Atherton Tablelands With Captain Matty’s Barefoot Tours
In the past I have never really taken many day trips, we tend to hire a car and go explore myself but when there is only two of you it gets a bit pricey doing that so Australia saw us take more and more day trips as the trip went on, this was completely blew my mind away. I never thought you could have such a blast on a tour with the tour guide people you had only just met…
This trip we book through Greyhound adventures – something they have started doing where you can swap km’s on a km pass for adventures. I had wanted to visit the Tablelands since I read about them, being mad for waterfalls it sounded like heaven to me. So when we read about this trip and how good it sounded we jumped at the chance and swapped 780km ($85 in cash) for this tour.
Due to be picked up at 7.45 am from our hostel, by 8 am no one had arrived we were concerned that the trip hadn’t been booked properly but fear not we were picked up shortly after and learnt there had been many no shows and a lot of stress involved in the morning pick up – typical Sunday morning in Cairns! This did not stop ‘Gilly’ from being awesome from the minute we met him! Giving me a flower and hugging us both before we boarded the bus.
The entire drive from Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands ‘Gilly’ did not stop talking from explaining that his name is Matty however so is his boss’ name so at work he is called Gilly to playing a get to know each other game with involved five questions one of which was do you fold or scrunch toilet paper.
Our first stop was Lake Eacham a volcanic crater lake which was set against the rainforest – what a beautiful sight. After getting some shots we took a swim while Gilly prepared food and coffee/tea for everyone but not before he jumped in the lake too. He likes to do what he tells the guests to do – sometimes this is to make sure we are being safe other times it was for fun. The breakfast was amazing and he even made proper filter coffee as well as having tea from a nearby tea farm!
Next we headed over to Dinner Falls and a really big hole, not before stopping to collect some rocks for ‘Gilly’s wall’ or so we thought. After a short walk through the rainforest we came across the really big hole – again this was a crater made by a volcano years and years ago. Now it’s filled a lot with water but still looks oh so impressive! We throw our rocks – with any anger we are feeling in to the water and the noise it makes is incredible. So much echo with ripples surging through the water. We walk down to dinner falls have a swim, sit in the waterfalls and have lots of photos taken as Gilly has a camera with him.
Lunch is next on the order of the day but not before we stop at two awesome look outs – one place where they have cut a gap in the trees so you can see all the way down to the river and another which is a scenic lookout across the valley and over to the next set of mountains. While we are heading over we order our lunch off a list Gilly passes around so when we arrive the food will be ready.
The pub is in Milla Milla and the owner is an absolute joker – half way through eating my lunch he starts squirting me with a water pistol but I don’t realise this and can’t understand why im getting wet! This isn’t the only prank he has a lot of plastic spiders/snakes! We then head to the Milla Milla falls, probably the most famous falls in Northern Queensland and where Peter Andre filmed his video for mysterious girl. Gilly takes lots more photos of the girls flicking their hair just like in the advert and some shots of the couples and groups travelling together. We take a swim out to the falls not before I freak out about fish being in there and Gilly dunking me because I moan its cold! The falls are so powerful when you get up to them and the noise is nothing like I expected. We stay behind them for a while until I freeze.
The drive to the next stop is a long drive but oh so worth it! Our final stop for the day is Josephine Falls to get there it’s a short walk through the rainforest which feels creepy and like you are being watched constantly! The falls are split in to bottom and top, at the top is a look out platform but you are not allowed to go swimming in the top pool. After taking some photos of the waterfall we head down to the bottom to go swimming – again! Gilly goes first to give a demo as there are rocks under the water and the chance to slide down the waterfall but it has to be done in the right place to be safe. The slide is the best fun ever, its hard climbing up the rocks to get there as everything is so slippy but it is totally worth it.
Before heading back we have some snacks and more tea and coffee, Gilly stopped at a fruit stall on the side of the road a picked up some lady finger bananas and two chocolate pudding fruits. So we get a taste of these fruits – the bananas are much sweeter than normal but the chocolate pudding fruit is a bit rich for me.
We head back to Cairns as by now it is getting very dark, by the time we arrive back at our hostel it is past 7.30 pm – this really is a full day tour! Unfortunately there were two other places on our brochure for the day but we never got to these. However I would not fault this trip one bit. From the minute we got on the bus till when we got off Gilly was the friendliest tour guide I have ever come across, he had a joke and a laugh we everyone and made an effort to speak to everyone in the group and get to know something about each person. When we arrived at each place there wasn’t a time limit it was just when everyone seemed ready to leave. The photos that Gilly took all day are put up on facebook but if you want to buy full resolution copies you can pay $15 and they will send you the cd. It is a family run business of three people, they don’t spend huge amounts of money on marketing they rely on word of mouth and that really shows because on this tour you get little extras no other tour has. By far the best tour I have done to date! Thanks Gilly!