The Tour Specialists Tour Blog
Waterfalls, Mamu Canopy Tower & Paronella Park with Tropical Horizons
Posted on February 10, 2010 by admin
For those lucky enough to have the opportunity to have the time in Cairns to head up to the Tablelands, Tropical Horizons is definitely the way to go. With this full day option, you are guaranteed to be treated to a completely different perspective of Cairns. The Tablelands is one of the most scenic and beautiful areas of Tropical North Queensland – it is Cairns best kept secret!
Our day started with a prompt 7:25am pick up from our accommodation. Our bus driver and tour guide, Frank, welcomed us aboard the comfortable air conditioned mini coach with a friendly smile. After picking up the rest of our fellow travelers, we headed inland along the Bruce Highway towards the Gillies mountain range.
Frank, our fantastic guide, gave us a commentary of the area and different things we could see on the drive towards Lake Barrine. There are several stunning lookouts along the winding road and the scenery and views are absolutely breathtaking.
We arrived at the Lake Barrine Tea House at around 9:10am. The tea house is a rustic looking building situated on the shores of Lake Barrine. We were treated to hot tea and coffee, along with melt in your mouth scones with jam and cream. We enjoyed our morning tea seated on the verandah overlooking the beautiful calm lake.
After morning tea, we hopped aboard our private Lake Barrine boat cruise! It departed at approximately 9:30 and we set off on our 50 minute cruise around the lake. Our boat driver and guide, Warren, was so entertaining and knowledgeable. He had us looking n the water, along the banks, and up in the trees for all sorts of different animals including pythons, ducks, and turtles. We arrived back at the dock around 10:20am and had just enough time to check out the famous ancient twin Kauri trees that call Lake Barrine home. They are truly majestic!
Our next stop was the must see Curtain Fig Tree. This tree is one of the oldest in Cairns Tropical North Queensland and it is definitely a sight to behold. The intricate way the vines have continuously taken over the tree is almost an optical illusion. There was also a spacious boardwalk and photo taking platform where Frank was more than happy to take our picture!
Departing the Curtain Fig Tree, our next stop was Millaa Millaa Falls, a world famous waterfall located on the waterfall circuit in the Tablelands. We had the opportunity to go for a swim in the cool clear water and it was so much fun swimming right underneath an actual waterfall!
After a full on morning of sightseeing and swimming, it was time for lunch at the beautiful Mungalli Falls. Tropical Horizons has its own private gazebo located just at the edge of the falls so the view could just not be beat! Lunch was one of three options that we had selected earlier on the bus ride up, which made for an efficient serving of everyone’s meals. It was a delicious two course meal served with your choice of beverage that could be purchased from the bar. Afterwards, we had free time to walk it off and check out the magnificent views of Mungalli Falls and Mungalli Creek from the lookout platforms.
We were bid a friendly farewell on were on our way to the Mamu Canopy Tower Walkway. This is a new addition to the Tablelands sightseeing circuit as it was just opened in June 2009. An interesting fact about the Mamu Canopy Tower is that is was built entirely along the path of destruction left by Cyclone Larry in 2006. No trees that weren’t already damaged from the storm were removed during the construction of the canopy walkway. Mamu is an excellent 2.5km walking track with lots of flora and fauna. Frank was an absolute fountain of knowledge when it came to different types of plants and flowers in the rainforest. We ascended the canopy tower which is 37m high to take in the panoramic views of Queensland’s highest mountains – Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker. It was so peaceful and beautiful with the South Johnstone River flowing between the mountain ranges. We began our short descent and a golf cart was available for those travelers that were a little weary.
Tropical Horizons definitely saved the best for last with this day tour – Paronella Park. Although our day had already been filled with many gorgeous sites, we were in for a surprise with Paronella.
Upon our arrival, we had about 20 minutes to relax with a cold drink or hot coffee before meeting our tour guide, Luke. We were taken through all the park’s main features and Luke was amazing guide who spoke with knowledge and passion about this stunning masterpiece. The neatest thing about the grounds were that every building, every garden, was built with the waterfalls in its view. Incredible. Each area had a different meaning and was built for a different purpose. We were all enraptured with the story of Paronella Park and its mantra of “keeping the dream alive”.
We left Paronella Park at approximately 4:45pm for our return journey back to Cairns. Frank gave us a small commentary on some of the different townships we were passing through, but mostly we had time to sit back, relax, and re-live all the incredible sights that had been seen throughout our day. We arrived back in Cairns around 6:15pm after a long but enjoyable day.
The Waterfall Circuit, Mamu Canopy Tower and Paronella Park are a few natural attractions that must be seen on your holiday to Cairns Far North Queensland!
By: Andrea Teed, TTS Tour Consultant
For more informatiom about this tour please visit The Tour Specialists.
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