This charismatic former gold-rush town will fulfil your outback dreams, just two hours west of the Tablelands. With a raw, unhurried quality, it's at the centre of an area that has impressive limestone caves, Indigenous rock-art sites and the creepy-cool ruins of an early 20th-century smelting plant.
Malanda & Around
Malanda has been a byword for 'milk' in north Queensland ever since 560 cattle made the 16-month overland journey from New South Wales in 1908. There's still a working dairy here, and the Malanda Dairy Centre, which has a kid-friendly museum highlighting the region's bovine history.
It may stand at a relatively modest 930m above sea level, but little Ravenshoe (ravens-ho) is Queensland's highest town, and has the climate to match; it actually gets frost in winter. It's the last Tablelands town before the 3500km outback route – the Savannah Way – to Broome begins in earnest.
Founded on the banks of the Wild River after the discovery of a tin lode in 1880, Herberton boomed by the early 1900s, with dozens of mines, two newspapers and 17 pubs. Today, it's a sweet and sleepy historic sort of place with a couple of surprises tucked up its sleeve: you'll find two of the most unusual and interesting museums in Queensland here.
Evocatively nicknamed the 'Village in the Mist', charming Millaa Millaa is a small and gloriously green dairy community famous for its wonderful waterfalls. Surrounded by rolling farmland dotted with black-and-white cows, it's a picturesque spot to stop for lunch or to spend a few quaint and quiet nights. You'll find information on the town and surrounds online at www.