No Atherton Tablelands visit is complete without a short trek west to Dimbulah and Chillagoe. A 47km drive from Mareeba takes you through tobacco and rice country to Dimbulah and one of Australia’s few coffee plantations.
Dimbulah is a first-day whistlestop on one of the great overnight Queensland rail journeys from Cairns to Forsayth aboard The Savannahlander.
A 35km 4WD trip north-west of Dimbulah takes you to the historic Tyreconnell Gold Mine where you can recover from a panning expedition, a lantern-light cemetery tour or the odd bush-walk in a variety of accommodation.
Chillagoe and some of Queensland’s most striking limestone caves await in the opposite direction. National Parks and Wildlife rangers conduct guided tours through the maze of tunnels and soaring caverns.
The Chillagoe Historical Museum tracks regional development from the discovery of copper, and the silver, lead and gold mining boom that began in the 1880s.