The Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail comprises four stages:
- Stage 1 – Platypus Park, Atherton to Rotary Park, Atherton
- Stage 2 – Rotary Park, Atherton to Tolga Trail Head
- Stage 3 – Tolga Trail Head to Rocky Creek Bridge
- Stage 4 – Rocky Creek Bridge to Walkamin
The Cairns railway was built to connect the port of Cairns with the Herberton tin fields. The corridors in the Tablelands all connected to that line, reflecting the early practice of the Railway Department of building branch railways into rural areas to stimulate settlement and primary industry.
The Tolga to Atherton section of the Cairns to Ravenshoe railway line was opened in 1903 and a branch line from Tolga to Yungaburra opened in 1910. Part of this branch line was relocated in 1957 to avoid inundation resulting from the construction of Tinaroo Dam. This relocation included the construction of substantial bridges over the Barron River and Peterson Creek. The branch line was subsequently closed in 1964.
The abandonment of railway lines on the Atherton Tablelands reflected the downturn in Queensland’s rail traffic in response to improved road networks and increasing car ownership, and which saw the closure of uneconomical branch railways.
Friends of the Atherton Tablelands Rail trail
In regards to maintenance of the rail trail Council is seeking Volunteers to carry out trail maintenance in order to get fit, enjoy the trail, make new friends, get involved in the community and to use their skills and expertise in a volunteer role. Ultimately the asset is the communities and any assistance would be appreciated. To register your interest, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Code of Conduct
When using the Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail, respect other users, the natural environment and the privacy of adjacent land holders.
Please follow the Code of Conduct and observe all signs.
- Please shut all gates after use
- Do not obstruct the trail
- Cyclists must alert other users to their approach and pass at a reduced speed
- Approach horse riders with care
- Do not feed or approach animals in adjacent paddock
- Park in designated areas
- Observe local signs and regulation
- Keep dogs under control and on a lead
- Keep on the Rail Trail
- Do not interfere with native plants or animals
- Take your rubbish home with you
- Clean up after your dog
- Do not light fires
- Clean bikes, walking boots and other equipment after your trip to minimise the spread of plant and animal pests and diseases
FOR YOUR SAFETY
- Exercise caution at all road and creek crossings
- Cyclists and horse riders must dismount at road crossings
- Cyclists and horse riders must wear an approved helmet and ride in control
- Do not approach pets or livestock in adjacent paddocks
- Carry plenty of water and light snacks
- Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions
- Maintain your equipment, and carry repair and first aid kits in case of emergencies
- Where possible, travel in pairs
- Let someone know before you go
- Call 000
- Call 112 on mobile
Trail Corridor Liability
This trail corridor is managed by the Tablelands Regional Council.
The Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail is for use by walkers, cyclists, and horse riders in designated areas only. Motorbikes and motor vehicles are strictly prohibited from accessing the trail corridor. Penalties apply.
Advice to trail users:
- Trail users enter and use trail corridor at their own risk
- Council accepts no responsibility for safety of users
- Be aware of possible unauthorised use of motorbikes and motor vehicles
- Keep on the track, and avoid trespassing onto adjacent private land
- Trail user must obey all signs