Queensland Holidays - The Official Tourism Site for Queensland

WWI Memorial Journey - Cairns to Atherton Tablelands Circuit
2 Days  / 269 Kilometres



Description

The Cairns and Atherton Tableland Circuit visits four heritage listed war memorials in Cairns, Atherton, Herberton and Evelyn Scrub, with the option to seek out memorials in each town you pass through. You may choose to select an overnight stay on the tablelands or take this journey as a day trip from your Cairns or Palm Cove accommodation.

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Beginning with Cairns War Memorial on the Esplanade opposite the RSL, drive up onto the tablelands via the suburb of Smithfield, enjoying the panoramic views back over Trinity Inlet and travelling through Kuranda.

Originally opened up by timber getters and tin miners and later subdivided for agriculture, the Atherton Tableland is a food lovers' haven with a range of local products on offer, from peanuts to coffee, hand crafted cheeses, a distillery, a gourmet ice creamery, a mango winery and the Nerada tea plantation. Artisans produce hand crafted timber products, paintings and jewellery.

Geographically and geologically, the area includes remnant volcanoes, crater lakes and waterfalls, encapsulated in remnant rain forests. Lake Barrine offers lake cruises, Devonshire teas and light lunches in the lakeside cottage.

An optional extra tour is the train trip to Kuranda, where you can see a WWI honour board in the railway station, returning to Cairns on the Skyrail.

Atherton has an unusual soldier statue opposite the RSL, whereas further south at Herberton, the conventional soldier rests on a hill overlooking the town.

Travel south to the ghost town of Evelyn Scrub. The War Memorial stands alone in a field commemorating those who did not come home.

Return to Cairns on the Gillies Highway. The final part of this journey retraces part of the 'Cane Beetles' recruitment march which began in Mooliba on April 20 1916. Mooliba has since been renamed Bartle Frere. The five-day march travelled through to Babinda, Deeral, Aloomba and Gordonvale before travelling onto Cairns for the commemoration of the first ANZAC Day on 25 April 1916.

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Cairns War Memorial
Cairns War MemorialAtherton War Memorial
Atherton War MemorialHerberton War Memorial
Herberton War MemorialEvelyn Scrub War Memorial
Evelyn Scrub War Memorial


Journey Details

Duration2 Days Itinerary TypeLand
Distance269 KilometresItinerary RouteCircuit
Mode of TravelCar
Level of Difficulty Unrated

Facilities

  • Car park
    Car park

Activities

  • Self-Guided
    Self-Guided


WWI Memorial Journey - Cairns to Atherton Tablelands Circuit Full Itinerary

Cairns to Herberton

The Cairns War Memorial is located on The Strand opposite the RSL Club. Swim in the Esplanade pool before enjoying the local cuisine and shops.

Take the Savannah Way north towards Kuranda, nestled in the rainforest, with amazing local markets operating daily as well as Koala Park, Birdworld and a Butterfly Sanctuary.

Mareeba was centre of the tobacco industry in the early 20th century, now replaced with sugar cane, mangoes and other tropical fruits. While Mareeba's memorial in Byrnes Street is not heritage listed it is interesting that streets in the town are named after some of the fallen soldiers named on the memorial.

The Atherton War Memorial is in a park opposite the RSL Club, on the corner of the Kennedy Highway and Cook Street. You might also like to visit Chinatown and the Hou Wang Temple.

Drive south to Herberton and enjoy lunch at the Royal Hotel. Just up the road is Herberton's soldier statue. The Herberton Historical Village has over 50 buildings providing an insight into the past, and the Mining Museum is built on the site of the historic Great Northern Mine, where tin was procured from the 1880s.


Cairns War Memorial
Cairns War Memorial
Cairns War Memorial
Cairns War Memorial
Atherton War Memorial
Atherton War Memorial
Herberton War Memorial
Herberton War Memorial


Route Details

Duration: 1 Hr 48 Mins
Distance: 120 Kilometres
Mode of Travel: Car
Route Type: One Way
Suggested Stops:
- Cairns War Memorial
- Atherton War Memorial
- Herberton War Memorial

Experiences
  • Defence Tourism
    Defence Tourism
  • Historic/Heritage
    Historic/Heritage


Level of Difficulty
Unrated



Herberton to Cairns

Travel south from Herberton to the Evelyn district, which was devoted to dairying in the early 20th century.

The area declined due to a combination of droughts, cyclones and economic depression, augmented by the fact that 90 per cent of the young men of the district enlisted for overseas service during WWI. The Evelyn Scrub War Memorial on Jonsson Road, near the cattle yards, is a poignant reminder of the loss of young lives, as the town died with them.

Travelling back to Cairns, you may like to visit the Mt Hypipamee Crater before passing through Malanda and observing the Eacham Memorial Gates in English Street. Then drive to the heritage town of Yungaburra, the gateway to the Crater Lakes National Park. Lakes Barrine and Eacham both have different characters, and are both worth a visit before you descend the Gillies Highway back to the coast.

Pass through the sugar fields of Gordonvale and through Edmonton to Cairns.


Evelyn Scrub War Memorial
Evelyn Scrub War Memorial


Route Details

Duration: 2 Hrs 30 Mins
Distance: 148 Kilometres
Mode of Travel: Car
Route Type: One Way
Suggested Stops:
- Evelyn Scrub War Memorial

Experiences
  • Defence Tourism
    Defence Tourism
  • Historic/Heritage
    Historic/Heritage


Level of Difficulty
Unrated




Driving Directions

1 - Cairns to Herberton
Start from:107-113 Esplanade, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia
End at:2A Myers Street, Herberton QLD 4887, Australia
Distance:97.1 km
Duration:1 hour 43 mins
Directions:
  1. Head northwest on Esplanade
  2. Take the 1st left onto Florence St
    Go through 2 roundabouts
  3. Turn left onto National Highway A1
  4. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on National Highway A1
  5. Turn right to stay on National Highway A1
  6. Turn right onto Gillies Hwy
    Go through 1 roundabout
  7. Turn left onto Marks Ln
  8. Turn right onto Malanda-Atherton Rd
  9. Turn left onto National Route 1
  10. Take the 1st right onto Hastie Rd
  11. Turn left onto Atherton-Herberton Rd/State Route 52
    Continue to follow State Route 52
2 - Herberton to Cairns
Start from:2A Myers Street, Herberton QLD 4887, Australia
End at:105 Sheridan Street, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia
Distance:96.4 km
Duration:1 hour 40 mins
Directions:
  1. Head north on Longlands Gap-Herberton Rd/Perkins St/State Route 52 toward John St
    Continue to follow State Route 52
  2. Turn right onto Hastie Rd
  3. Turn left onto National Route 1
  4. Take the 1st right onto Malanda-Atherton Rd
  5. Turn left onto Marks Ln
  6. Turn right onto Gillies Hwy
    Go through 1 roundabout
  7. Turn left onto National Highway A1
  8. Turn left to stay on National Highway A1
  9. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit and stay on National Highway A1

Other Information


Visit our Driving Safety and Advice page for more information or the RACQ website for the latest road conditions.

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