As a gateway to major attractions like the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park, the city of Cairns is easily one of the most visited destinations in all of Australia. While Cairns is home to a number of wonderful things to do, see and explore, many visitors are eager to get out of the city for a few days and see a different side of Queensland. One of the most popular adventures is a road trip to the nearby town of Malanda. Since Malanda is just 90 minutes away from Cairns, it is simple to rent a car from Europcar Australia and begin this scenic journey on your own terms and according to your own schedule. Tours are available for this road trip, but setting out on your own gives you a lot more freedom, and it also allows you to enjoy getting behind the wheel on a truly scenic road. Here are the top five things to do in Malanda and the surrounding region.
Image courtesy of robstephaustralia/flickr.com
1. Malanda Falls
There is no question that the top attraction in the area, and truly the big reason for making this journey by car, is for the opportunity to see the beautiful Malanda Falls. The word Malanda itself was once an Aboriginal word for waterfalls, and the town today is known almost exclusively for the breathtaking collection of waterfalls in the area. The best way to see the falls is to stop in at the Malanda Falls Visitor Centre. They can give you a map and help you decide on the perfect trail to see as much wildlife as possible on the way to the falls themselves. If you are in a rush, you can actually drive almost directly above the top of the waterfalls, which gives you a spectacular view of the water crashing down below. If you want to relax and you have more time to enjoy the area, try swimming below some of the falls with the locals.
2. Millaa Millaa Waterfalls Circuit
Just 20 minutes south of Malanda is another collection of amazing waterfalls known as the Millaa Millaa Waterfalls Circuit. These three falls are all within walking distance of one another, but there is also a paved road to drive between the three if you are in a hurry. If the waterfalls look familiar to you, it might be because you have seen them before featured in advertisements or films. The Millaa Millaa Waterfalls can be found in the Peter Andre video called Mysterious Girl, and it is also featured in the Timotei Hair Swoosh advertisement that you have undoubtedly seen before.
3. Lake Tinaroo
Although this man-made lake is just a few miles north of Malanda, the drive along the winding roads can take about 30 minutes. However, the journey itself is a beautiful one, and the time will pass quickly as you admire the view from your car window. Once you arrive at Lake Tinaroo, you will want to enjoy all of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the area. Fishing, hiking, swimming and even waterskiing are popular pastimes that you can enjoy on the lake.
4. Mount Hypipamee Crater
It will be another 30 minute drive to get from Malanda to the Mount Hypipamee Crater, which is commonly known to residents as simply The Crater. This amazing crater in the Tablelands was only discovered in the late 19th century when explorers nearly fell into the chasm, which measures in at over 180 feet wide and almost 300 feet deep. Visitors can hike around the edge of the crater, and you can also explore the surrounding Mount Hypipamee National Park and its impressive rainforest.
5. Curtain Fig Tree
Nature lovers will definitely appreciate the sheer size of this incredible tree, which is located between Yungaburra and Malanda. The aerial roots of the tree are on display, and you can walk along the wooden boardwalk next to the tree to get a closeup view of this enormous natural landmark in the Tablelands.
Since the Malanda Falls as well as the rest of these incredible attractions are just a short drive from the city of Cairns, it is the perfect option for an extension of your holiday. Spend a day touring the Tablelands, or make a full weekend of waterfall-hopping throughout the region.