New Residents

Welcome to the Tablelands!

Venture up to where the landscape is a tapestry of colours and let the mountain air and village atmosphere carry you away. Lose and find yourself in world heritage-listed forests, rich in biodiversity and breath-taking natural beauty. Feel the spray as waterfalls plunge into clear pools and wander through picturesque towns and villages filled with a tempting array of award-winning cafes,  restaurants, galleries and museums. Explore on two wheels along our Rail Trail and through our mountain bike park. Meet our friendly community and marvel at the rich and fertile agricultural lands and abundant harvests — from flowers to blueberries, sugar cane to beef, and avocadoes to eggs.

Find out more from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Find out all you need to know about our walking trails, biking routes, history, art and culture from our information centres and Explore pages.

Remember to take your friends and family to all the best places, and share and hashtag your photos!

#explore tnq | #athertontablelands

Our community is a vibrant diverse mix of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities. We are committed to developing and celebrating a diverse, vibrant and inclusive community that fosters respect and a sense of belonging.

Our Inclusion Advisory Committee provides strategic advice to help create an accessible and inclusive community where everyone is valued and recognised for  their contribution.

Cultural Connections

We recognise nine Native Title parties across our region and acknowledge other family groups within the determination area.

  • Bar Barrum People of the area around the Walsh River and to the west of the Wild River.
  • Dulabed and Malanbarra Yidinji People of the Gillies Range area.
  • Girramay People of the Kirrama area.
  • Gugu Badhun People of the Wairuna/Lamonds Lagoon area.
  • Jirrbal People of the Koombooloomba, Ravenshoe and Herberton areas.
  • Mamu People of the Millaa Millaa area.
  • Ngadjon People of the Malanda and Topaz areas.
  • Tableland Yidinji People of the Kairi, Tolga, Tinaroo and Lake Barrine areas.
  • Wurrungu People of the Gunnawarra/Goshen area.

Find out more.

Rich History

Irish-born explorer and prospector James Mulligan was the first European to visit the region in 1875, followed by John Atherton in 1877. The area was first recognised for its tin deposits but harvesting red cedar and other rainforest trees became one of the longest-standing industries.

Chinese were early settlers and are considered the pioneers of agriculture, including dairying, in the region. They established market gardens and support services for the new settlements and their influence is considered a cornerstone of the region’s development.

During World War II the Tablelands became the largest military base in Australia and camps were scattered across the region. Rocky Creek was the site of the largest military hospital in the Southern Hemisphere — a 3000-bed hospital that treated over 60,000 patients between 1943 and 1945. The region was ideal because it was close to South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific, provided a safe tropical environment for jungle warfare training and was free of malaria.

Find out more.

You’ll find exactly the home you’re looking for on the Tablelands. Renting or buying choose from units and apartments in vibrant town centres, traditional family homes in quiet residential streets and villages, contemporary homes in new suburbs, waterfront properties and acreages of farmland or forests.

Close to Everything

While living on the Tablelands allows you to escape from the crowds and humidity of the coast, the close proximity of locations like Cairns does have
its advantages. In just over an hour you can be at an international airport, theatres, large hospitals, specialist medical attention and on the doorstep of
the Great Barrier Reef and its islands.

The Tablelands region is one of the most exciting places in North Queensland to do business. Our varied climate, rich agricultural soils and plentiful water play a leading role in providing agricultural commodities to Australia and the world, particularly the growing markets of Asia.

Our diverse natural features, enviable lifestyle and sound economic base make the Tablelands extremely attractive for new investment and opportunities. We  support the development of a strong, competitive and diverse economy  throughout the region and work collaboratively with community and business groups to help businesses launch and grow.

We have a range of initiatives to upskill and support business owners and staff, connect the business community, grow the economy and create more jobs and economic opportunities. We seek out and support supplies and services from our local businesses and encourage you to shop local for your needs.

Business Matters

Subscribe to receive Business Matters — our e-newsletter for the business  community that keeps you up-to-date with local programs, initiatives, events and training, funding, networking and opportunities for business growth.

Economic Development Fund

Our Economic Development Fund provides grants up to $5000 for eligible  organisations, groups or individuals to conduct projects, activities and events that will help grow business, investment and employment in the Tablelands  region.

Tablelands Business Excellence Awards

Each year we celebrate our region’s outstanding business operators and not-for-profit entities at our Tablelands Business Excellence Awards. The awards recognise and showcase exceptional local service providers across a number of categories.

Data

We subscribe our region to Economy id — a source of economic and social data that profiles the characteristics of our local economy and population, how they compare to other areas, and how they are changing. It is extremely useful in making business and investment decisions, and for providing answers to frequently asked questions about industries, workforce profiles, demography and the housing market.

Home Schooling

The Tablelands has a strong home school network and a range of kindergartens, day-care centres and home care providers. Some schools also have before/after school care programs.

Training & Upskilling

Tafe Queensland and various community groups and organisations provide training and upskilling opportunities.

Learning Libraries

We have seven libraries across the region that are more than centres for borrowing books. They are community hubs with a range of services, facilities and programs. Membership is free.

The Tablelands has an active volunteer movement and a widespread desire to learn and share. More than 200 organisations, incorporations, groups,  committees and classes offer opportunities to become involved in sport,  recreation, arts, religion, tourism, youth, history, culture, education, environmental preservation and rehabilitation, wildlife protection, advisory committees and community support.

Volunteers and helpers are always wanted, needed and appreciated. They are integral to the running of our visitor information centres, galleries, libraries, museum and community nursery. All community groups and committees operate on the generosity of volunteers so follow your passion by volunteering with a group that supports your interests.

Find your place in a group or organisation in our community group database

Atherton Hospital is the largest hospital on the Tablelands and services the surrounding areas. The hospital offers emergency, general medical, surgical, aged care and low risk maternity services, as well as visiting specialist services in paediatrics, gastroenterology, psychiatry and women’s health. It is supported by a range of private and government health and wellbeing services, clinics, specialists and programs including physiotherapy, podiatry, optometry, chiropractic, occupational therapy, dentistry, naturopathy, massage and more.

Connect with our region’s health services.

Atherton Hospital recently underwent a major upgrade to improve access, facilities and services.

Choose Your Adventure

Many of the national parks and state forests on the Tablelands are part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area — recognised for its exceptional biodiversity, evolutionary history and superb scenic beauty. It has a diverse landscape peppered with volcanic features, crater lakes, historical locations, world-famous waterfalls and lush rainforest through to stark savannah landscapes. There is so much to see and do, and so many ways to see and do it! Walk, run, ride, paddle, hike, swim, boat … whatever! Head to our one of our information centres for personal advice and more information.

On Two Wheels

The Tablelands has a range of great cycling and mountain biking opportunities and there’s something to suit riders of all skills, interests and abilities. In Atherton we have a renowned, purpose-built mountain bike park. From the trailhead at the bottom of Vernon Street, ride the easy track to more than 50km of single trails that dip into rocky gullies and clear creeks, climb forest-clad valleys and ridge lines that offer awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape.

The Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail is a dedicated recreational trail that winds along the decommissioned railway corridor from Walkamin to Platypus Park in Atherton. Stop at the points of interest and interpretive signs along the way. Hone your skills at one of the many pump tracks across the region.

Find your sport and recreation group and lclub.

Mark your calendar with the line-up of Tablelands events. People come from far and wide to take part.

  • Australia Day commemorations — January
  • Anzac Day commemorations — April
  • Mount Garnet Rodeo — May
  • Atherton Maize Festival — May
  • National Reconciliation Week — May
  • Atherton and Malanda Agricultural Shows — June
  • NAIDOC Week — July
  • VP Day commemorations — August
  • Tinaroo Barra Bash — October
  • Tablelands Folk Festival — October
  • Tolga Scarecrow Festival — October
  • Torimba Festival — October
  • Christmas carols and markets — December
  • Mountain biking events — throughout the year
  • Tolga Races — throughout the year

Check out our events calendar and add your own event!

Tablelands Folk Festival parade. © Jenni Kruck.

We manage five information centres in Atherton, Malanda, Ravenshoe, Milla Millaa and Yungaburra, creating an information network and
community hubs for locals and visitors. Each centre tells its own story that reflects the heritage and culture of the surrounding community. Friendly staff and volunteers offer expert local advice, free regional information, tour and accommodation bookings, and special offers. Stop in to pick up brochures and browse the range of arts and crafts, boutique produce, books, souvenirs and more.

In this clean mountain air, a rich arts community thrives and shares their talents. Artists, potters, photographers, sculptors and teachers create artworks that capture the true heart of the Tablelands. Take home your own piece from one of the many studios and shops across the region.

We operate three galleries — Tableland Regional Gallery, Old Post Office Gallery and Foyer Gallery, all in Atherton. Exhibitions in the galleries are constantly changing and include artworks from local artists, travelling exhibitions, and school and community groups.

Keep up-to-date with all the arts and cultural information, opportunities and events in the region by subscribing to our monthly Arts on Track
e-newsletter.

Support our community by shopping locally in our wide range of businesses and service organisations. By buying from our local businesses you are injecting money back into our economy and ensuring the dollars stay in our region. This creates new jobs and provides security for business owners, employees and their families.

Shop Tablelands Gift Card

Looking for the perfect gift? Purchase a Shop Tableland gift card in your preferred value for use in participating businesses across the region. From groceries to clothing, giftware to restaurants — it’s a great way to support local businesses.

Community Grants

We contribute more than $130,000 in community, business and arts grants each year. More than 100 grants assist organisations and individuals with their community events, activities, sporting and other endeavours in the form of cash, in-kind assistance and fee relief.

Our Economic Development Fund provides grants up to $5000 to eligible organisations to grow business, investment and employment in the region.

The Regional Arts Development Fund provides nearly $45,000 to professional and emerging artists and art practitioners for help with training, professional development and community projects. The fund is a Queensland Government partnership, through Arts Queensland and TRC.

Celebrate Success

There is so much to celebrate in our region and we are proud to honour and recognise the successes and achievements of our community.

Our region spans six local electoral divisions. Every four years residents democratically elect a Mayor and Councillors as community representatives. The next local government elections will be in 2024.

Council Meetings

Council meetings are generally held on the fourth Thursday of each month. They start at 9am in the Coordination Centre at 15 Vernon Street in Atherton. Meetings are live streamed and recorded. See the agendas, minutes, recordings and live stream links.

Rates

Rate notices are issued twice a year and their payment assists with providing services, infrastructure and facilities to our community. You can register to receive your rates by email.

Payments can be made via BPay, Australia Post, EFTPOS, cash, cheque and money order. Instalments can be made on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, provided the full amount is paid by the agreed date. You don’t have to wait for your rate notice to start making payments — advance payments can be made at any time.

Pensioners who reside on their property and hold a current eligible Queensland Pensioner Concession Card or Repatriation Health Care (Gold) Card may be entitled to Council and State rate concessions.

Roads

We have 1870km of TRC-controlled roads, bridges, footpaths, drains and culverts. We conduct regular routine inspections and investigate problems reported by the community. Defects are measured and recorded in our asset management system against intervention levels. This provides a measure of the condition of each road, which is used to inform our routine maintenance, capital renewal and upgrade work plans. Our regular road maintenance includes street sweeping, sealed and unsealed road repairs, roadside slashing and spraying and maintenance of kerbs, culverts, pipes, drains, bollards, signs and guideposts. Find out where we are currently working.

Planning Assistance

We can work with you to achieve compliance with our planning requirements. If you are starting, moving or expanding a business, our town planners can discuss your plans to check they comply with planning, building and health requirements. We are available during business hours for a no-cost discussion and to provide advice.

Building & Renovating

You need to submit an application with plans before beginning any work on buildings or structures including new builds, demolishing, relocating, and adding garages, carports, swimming pools and awnings.

Water

We have 15 water intakes, 16 water bores and more than 450km of pipes criss-crossing the region. In recent years we have committed millions of dollars to planning and improving water supply, quality and reliability issues. Despite this, some water supply schemes are affected by excessive rainfall and are subject to boil water notices. We are continuing our improvement work in this area. Find out where your water comes from, how it is treated, what work  we have done and what we plan to do.

The demand for water is very high in parts of our region and water restrictions are often in place to ensure our water use is sensible and sustainable. Keep an eye out on our website and media for the current water use requirements.

Waste

We provide a kerbside bin collection service to most parts of the region. General waste (red lid) is collected weekly, and recycling (yellow lid) fortnightly. Find out when your bin needs to go out. We are committed to increasing the level of recycling within the region and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.

Our transfer stations receive domestic self-hauled waste and recycling that can be separated into various waste streams for transfer to recycling facilities. There are transfer stations at Atherton, Herberton, Innot Hot Springs, Malanda, Millaa Millaa, Mount Garnet, Ravenshoe and Yungaburra.

Online Services

You can make some payments and applications online. We are regularly adding to and upgrading this service to improve your experience.

Facilities For Hire

We have a range of facilities available for regular or casual hire. From conference rooms and hot desks, to halls and community buildings, the venues vary in size and have a range of furnishings and equipment. Find out more and book a facility.

Request A Service

Is there something we can do to help, or a problem we need to know about? Let us know by:

Responsible Pet Ownership

All dogs, regardless of where they are kept, must be registered. All cats and dogs over 12-weeks-old must be microchipped. Registering and microchipping is the best way to ensure animals are reunited with their owners. We use lifetime tags and registrations are due for payment on 30 June each year.

All pets, including dogs, cats, livestock and poultry, must be kept in a proper enclosure that prevents them from escaping and wandering. Enclosures must be safe and cleaned regularly, and pets must receive adequate food, clean water and space.

Check our animal management facility and socials if your pet is missing.  Impounded animals can be collected by calling  us before 4pm on weekdays.

Biosecurity

Everyone has a role to play in biosecurity and our Biosecurity Plan outlines your obligations for plant and animal management. The plan includes action plans for 20 pest species in our region.

We value your input and feedback and are committed to meaningful community engagement. If you would like to be involved in shaping the decisions we make you can:

Despite our almost idyllic lifestyle, our region experiences its fair share of hazards and disasters. Our tightknit and resilient community works hard to stay prepared and informed and we always look out for each other. By being prepared and informed you can reduce the impacts of a disaster on you, your family and your property. Ensure you have an emergency kit ready and an emergency plan in case a disaster impacts you or your family.

We Are There For You

  • Our Emergency Management Dashboard provides up-to-date information on road closures, power outages, evacuation centres and links to key sites.
  • You can subscribe to our Early Warning Network to receive alerts for severe weather and other emergency events by email, text and voice.
  • Follow our Facebook page to see the latest warnings and update, and other disaster information.
  • Read our detailed and extensive information on hazards and disasters, and how you can prepare for and recover from them.
  • We have a Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) that addresses disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. We conduct regular training and exercises to make sure our skills and experience are well-honed.
  • We have a state-of-the-art Coordination Centre. The LDMG works from here to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
  • Our community works with us to develop community disaster plans.