fig tree, a bit off the beaten track but well worth the time spent driving there.  Finished there we went on to Port Douglas via the Bruce Highway.

 unidentified duck at Lake Eacham

Queensland Umbrella Tree


  1. Wonderful set of shots!! My fav. are the waterfalls =) Though that might be influenced by the 100 degree heat indices we're currently dealing with here in NYC ;)

    The last shot of an unidentified tree.... It's called a Queensland Umbrella Tree (among many other common names) ⇢ Schefflera Actinophylla. Commonly sold as a houseplant here in the states -- probably elsewhere, too.

    That unidentified duck is a hybrid... Like between a Mallard and one of the Hardhead species native to AUS. Maybe even a little Black Duck mixed in. The feathers on its back are gorgeous =)

    1. Thanks for the comments and for the ID's, Fizzie.


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