We waved goodbye to the perfect palm tree lined coast, as we began to head west. We were excited that Atherton was our first stop, knowing the next few days would be filled with waterfalls, rainforests and enjoying small town life. Staying at the Atherton Big 4 caravan park (highly recommending it to any kind of traveller) we planned to base ourselves here for the next few nights and explore the surrounds.
The best way to see whats around Atherton is to drive, so we got up early and set off for a full day of driving. Best advice is to pack food, I’m talking lunch, snacks, more snacks, plenty of water and some more snacks. The waterfall way is pretty easy to find and follow along, the road is signed and the waterfalls are all short walks right off the carpark. We started with the closest to Atherton which was Malanda Falls, right next to the information centre. The kids could hear the waterfall raging and raced down the set of stairs to check out the sight. Halen eyed off the ladder leading into the pools below and asked to go swimming straight away, unfortunately for us, its cloudy, raining and cold, so swimming today was out but if you are headed this way, PACK SWIMMERS!
Arriving at Millaa Millaa Falls was exactly what we were expecting. Known to be everyone's favourite falls and it's easy to see why. It's textbook perfection. We had these sights to ourselves for a short while, so we enjoyed snapping some photos, walking around the base and letting the kids count the turtles in the water. It would be easy to spend the day here.
Another 8k's up the road we came to Zillie Falls. The kids already half asleep in the car it was a big ask to get them out again but we did, and we ticked another waterfall off our list. Tom took the two kids back to the car and Claire headed off down a steep rainforest track to see if she could get a better image of the falls. After walking for 20 mins along slippery mud and unstable rocks the slight path that was there ended abruptly with a tree that had clearly slid down the hill and blocked Claire from going any further.
Knowing we were pushing the kids patience of getting in and out of the car, while slowly running out of snacks and bribes, we arrived at Ellinjaa. This time Tom waited in the car and loaded the kids with tiny teddies while Claire shot down the hill to photograph the falls. It was such an amazing site, the quietest of the waterfalls in term of people visiting, but one of the most spectacular.
It was time to start heading home, as usual Tom decided to take the long way and found a turn off for a 4WD track, which you honestly could of done in a 2WD, how disapointing!!
We made it back to the highway and turned back towards Atherton. Along the Savannah Way we passed a sign for The Crater and Dinner Falls, we couldn’t resist, after all it said only a mere 350 meter walk, easy right? For us yes, but for Varli, she managed to trip over a total of 4 times, her knees cut up, her poor little legs bleeding. We did make it to the crater, but had to view the falls from the main footpath. Clear sign to get home.
New day new adventure and todays adventure leads us to a place thats been on our must visit for a while now.
Coffee Works Mareeba.
Parking our car, we quickly got the kids out and followed the yellow painted coffee beans on the ground to the entrance. Instantly we could smell the coffee aromas. Freshly ground beans, brewed coffee and a scent of chocolate, if heaven exists, this is what it smells like.
We paid our way (kids under 5 free!) and went through to the back where we could stay as long as we pleased and sample as much as we wanted. The young lady who showed us around was filled with information about the coffees, answered any questions we had but most surprising set our two littles up with colouring in, a free chocolate milkshake and their own tasting cup which we could fill with any sample chocolates to keep them happy. Talk about a welcoming, kid friendly place to visit.
We quickly got to tasting some coffees. Tom drinks black so he went straight for the dark roasts, tasting a local range as well as some international but his overall favourite was from the blends range.
Claire went for the flavours, the dessert coffees so they call them, tasting hazelnut, chocolate and vanilla. With all of them so good, there was no favourite.
Now Claire was in her element when the coffee liqueurs made an entrance and easily tasted all 5, maybe even a sneaky second tasting on a few.
If you are after artisan chocolates, this is the place, with so many options and all ranging from white to dark. Both kids had their fill of samples, trying not just the plain ones but flavoured. Varli was begging for some of Tom’s orange chilli chocolate so we gave her a taste, only to have her love it and ask for more!!
Hard to believe it was only 10:30am, we had dosed up on coffee, chocolate and alcohol. What a cracker start to the day!
Time to head back to the van to sleep it all off
This afternoon is all about Bunnings trips and a last minute supermarket dash.
Not every day is action packed. So while we visited Atherton and had some full on days or even half days, we used our time here to wash, cook, pack and prepare for our trip west. We had a few maintenance issues that are now fixed and needed to look into our itinerary for the next few weeks. That’s all part of being full time travellers. When we have quiet days, we are always thankful for a great park to stay in and we got really lucky in Atherton. Staying at the Big 4 Atherton Woodlands caravan park, they really looked after us, especially Shawn one of the managers. Some of the caravan parking is slightly obscure and hard to get into but its not a worry because the staff there will park you. Walking next to your driver side and telling you to turn left or right, we were parked in our spot perfectly. With so much room for the kids to run around, and a great play area, the kids were entertained while we did our chores. We were sad to leave Atherton today but time to move on.