This charming hinterland offers a variety of landscapes with its mosaic patterns of rainforest fragments, unique volcanic craters, lakes, lush forests and mountains. The climate is much cooler on the Tablelands and you and it offers a haven where you can step from the heat of a tropical day into the cool, filtered light of the rainforest. Visitors can explore volcanic crater lakes, waterfalls, and rainforest giants like the Curtain and Cathedral Fig trees and the twin Kauri pines at lake Barrine.
The forest is home to the elusive tree kangaroo and the giant curtain fig trees. Stunning kauri pines offer a refuge from the tropical heat in a rainforest sanctuary of dappled light and fresh mountain air. There is an excellent road network, quaint rural towns with laid back locals and farm-gate fruit and vegetable bargains to be enjoyed.
Many visitors are attracted here by the variety of wildlife. The early mornings are perfect for bird watching and, if you’re quiet, you may spot a shy platypus in a creek, or a musky rat-kangaroo foraging on the forest floor.
The Tablelands are accessible from the coast via four major highways: the
Palmerston Highway near Innisfail; the Gillies Highway near Gordonvale;
the Kennedy Highway which passes through Kuranda and Smithfield to
the north of Cairns; and the Rex Range Road near Mossman.
Notwithstanding the history of logging in the region, in 1988 the UNESCO World Heritage Committee still saw the area as suitable for listing of the Area. The effect was significant, causing the collapse of logging towns as progressive commercial centres. Communities such as Society Flat were abandoned. Logging families chose to leave the area with the need to find work. This facilitated Indigenous people to renew access to their land and enabled new opportunities for grazing, land management and resource use for those who had continued to live at Kirrama over this period.
Many Aboriginal and logging families have shown a remarkable story of adaptation and response throughout the history of the Kirrama Range. They hold a strong connection with the land around Kirrama Range, and are involved with its protection today. The World Heritage listing of the Kirrama Range has now empowered all parties to work together in order to preserve this beautiful region.
There are many activities on offer in the Kirrama Range, which showcase its stunning environment and hisory. These include hiking, cultural tours, camping, mountain biking, motor biking and 4WD touring.
A boardwalk at Society Flat enables visitors to appreciate the grandeur of the kauri pines and rose gums, and the distinctions between open woodland and dense rainforest and logged and unlogged areas. The interpretive signs erected at Society Flat highlight outstanding features along the route to enhance and add to the visitor experience.
The Kirrama Range Road links access to two National Parks ‘Great Walks’ – The Wet Tropics Great Walk in Girringun National Park, and the Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island.
The Wet Tropics Great Walk is one of Queensland’s most stunning multiday hikes. Passing through Girringun National Park, it offers stunning views and camping along the Herbert River Gorge amidst beautiful rainforest. The Wet Tropics Great Walk follows the Herbert River, crosses near the Kirrama Range Road, and ends at the impressive Blencoe Falls
Hinchinbrook Island lies to the east of Kirrama Range Road, and is a popular area for fishing, sailing and hiking. The highly acclaimed Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island is named after conservationists Margaret and Arthur Thorsborne. This trail offers stunning rainforest, mountains and woodlands with possible glimpses of dugongs, Pied Imperial-pigeons and the threatened Beach Stone-curlew.
Local knowledge is the best knowledge - call in to a visitor information centre for more information on exploring the Kirrama region.