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Malanda is a quiet town located about 25kms southeast of Atherton. It resides in one of the wettest areas of the Atherton Tablelands, and hence is surrounded by pockets of rainforest and rolling hills covered with lush green grass. Freshwater creeks snake their way through this region, culminating in waterfalls that cascade into refreshing swimming holes.
The principle reason for Malanda's existence is the Tropical North Queensland dairy industry. One of the world's largest dairy factories provides the main source of employment here, and is supported by over 190 local dairy farmers. The dairy products sourced from this town travel along the longest milk run in the world, reaching south to Townsville, west to Alice Springs, north to Darwin and overseas to New Guinea and South East Asia.
Malanda, in keeping with its world record breaking dairy industry, also has Australia's oldest operating picture theatre called ‘The Majestic'. No, this is not the theatre from the movie of the same name starring Jim Carey, but is from the same era and has remarkable similarities to the theatre from the Hollywood movie. Even the seats are canvas!
For visitors to Malanda, highlights include the Malanda Environmental Centre where the geological history of the Atherton Tablelands is explained. Expert guides and interactive displays tell the story of how the cool wet climate of the Malanda region developed, and how the ecosystem supports itself.
As you drive into Malanda (approaching from Atherton), you'll see a small waterfall and swimming hole on the left side of the road. This is an excellent place to stretch your legs, have a refreshing swim, or enjoy a picnic lunch. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy platypuses and the not-so-shy scrub turkeys.