Everyone waves in small towns in Queensland.  At least everyone on The Cane Cutter Way does. It’d be hard for them not to…as tourists drive idly past their front doors, jumping out to pose for pictures by narrow-gauge cane train tracks and hang off rusty farm utes by banana crops.

The Cane Cutter Way heads towards the Atherton Tablelands, starting at Innisfail on the old Bruce Highway and running through to Silkwood for 42 km’s. With an elevation from 600 to 1100 meters the tablelands covers about 65, 000 square km’s and is brimming with paddock to the plate experiences, and some gorgeous gazing from the car window moments.


Really it was a wonderful drive, taking us past virgin rainforests, old world sugar towns, classic Queensland pubs and yet more cane fields. We couldn’t believe the road was so deserted – maybe that’s why everyone waved?


We took The Cane Cutter Way on the very steep ascent of the Palmerston Highway towards the very pretty Millaa Millaa Falls. Often featured in tourist mags as the ultimate waterfall pin-up, the Millaa Milla Falls are actually Heritage Listed. Millaa Millaa Falls was a terrific spot for morning tea, before we then picked our way across to the Gillies Highway towards Cairns.


Along the way we took stopped at some rather speccy spots, and sauntered off on brief bushwalks.

Here’s what we learnt:-

  • Lawyer-cane …apparently it was named because once it gets its hooks into you it’s hard to be released. Just ask the Skipper about his ouchy moment
  • The Wet Tropics certainly lives up to its name. Humid, squelchy and lush are additional nouns I could add.


  • That no matter how many people tell us Paronella Park near Johnstone needs to be seen to be believed, its steep family entry fee does little to sway us or open our wallets when we have 5 months still ahead of us! (we’ll add that the our grey nomad days travelling list)


  • That if the cassowaries are a no-show you may just be rewarded with a Lumholz Tree Kangaroo sighting instead
  • That I can die happy – I’ve revisited in my mature tea drinking days my leaf mecca Nerada Tea Plantation (you can read about my tea swooning here)
  • That there are only so many times when I can listen to the Johnny Cash version of ‘Mercy Seed’ before I show The Skipper no mercy myself
  • That the Gillies Highway around Danbulla and Little Mulgrave as you descend towards Cairns really is as squiggly as it look on the map


We finally hit Cairns where we pulled exhaustedly into Crystal Cascades Camp Ground and practically  fall asleep setting up the camper.  All that waving tired us out!

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