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.
Travel Photos of the Week: Sunsets over Magnetic Island, Australia
Magnetic Island is one of my favourite travel destinations having visited there twice now. It’s the perfect destination for a relaxing family holiday in Queensland. Both times we stayed at Arcadia by pretty Alma Bay where it’s an easy 5mins walk to the beach. One thing we notice about visiting during May, is it’s off-peak and very peaceful but more than that, there are sensational sunsets like these to enjoy.
The Gold Coast, with a 35km strip of golden beaches, is situated on the east coast of Australia in the southern region of Queensland and almost bordering New South Wales. It’s not my choice travel destination but during May we had a short family holiday there to spoil the children with a visit to the theme parks. Why I say it’s not my choice destination is largely for the commercialism. It would have to be the most commercialised areas in Australia, with towering hotels and apartment blocks lining the coast for miles. I would hope readers of my blog would recognise that I prefer remote landscapes and towns steeped in history and culture.
It was Mother’s Day and we left a chilly Melbourne on a 6.30am flight, to arrive at Coolangatta to a beautiful, mild morning and off came the jumpers! The hire car was organised and off we went. We enjoyed a Mother’s Day brunch at nearby Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary before we spent the rest of the day exploring the sanctuary.
The week on the Gold Coast was then filled with three days at each of the following theme parks: Seaworld, Movie World and Wet ‘n’ Wild. The children had a fabulous time. I think their favourite was Wet ‘n’ Wild. I was the ‘bag lady’ and happy to sun myself in the glorious 28C Autumn sun!
Sunset from Marina Mirage
My choice day was a trip out to Mt Warning, the highest easterly peak where day break is first enjoyed. The rainforest of the lower slopes are beautiful and full of plant-life we don’t see in the southern states. We continued to travel south through the rolling hills of the hinterland and crossed the border into New South Wales to visit Nimbin, the hippy capital of Australia. The children’s eyes were wide here! We headed back to the coast with a brief stop at the Byron Bay lighthouse (the most easterly point of mainland Australia) and returned to Currumbin by night fall.
The week was made complete by meeting face-to-face one of my favourite, fellow Aussie bloggers, Linda, and the creator of ‘Journey Jottings‘. We met at the Marina Mirage and exchanged many travel tales over coffee as the sun set.
Cairns is located on the north, east coast of tropical Queensland, Australia and is a popular travel destination for many. Peace Mitchell is a local to Cairns and very passionate about her town. Peace is Director of Cairns Family Holidays, a website specializing in providing family-friendly information, tips and reviews on Cairns and the surrounding region. Peace loves spending time with her family, travelling, reading, sailing and photography. Peace has authored the following post about Cairns.
Cairns is a fantastic destination for anyone wishing to experience the best of Australia’s natural experiences. Here you’ll find the amazing Great Barrier Reef, home to thousands of species of unique corals, tropical fish, sea turtles, dolphins and other animals. Reef trips go daily and you can have the option of diving, snorkeling or not getting well at all and exploring by glass bottom boat or semi submersible.
The coral islands off the coast of Cairns are gorgeous too, Green, Fitzroy, Double, Dunk and Bedarra are just a few of these beautiful islands where you can explore the rainforest, swim in the ocean and snorkel around the reef just metres from the beach.
Although most people visit Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef the tropical rainforest here is an attraction in its own right. The rainforest found in the North Queensland region is thought to be among the very oldest continuously existing rainforest in the world.
Just to the east of Cairns you’ll find the rolling green hills of the Cairns Highlands, locally known as the Atherton Tablelands, here the climate is a little cooler and you’ll find beautiful lakes, quaint villages and farming townships.
From the Tablelands it’s just a short drive to the outback where you can explore limestone caves, volcanic lava tubes, hot springs and experience aboriginal culture and life on a cattle station.
Cairns Esplanade Lagoon
The Cairns region has something for everyone! If you’re looking for adventure, then there’s bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, jungle surfing and a host of exciting water sports to choose from. If shopping’s your thing the region offers everything from boutique and duty-free shopping to locally made art and craft at the numerous markets held throughout the region. For families with young children there are numerous wildlife parks where the kids can hold a koala, feed the kangaroos or pose with a python. For nature enthusiasts you’ll find plenty of opportunities for bird-watching and exploring the rainforest both by day and by night.
One great reason to visit this travel destination is to see the Great Barrier Reef. This is something everyone should experience! I loved taking my kids to see it for the first time, it really is spectacular and something people of all ages can enjoy and appreciate, a true natural treasure.