This route to the tablelands is via the very twisty Gillies Highway. Take it easy because you have rock walls on one side and very steep drops on the other. There are well over a hundred bends but the views over the Mulgrave and Goldsborough valleys are terrific.
The road passes Lake Barrine where there is a good teahouse and boat cruises on the volcano lake. A little further on after taking the Malanda road to the left is Lake Eacham which is a very popular swimming spot for locals. Take the walk along the lake to the lookout where you should see freshwater turtles. Malanda, which is 15km further on, is the centre of the dairy industry on the tablelands.
This is a very scenic area of dairy country and rainforest patches. There are many small roads to explore and some fine rainforest along the edge of the National Park around Butchers Ck and Topaz. Another worthwhile forest area is the Wongabel State Forest just east of the Kennedy Highway and south of Atherton. The 2.6km circuit has over 100 named tree species. This is a great bird-watching area and you may also see the small Pademelon wallaby.
This was a volcanic area which accounts for the rich red soil in the area. Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine are crater lakes probably dating from just 10,000 years ago. Mt Quincan and the Seven Sisters are cones of ash and scoria (a lightweight volcanic rock) which was blasted out of volcanic vents to create the conical mounds.
Yungaburra market has a huge array of stalls selling food, art,craft, clothing, sculpture, books & knick-knacks. Well worth a visit on the 4th Saturday of each month (Jan-Nov) and the 3rd Sunday in December from 7.30am - 12.30pm.
Lake Tinaroo is another very popular spot for water-sports and Barramundi fishing. It can be reached via Boar Pocket Road, on the right just before Lake Barrine, or from Yungaburra or Atherton.
Two famous fig trees are in this area - the Cathedral fig tree on Boar Pocket road (turn right off the Gillies Highway - about 7km to this huge tree)) and the Curtain fig tree just outside Yungaburra on Curtain Fig Tree road.