On the cusp of the Queensland Outback, gateway to the wilds of Cape York and right at the doorstep of World Heritage listed rainforest, sunny Mareeba is the perfect base from which to explore the many experiences and stories of the region. An adventure for the whole family!
Get up early for the glorious dawns that make this the hot air ballooning capital of the north, then wander the main street and trace the architectural heritage of this multicultural community. Check out the cowboys fresh from the Cape at the local rodeo or head south west to uncover the traces of long abandoned mining towns. Sit quietly by a waterhole and let the local birdlife put on show or take a drive and count the eight extinct volcanoes that gave this region its fertile agricultural soils, or the three gorgeous waterfalls that dissect it. Learn about coffee, tobacco, dairying and timber cutting, then take a walk with a rainforest elder to learn the secrets of survival in his beautiful homeland. Dwarfed by giant figs, kauri pines and ancient cedar, then wonder at the determination that cleared these mighty trees for farming – by hand. Visit a village in a rainforest and marvel at the creativity that the landscape inspires or take a drive up a windy hill to experience the strange beauty of a mountain wind farm.
Only in Tropical North Queensland could you sample the romantic spaces and glorious sunsets of the outback, then catch sunrise over the Coral Sea, surrounded by the sophisticated delights of a thriving tropical city.
Whether its diving, snorkeling, shopping, walking, camping, fishing, bird watching, fossicking or hot air ballooning, you’ll find the perfect experience in the Tropical North. Here you can follow the footsteps of gold struck miners, then climb an extinct volcano to see ancient lava flows writ large on the landscape. Visit the highest town in Queensland, then come down to nature’s cathedral in World Heritage Rainforest. Plunge into a freshwater lake or dive into the cool blue of the Great Barrier Reef and eyeball a curious turtle. Take time to refuel with fresh tropical fruit and freshly roasted coffee or a glass of wine, before finding a quite spot to watch the stars appear in the north’s unpolluted skies. It’s a free show every night.
Top 10 Things to see & do
- History At the Mareeba Heritage Museum & Information Centre start with the local Aboriginal history, then work through the miners, tobacco growers, soldiers and cattlemen who’ve passed through this northern crossroads.
- Birding The Mareeba Tropical Savannah & Wetland Reserve initially an irrigation channel is now an internationally recognized reclaimed wetland, home to 204 bird species, 20 mammal species and countless fish, frogs and reptiles.
- Coffee Over 70% of Australia’s coffee crop is grown in Mareeba and you can taste, buy and explore at a number of local coffee roasters and plantations. Reputedly the oldest crop on the Tablelands, local coffee is finally gaining the attention it deserves. Visit the Information Centre for more details.
- Hot Air Ballooning As the sun rises so do the balloons, after being inflated in a spectacular display, float over the picturesque Atherton Tablelands regarded as Australia’s best ballooning location with over 300 days of Sunshine every year, carried by the wind, every flight is different.
- Mareeba Rock Wallabies A nature experience for the whole family can be found at the Granite Gorge Nature Park. Awesome landscapes of huge, dramatically shaped granite boulders dwarf you with their sheer size. This breathtaking stone wilderness is home to the Mareeba Rock Wallabies and many other native animals.
- Wine Fruit wines are another specialty of the Mareeba region. Golden Drop’s wines will introduce you the delights of mango. Its wide range of products include sparkling wine, port and liqueurs. At de Brueys Boutique Winery, taste the fabulous fermentations of lychee, mango, jaboticaba, bush cherry, mulberry, passionfruit and star apple.
- National Parks Davies Creek National Park conserves a granite landscape set in eucalypt forest on the north-east edge of the Atherton Tableland. This relatively small but popular 486ha reserve is 7 km along a gravel road which leave the Kennedy Highway 15km east of Mareeba. Emerald Creek Falls, is just one of many beautiful picnic spots within our Shire. Here there is a large, flat, grass covered picnic area on the edge of the creek, with several brick BBQ’s, picnic tables and toilet facilities. The creek is shallow and the water is clear cascading down from the mountains.
- Ice-Creamery Emerald Creek Ice-creamery are manufacturers of premium Ice-Cream and Sorbet. This award winning business is rapidly gaining a reputation for producing mouth tingling treats in a variety of colours using as much local fruit as possible.
- Hike ‘n’ Bike The region offers premium cycling, mountain biking and walking trails – opportunities range from family-friendly pathways, to full-day rides through spectacular landscapes and challenging technical trails. Davies Creek Mountain Bike Park has a network of trails that wind along the slopes of Lamb Range. With lengths and grades for everyone, riders navigate granite outcrops, cross clear streams, and traverse forests. These shared trails were built for mountain bike riding and for walkers.
- Markets Held every 2nd and 5th Sunday of the month. Mareeba Markets is a country fair where you can pick up amazing homemade wares and stock up on all your fruit and vege needs. Set aside the whole morning as you will need it to explore over 100 stalls, the bargain hunters delight.