Yungaburra in Brief
Yungaburra takes its name from the Yidinyji language, meaning a place for enquiring or questioning. The European settlement of Yungaburra spans from the early 1880s, but the history goes further back much further. A dark history, where extensive massacres took place in the area to get rid of the indigenous groups or known as the “blacks”. In 1891, a decade later, settlers moved in. With its dark history, this little country town up in the hills is a reminder to the generation of today of what has happened in history. Historical events of the past needs to be transparent and presented to the generation of today.
With its past dark history, today, Yungaburra is the heart of Atherton Tablelands. A quiet and peaceful village with so much to do. Yungburra village is situated on the hills of Atherton-Tablelands is just 65 kilometres scenic drive from Cairns city. This tiny town is renowned for its secluded and quiet destination for tourists and locals. It is also undoubtedly a haven for retirees, honeymooners and for those who prefers an alternative getaway lifestyle from hustle and bustle of big cities and theme parks.
Travel my way is about exploring your own backyard before exploring other places. Going overseas is always a dream come true, but exploring what is on our own backyard should be on everyone’s bucket list as well. The township of Yungaburra is no exception. Living in Cairns, we have the best of both worlds – Reef, on one end and Rainforest, on the other side, right on our doorstep. Right in the heart of it, we have some of the best attractions in the Far North Queensland which are only a short distance away. Over the years, I have traveled through Yungaburra many times but I never took time to explore some of the hidden gems of this quiet and classy little town.
After an hour of driving, I arrived at my destination: Yungaburra. I was welcomed by the display of variety of colourful plants, systematically lined along the main street, which were visibly seen and caught my attention, as I entered the town. This tranquil and picturesque village situated 720 metres (2400 feet) above sea level is located up in the hills. The town itself is surrounded by the remnants of volcanic activity, now extinct and spectacular countryside. The scenery around the area is spectacular and I could not believe how pure and surreal the tranquility of relaxing atmosphere.The township of Yungaburra is the first stop for every travelers who have completed the 20 kilometres of spectacular windy drive up the Gillies Range from Gordonvale. With great cafes, restaurants, 28-listed heritage buildings, old style cottages and variety of accommodations makes it one of the most popular village to visit. It is an enticing introduction to the charm of the Atherton Tablelands.
In and Around Yungaburra
With colourful and pleasant village to visit, also gave me a vibe of a more friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The thrill of having a good time in somone’s gigantic colourful backyard or in a great outdoor open drive botanical garden entice me to explore of the town on a perfect cool and sunny day without a storm in sight. I just felt welcome, full-stop. To enjoy the village pleasures, so I took the time to stroll around, pick up the local history and check out the locally made arts and crafts. The township has an abundant of vibrant mix of alfresco caf’e culture and boutique shopping. The surrounding areas have stunning landscape, with outstandingly beautiful natural attractions: crater lakes, waterfalls and World Heritage rainforest. To be adventourous, you can explore natural attractions and drive, hike or bike through stunning rainforests and pastoral countryside. View abundant bird and wildlife. For thrill seekers, go fishing and water sports at the mighty Lake Tinaroo.
My agenda in Yungaburra was to explore in and around Yungaburra township within 2 kilometre radius. I was surprise to learn that this tiny town had lot more exciting things to do than just cafes, restaurants and galleries which many Cairns locals and tourists are not aware of. Come to Yungaburra!
I began with a taste of Yungaburra town at the local pub, the only pub in town. This pub located in the heart of the township looks like dilapidated from outside but once you step inside, your quirky thoughts are wrong. You’re welcome with the history of the pub. The interior of the pub still have the original timber walls, said to be silky Oak. The inside if well-kept and shiny. A charming pub with a drink as I admire and adore this old pub.
History Yungaburra Old Town Loop
According to the locals and from few brochures I have read, I learnt that Yungaburra has the great number of heritage listed sites of any Queensland town outside the larger regional centrers. The more I wandered, many of the buildings in the heart of the village still remain in their 1910 type splendour. Click here to download the Historic Yungaburra and Old Town Loop map.
Peterson Creek Walk
In the heart of the Yungaburra is a special walk where it is out of tourist radar – Peterson Creek. Located at the back streets of the town, I had my camera strapped on my shoulders and walked along this well-kept pathway hoping to view platypus and the rare lumholtz Tree-Kangaroo. As I walked further along the pathway, there were historic objects and many more that made the walk more interesting. An unique and most impressive “Llyod’s Suspension Bridge’ certaintly caught my attention along this walk. An easy walk along the creek surrounded by the lush tropical plants, I wasn’t in hurry to leave.
Yungaburra Platypus Viewing Area
To find something more peaceful, just 50-metres down from the town centre was the Platypus Viewing Platform, a popular stop for travelers, hoping to catch a glimpse of this unique and endangered creature. Here was the place where I had to be very quiet and patient to be able to see the platypus. I was certainly rewarded and it was a wonderful experience. The platypus started a long way along the creek and made its way directly in from the viewing area.
Botanical Walking Track
Just a short walk from the centre of the town is Williams Park. This park is not well signed nor promoted, you need to drive or walk the side streets to spot the area. WIth curisoity, I drove through this interesting park and was well worth it. It has walking tracks through nature reserve. There are few exotic and native plants that are only found in the area.
Curtain Fig Tree
Just a kilometre drive out from Yungaburra village is the amazing Curtain Fig Tree. It is a giant rainforest fig tree with roots hanging down, giving it the appearance of a curtain. This rainforest giant is famous for its high profile landmark and has been wowing visitors from all walks of life for decades. Staying in the village for two-nights, during the day, I visit the area to watch for ground and arboreal birds. During the night, I brought along my torch to spotlight for tree-kangaroos and possums. The erection of all-weather boardwalk made is more wheelchair friendly.
The Avenue of Honour
An interesting site visited was The Avenue of Honour, situated adjacent to beautiful Lake Tinaroo on the Tinaburra Peninsula is stunning and pristine. The site is maintained in perpetuity as a national memorial in honour of all the men and women who served, as well as to commemorate the memory of all Australian soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the fight against terror in Afghanistan. It is one of the few monuments of its type outside of Canberra. Great place to come and respect the heroes in this beautiful setting over looking Lake Tinaroo. Click link to View AAofH Brochure.
Without knowing, I happened to be in Yungaburra Village on the last Saturday of the month, I was in the midst of the Yungaburra Market day. It is very popular in Atherton-Tablelands and many Cairns residents and surrounding areas make their way to the village.
Below are more pictures of the town, showing how beautifully the garden are manicured right in the centre of the town, an old country style church buildings actively used, Yungaburra botanical garden and Peterson Creek’s suspension bridge. They are worth a visit.
I only wished I had more time staying in this beautiful village. The atmosphere, the relaxing lifestyle, the charming and the friendliness of the locals blew me away – it was unexpected. The scenery was just spectacular and the hidden gems in the area was just awesome. I was only in the village for two-nights but I decided right then, I was addicted and planned to come back to stay longer.
Apart from what I have done and seen in Yungaburra, there are other major attractions and activities which are short drive away from Yungaburra township.
Some of the favourite places in Atherton Tablelands and not far from Yungaburra Village, worth visiting include:
1. Lake Eacham, which are crater lakes formed from volcanoes. It is a popular spot for picnic and swimming.
2. Lake Barrine, a teahouse and gift shop as well as river-cruise that goes around the lake but not suitable for swimming. Both lakes have walking tracks.
3. Gallos cheese factory
4. Malanda waterfall and township
5. Lake Tinaroo dam and lakeside recreational area
6. Hastings swamp – hot spot for bird watchers
7. Cathedral Fig Tree
This ideal getaway destination is cooler than the coastal area during summer, and in winter, the mild days and refreshing nights are an excuse to enjoy a crackling log fire. Come to Yungaburra!
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