Gillies Highway Day Trip - Atherton Tablelands

Atherton Tablelands, Holiday at Home, Queensland -

Gillies Highway Day Trip - Atherton Tablelands

With over 300 curves through 20 km of forested and undulating road, Gillies Highway is a must-see drive that launches you into the unexpected, yet magnificent landscape of the Atherton Tablelands.

It's winding curves are not only perfect for an adrenaline-filled weekend ride, but it is also a drive that leaves you starring outside of the car the entire drive. Not surprisingly, it's a dangerous route and should be enjoyed with care.


Gillies Road Cairns

Credit: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service


Travel Time: 1 Hour plus stopping time


Gordonvale to Atherton

Despite its twists and turns, this is a pretty straightforward trip. From Gordonvale, get onto Gillies Range Road/State Route 52 and follow it all the way to Atherton.

You'll hit your first bend in the road just after Goldsborough swinging left and right through Little Musgrave Forest Reserve.

If you feel the need to take a break, Robson's Track offers spectacular forest views.


Heales Lookout

Heales Lookout - Credit: Jenny Stephens


The road becomes slightly less windy at the point, and you'll want to keep an eye out for Heales Lookout. It's popular as a motorists pit-stop and offers fantastic hinterland scenery on a clear day.

Back on the windy road, the Gillies Highway Forest Reserve has more than its fair share of twists and turns. Enjoy a stop at scenic Lake Barrine and revive with a nice cuppa at Lake Barrine Teahouse.


Lake Barrine Teahouse - Cairns Day Trips - Corsair Vehicle Solutions

Lake Barrine Teahouse - Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland


From here on, the road eases all the way to Atherton.

Be sure to stop at Curtain Fig tree for a spectacular shot with this natural wonder before arriving in Atherton.


Curtain Fig Atherton - Corsair Vehicle Solutions - Discover Queensland

Curtain Fig - Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland


Route Highlights: Robson's Track, Gillies Lookout, Heales Lookout, Lake Barrine and Curtain Fig Tree.

Things to do: If you're based in Cairns, take a hot air balloon ride over the Atherton Tablelands. Otherwise, this is primarily a short, scenic drive through the national and state parks.


Hot Air Balloon Atherton Tablelands - Corsair Vehicle Solutions - Discover Queensland

Hot Air Ballooning over the scenic Atherton Tablelands

Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

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