Just Relaxing at the retreat!

Relax and take in the views, native wildlife, birds, and farm stay animals. Take a stroll on the property walking track to the private dam, or soak your worries away in the large double spa with a wine from the Gourmet Mini Bar. Veg out with a DVD and an afternoon snooze. Read a book on the back deck. Magazines and local Newspapers are provided for your enjoyment. Or capture some birds on camera as Barking Owl Retreat is the perfect base for Birdwatching on the Atherton Tablelands. Indulge in a relaxing massage or drop a line in the property dam. (See below) 

Catch and Release Fishing in our Private Dam

Our 41 acre Farm Stay has a large private dam at the back of the property which is a special place hidden away from our busy world. The dam has its own Jetty and Hut with an open fire place and picnic area. The dam is stocked with Black Bream also known as 'sooty grunter', Mouth All Mighty, and the odd Barramundi. Fishing equipment and bait is supplied or you are welcome to bring your own. So come and join in the fun and try your hand at fishing and get your fishing catch photo's posted on our Facebook page. See the slideshow above showing some great catches! Even if you don't fish the dam is a special place to just relax, have a picnic hamper in the Dam Hut with some wine and cheese from the Gourmet Mini Bar, or to cozy up to the warm open fireplace while roasting marshmallows and nuts. Soak up the winter sun on the Jetty while listening to peaceful birdsong or enjoy the property dam with photography by capturing it's beauty or watching the sun set.

Animal Feeding at Barking Owl Retreat

Each morning the Call ducks and Guinea Fowls wait patiently at the front door to be fed. Guests can help feed them in the mornings on request. If you are really lucky we may be able to catch 'George' our hand raised drake who was hatched from a Chicken. Sometimes 'George' doesn't mind a pat as long as you have food for him! 

Massages in your private cottage

Barking Owl Retreat offers you the opportunity of a rejuvenating Remedial Massage to be enjoyed on site in the privacy of your own cottage. Relaxing Massages are performed on the back deck while listening to natures sounds. On colder winter days massages are performed inside the heated cottages for warmth. Rejuvenate with body balance in peaceful bliss supporting the natural occurring mechanisms of the body with positional release techniques to allow the body to naturally re-balance itself. A combination of gentle movements and pressure points tone and realign energy flow, enhancing mind and body balance and wellness. This can be carried out fully clothed or incorporated along with a Swedish massage for a deeply relaxing treatment. Used as a regular maintenance therapy against the stress of the modern world, massage enables the body to start healing itself, relieving physical and emotional tension. A choice of aromatic oils addresses each individual's needs.
INDULGENCE (90 mins) $130 for One or $230 for Two
This hour and a half session is the ultimate indulgence experience
FULL BODY (60 mins) $90 for One or $170 for Two
Relax and rejuvenate for this one hour session covering the whole body
BODY SPECIFIC (45 mins) $70 for One or $135 for Two
Massage your aches away with this 45 minute body specific massage.
(Choose specific areas to be massaged)

Select the treatment time that most appeals to you. Massages are to be paid direct to the Massage Therapist in cash on the day. Ensure to book direct with our Massage Therapist 'Robyne' on 07 4095 4864 as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Should Robyne not be available please leave a message with your name and phone number and she will contact you as soon as possible.

Atherton Tablelands Activities

There are so many things to do and see on the Atherton Tablelands. Take a self drive scenic tour of the Atherton Tablelands and take in the beautiful countryside on the way to visit some of the special places on offer. Gather some local produce at the specialty stores or local markets to take back to your cottage. Choose from the many Atherton Tablelands Tours to do along the way. Or enjoy the many heritage listed rainforest bushwalking tracks or a refreshing swim at nearby Lake Eacham volcanic Crater Lake. Dine in one of the nearby Tablelands A-La-Carte Restaurants. The Atherton Tablelands if filled with many fantastic Tours and Attractions from Coffee Farms, Wineries, a Tea Plantation, Bush Walking, Wildlife Tours, Nature Park, Bird Watching, Nocturnal viewing, Chinese Temple, Museums, Warbird Adventure Flights, Hot Air Balloon Flights, Go Kart Action, Undara Experience, Cheese & Chocolate Factory, Milk Factory (Dairy Centre) , Biodynamic Organic Dairy, Barra Fishing, Boat Hire, Smokehouse and Fish Farm, Horse Riding, ATV'S, Microlights, Segways, Skyrail, Train Rides, Swimming, Waterfalls, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Water Sports, Crater Lake Boat Cruise, Antique Stores, 4WD Tours, A-La-Carte Restaurants, Historic Hotels, Strawberry Farm, Weekend Markets, Opal & Gem Gallery, Crystal Caves, Pottery, to Art Galleries.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Barking Owl Retreat is the perfect Luxury accommodation location to fulfill that bucket list activity of Balloon Riding. We get many guests staying here to do the Balloon Ride which is located in Mareeba just 25 minutes away. Many guests highly recommend the thrilling Balloon Ride and champagne breakfast. What a way to start the day! The hot air balloons can be seen on the horizon from your cottage's back deck bright and early in the morning.

Waterfalls Circuit

Cairns Highlands Atherton Tablelands Attractions are breathtaking and beautiful. From the many photographic Waterfalls - Malanda Falls, Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls, Ellinjaa Falls, Mungalli Falls, Dinner Falls & more, Dairy Farms with rolling green hills and dams, Lake Tinaroo Dam, Volcanic Crater Lakes - Lake Eacham & Lake Barrine, Mt Hypipamee Crater, Lookout's - Halloran's Hill & Millaa Millaa, Lava Tubes and Limestone Caves - Undara National Park & Chillagoe-Mungana National Park, Granite Gorge, Tropical Wetlands, Windy Hill Wind Farm, to Heritage listed Forest with famous ancient rainforest trees. The Millaa Millaa Waterfalls circuit is located on Theresa Road just 1 km east of Millaa Millaa on the Palmerston Highway. The circuit is made up of Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls, and Ellinjaa Falls. Millaa Millaa Falls (pictured) is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Australia. You can swim in the cool waterhole below the falls in the picturesque setting of fern trees and surrounding rainforest. You may even spot turtles or platypus and should certainly see the native bush turkeys on the drive in. Zillie Falls is located just 7.5 kms from Millaa Millaa Falls and a further 3 kms on is Ellinjaa Falls. All Falls are worth the drive although Millaa Millaa is the most popular.

Coffee !

The Atherton Tablelands boast 3 completely different coffee experiences as well as Australia's biggest Tea Plantation Nerada. The Coffeeworks in Mareeba is a boutique roastery and chocholaterie with a cafe, gift shop, chocolate room, and tasting experience. Coffeeworks is now also in Atherton.  Jaques Coffee is located just outside of Mareeba and boast a Cafe, Coffee farm tours, Gyrocopter or Microlight flights, and Off-road Segway Adventures.  Skybury has a Cafe and Roastery with views over the plantation and is located 9 kms from Mareeba.  They also grow sweet Red Papayas. Nerada Tea visitors centre is 10 kms outside of Malanda where you can see the Tea plantation and factory, buy fresh tea, or enjoy a denvonshire tea.

Local Produce

The Atherton Tablelands is a farming community which has rich red volcanic soil and perfect weather conditions for growing many crops. You will see seasonal road side stalls of Mangos, Watermelons, Lychees, Potatoes, and Avocados. You can also find fresh fruit and vegetables at the local Markets and The Humpy. Or local organic and biodynamic produce can be found at the Atherton Organic Farmers Co Op on Herberton Road. A popular tourist spot is the local strawberry farm Shaylee Strawberrys. There is also a macadamia nut farm Wondaree Macadamias, banana farms, and large scale Blueberry farming.

Wineries and Distillery

The Atherton Tablelands has two wineries Golden Drop WinerydeBrueys Boutique Wines, and one distillery Mt Uncle Distillery. Golden Drop winery has a working mango plantation and is located just over 10 minutes north of Mareeba. They sell tropical Mango Wines, Citrus Cellos, Mango Port, and Golden Mango liqueur style wine at the cellar door. deBrueys Boutique Wines sell tropical fruit wines, ports, and liqueurs from their cellar door as well as online and do tastings at the winery. deBrueys also have a huge function venue for weddings and other events. Mt Uncle Distillery produces award winning premium spirits and liqueurs and do tastings at their cellar door and gift shop. Their Bridges Bar & Restaurant serves a selection of delicious wood fired pizzas.

Atherton Tablelands Dairy Country

The beautiful drive to the waterfalls circuit through Malanda, Tarzali, and Millaa Millaa entails dairy farms with lush rolling green hills. Tarzali Lakes is a fishing attraction along the way. See the laid back country life in the slide show above with the dairy cows crossing the road to return to the paddocks after milking. Milking can also be seen at Gallo's Cheese and Chocolate Factory along with baby farm animals and cheese making. Be sure to sample some cheese and chocolate while you are there!  Malanda is home to Dairy Farmers Milk and The Malanda Dairy Centre. The Malanda Falls are situated near the town centre and has a swimming area and rainforest walking tracks. Millaa Millaa on the Palmerston Highway is home to Mungalli Creek Biodynamic Dairy and Organic Cafe. They make mouthwatering cheesecakes, marinated feta, cheeses, yoghurts, gelato and not to mention Milk! Mungalli Creek Dairy is just 10 minutes from Mamu Tropical Skywalk another special place to visit providing spectacular panoramic views of World Heritage rainforest landscapes.

Platypus Spotting

Top hot spots for Platypus viewing are the Malanda Falls. Take the walking track at the right of the falls to view Platypus along the creek.  Many guests highly recommend this spot.  The famous Yungaburra Platypus viewing Platform at Peterson's creek in the township also reports many sightings. See the native Platypus at play in their natural habitat. Peterson Creek is located at the bridge entrance to Yungaburra on the road in from Atherton. There is also a 2km walking track with abundant beautiful birdlife along the way. This great platypus photo was taken by our guest Richard in Winter 2011. Look out for the tell tale bubbles on the water but be quick they could pop up anywhere at any moment!

Famous Heritage Listed Rainforest Trees

There are many walking tracks on the Atherton Tablelands in the Heritage listed rainforest and also many famous rainforest trees to see. The Curtain Fig Tree is an enormous strangler fig tree over 500 years old and is located in The Curtain Fig National Park just a short drive out of Yungaburra. The aerial roots hanging down resemble curtains and there is a short boardwalk surrounding the tree. The bird songs amongst the tall rainforest giants are a must to be heard! The Twin Kauri Pines are located at Lake Barrine just 150 meters from the Teahouse on the 5km walking track. These 1000 year old giants give us a glimpse of what the first forests on earth were like. Before the Tablelands were logged there were vast numbers of Kauri trees throughout the rainforest. The Cathedral Fig Tree is also a gigantic 500 year old strangler fig tree located in the Danbulla State Forest around Lake Tinaroo Dam. It also has a boardwalk. The Gadgarra Giant Red Cedar was unfortunately blown down in cyclone Larry but you can see the stump of the massive tree which is a reminder of the logging timber days and is located off the Gillies highway near Lake Eacham.

Lake Tinaroo Dam

Lake Tinaroo Dam was created by damming the Barron River, and is now a multi-purpose storage dam providing water to tableland towns, power generation, crop irrigation, stock watering and recreation. Many water sports are enjoyed on the Lake including Barra fishing, sailing, skiing, wake boarding, knee boarding, canoeing, paddle boarding, jet boating, and swimming all year round. The scenic drive around the Lake is beautiful and worth the drive. Danbulla State Forest borders Lake Tinaroo and includes Eucalypt & Acacia forests, Pine plantations and Wet Topics World Heritage listed rainforest. Kauri Creek, located amongst the camping areas in the Danbulla National Park around the Lake is a beautiful spot for swimming with crystal clear water and a sandy bottom. There is also a fantastic rainforest walking track with magnificent flora and forna. You can also catch a big Barramundi with Tinaroo Barra Sportsfishing who do full and half day tours on Lake Tinaroo.

Volcanic Crater Lakes - Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine

Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine near Yungaburra are also known as the lakes district. Lake Eacham a volcanic crater lake, is a popular swimming spot for locals and tourists with great BBQ and picnic facilities and crystal clear water. Lake Eacham has a 3km walking track around the lake. Nearby crater lake, Lake Barrine, has a cruise boat trip around the lake to view it's beauty and nature, and a Tea House restaurant with a gift shop that overlooks the crater lake and rainforest.  Be sure to try the scones at the Tea House! Lake Barrine has a 5km walking track around the lake.

Mt Hypipamee Crater and Dinner Falls

The Mt Hypipamee Crater and Dinner Falls are located about 30km from Atherton on the Kennedy Highway towards Ravenshoe just past the Barron river. The Mt Hypipamee Crater is a huge diatreme otherwise known as a volcanic pipe. The pipe was opened upward through surface rocks by gas produced from molten rock below and as a result of tremendous pressure, the vent exploded sending volcanic bombs far across the landscape. It is 6 meters in diameter and 82 metres deep. There are walking tracks to both the falls and the crater. Dinner Falls are the headwaters of the Barron river. This area is also home to the Golden Bowerbird. Guests that stayed here in 2014 informed us of a nest near the falls.

Hasties Swamp and The Bromfield Swamp

Hastie's Swamp in Atherton is home to more than 200 bird species and is located just a few kms out of Atherton. Follow Herberton Road through Atherton past The Chinese Temple and the Mt Baldy walking tracks where you can also see more birds. Then just a few kms on the left is Hastie Road. Just a couple of hundred meters on the right is Hasties Swamp and has a magnificent public bird hide. A bird lovers paradise and one of my personal Atherton Tablelands must see places. See a list of Hasties Swamp bird species. See a video of hundreds of whistling ducks at Hasties Swamp on our Facebook Page. The Bromfield Swamp is located just past the Malanda Falls about 3 km's on Upper Barron Road. The Swamp is a large volcanic crater that has subsided one side to create a swamp. Between the months of July to January, the Sarus Cranes can be spotted each night returning to their nests. There is also a viewing platform handy for taking magnificent photos.

Mount Baldy and Yabi Mountain and Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park

The Atherton Tablelands is very privileged to have both walking trails and Mountain Bike tracks at Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve and Herberton Range State Forest. Get active and be at one with nature with a mountain hike or mountain bike ride. The walking trail has an 8km circuit between the two mountains 'Mt Baldy' and 'Yabi Mountain'. Cross through three different country terrains through the bushwalking circuit track. See beautiful birds along the way and views across to Lake Tinaroo Dam. The world-classed Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park has 17 different mountain bike single-track trails from Easy, Intermediate, to Difficult, graded according to International Mountain biking Association guide lines to cater for different skill levels. The breath taking climbs are well rewarded with blue and black graded descents that will keep even the most hardened and skilled adrenalin junkies happy. Atherton also has Mountain Bike Hire.

The popular Yungaburra and Atherton Tablelands Markets

Barking Owl Retreat is also a central position for all of the Atherton Tablelands Markets.
  • Yungaburra Markets 4th Saturday Bruce Jones Grounds, Yungaburra
  • Atherton Markets 1st Saturday Platypus Park, Herberton Rd, Atherton
  • Tolga Markets 1st Sunday Morrow Racecourse, Tolga
  • Malanda Markets 3rd Saturday Malanda Show Grounds
  • Mareeba Markets 2nd & 5th Saturday Centenary Park, Mareeba
  • Ravenshoe Markets 4th Sunday Railway Station, Ravenshoe
  • Herberton Markets 3rd Sunday Sports ground, Wondecla
  • Kairi Markets 2nd Sunday Grounds across from Kairi Hotel
  • Walkamin Markets 2nd Sunday next to Walkamin Sports Complex
  • Kuranda Markets 7 Days

Eating Out with Fine Dining or Fast Food !

Who's cooking tonight? Not me! Don't want to cook on holidays, check out our Local Guide where we have a huge list of Restaurants, Cafes, Hotels (Pubs), and Take Aways.


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