is a nice country town west of Cairns and Kuranda.
has always been
the centre of the surrounding farming country rather than a touristic
town, and that's why it is so nice and relaxed, and not crowded with
tourists like Cairns
But it does have a few things to see and do for travellers; and
it promotes itself as
the gateway to
Cape York, which, in a way, it is.
likely to pass through
Mareeba either on your way up or down, and it's good to know
Hundred Sunny Days a Year
you get here from Cairns, you have left the rainforests
behind, and you have got down from
the cold and
the mountains, it
less here, and Mareeba is known for
least 300 sunny days a year.
In the southern end of the town is Heritage Museum and tourist
discovering - a great museum with interesting displays on
Aboriginal, pioneer, tobacco growing
and mining history.
And great tourist information too.
in the middle of such rich farming country, there is an impressive
amount of different farms that you can visit - but these are all
outside the town.
If you want
to visit one
closest to the tasteries of the farms) inside the town, there
is the Coffee Works.
the street from the Coffee Works is the Pioneer Cemetery
that has the graves
of the first
European pioneers and settlers who arrived in the area in the late
Some of the
better known ones were the pastoralist John Atherton
and the prospector James Venture Mulligan.
Walks in Town
There are a few parks to walk in town. There is a walk that goes
Park to Bicentennial Lakes.
And there is another one that
the Brewery Hole and goes along Barron River to the hospital. You can join the two into a
adding a few streets.
Once a month on a Saturday (the second Saturday of the month) there are
markets in the Centenary Park.
The town is
on the Atherton
- an area very popular with markets - obviously thanks to the rich
volcanic soils, a lot of produce is here.
A Bit Outside Mareeba
Mareeba Wetlands, just north of the town, is the most famous place to
much you see of the hundreds of species of birds that live here, depends on the season, time of the day, and whether you do the walks
trips or just watch from the deck of the cafe.
Another famous place is Granite Gorge, which is further out than the
wetlands, and to the west of the town. And it is at
least as good.
The chances to see the birds
even better, there are some great walks
swimming holes, and there are the endemic
Creek Falls East of
town - on Kennedy Highway that comes in from Kuranda, are Emerald Creek Falls.
They are beautiful falls, and there is a very nice two
return walk with many creek views that starts in the carpark.
The next one east of the town after Emerald Creek Falls is Davies Creek.
There is a track you drive to
and from the spot with
you continue driving and then walk a short - less
kilometre circuit walk to the falls.
There are more walks if you are into bushwalking. From the picnic tables
you could walk three hours return to the falls along the creek.
also a more serious
Mount Turtle, and there is the Ridge Trail
Kahlpahlim Trail to Kahlpahlim
Rock in Lamb Range.
Northern Australia was bombed in the Second World War, and just like the Cape York
peninsula, Atherton Tablelands and
very much involved.
You can still visit training
all sorts of relics everywhere and Mareeba airport is one.
South of the town just like the airport above, there is an impressive War
museum in a
shed with all sorts of machinery from the Second World War - something
you don't generally associate Australia with as much as many other
places in the world.
Other Farms Being on
Atherton Tablelands Mareeba also has very rich soils and consequently a
lot of different farms - macadamia, tropical fruit, cattle, sugar cane,
tea, and coffee
that are popular with international backpackers
getting their second year visa doing fruit picking jobs.
Fruit Wineries Tropical
fruit farms include
avocado, banana, lychees, mango, pawpaws (papaya) and others -
them to sell as is, some also make tropical fruit
The ones that make wines
visitors to taste and buy - just like the grape wineries in the
southern parts of the country.
Mareeba is big enough a town to have MacDonalds, Red Rooster, Domino's Pizza and Subway -
before heading north, because it's the last town to
fast food chains.
And there are also the pubs, some small restaurants, and even a local ice creamery
There are many different places to stay in town. There are a good few caravan
parks, motels, hotels (pubs), farmstays etc.
You can also camp in Granite
Gorge, and there is great luxury
at Mareeba Wetlands north of the town - in the excellent Jabiru
the rich farming country all around it, the cool Atherton
south, the warmer coast and tropical rainforests just east, only 60km
to Cairns, a great sunny weather and a
fair few natural wonders just outside the town, Mareeba
is also a popular place to buy property.
Gorge is a great place to visit.
outside Mareeba, in southern end of Cape
It is a lovely place to come for a walk or a swim on a hot
day, or bring your kids to watch the friendly wild Mareeba Rock
The bird life is also quite amazing, I took many of my bird
fertile volcanic soils
of Atherton Tablelands, Mareeba has always been the centre for the extensive farming
country that surrounds it.
Mangoes, lychees, pawpaws, chillis and avocados are all grown around
the town, and there are
also coffee farms.
Those are open for visitors, most have a cafe and a shop, some even
have tours and restaurants.
is one of the best known ones, and they are also the oldest one in
They have the Australian Coffee Centre - an impressive
timber buidling with open decks with views over the plantation.
the town, they have a restaurant, a gift shop, and plantation tours
is the second best known with its cafe and gift shop, fun plantation
tours in the first mechanical coffee harvester in Australia, and even
microlights and helicopter flights - the whole thing is mostly like a
It is east of the town, along the road to Cairns
east of the town, a bit further out than Jacques, is Tichum Creek
It is a less touristic and more personal experience where
you can talk to Mario and Claudia to hear their story, and choose
between many yummy flavours of coffee to take home and/or drink here.
Mareeba coffee that is less touristic and more of a real experience is
the NQ Gold Coffee, which is west of the town, not far from Skybury.
Bruno has plenty of flavours you can buy even online, and his tour is
not on a fancy machine - you walk, but it's real, and it's good value.
And finally, in the town itself is Mareeba Coffee Works, a very
touristic and fancy shop and cafe where you can eat, drink and buy
liqueurs, 12 different chocolates, four different teas and 21 different
coffees from Australia as well as overseas, including Africa and South
wineries are fun places to visit.
fruit farms and plantations growing on the fertile soils around the
town, no wonder Mareeba is home for a few wineries. There are
two tropical fruit wineries and one distillery just outside the town. All are
open daily for tastings and purchases, some even serve meals.
Drop Mango Winery is the oldest of Mareeba wineries.
It makes mango
wines from its
Kensington Red mangoes grown on one of the largest mango plantations in
It is just north of the town near the turnoff to Mareeba
Wetlands, and it is open for visitors with daily tastings.
Brueys Botique Winery
Brueys Botique Winery is just east of the town off the road towards
Cairns and Kuranda.
It uses a wide range of different tropical fruits
including mango, lychee, jaboticaba, passionfruit and bush cherry to
make wine, port and liqueur. And it is open for daily cellar door
Uncle Distillery is south of the town towards Atherton, and it produces
rum, whiskey and vodka as well as liqueur from coffee and different
fruits such as Davidsons plum, banana, marshmallow and mulberry, plus
limecello and lemoncello.
It also makes and serves coffee, tea and
there are a few more tropical fruit wineries elsewhere in the tropical
north Queensland. With a climate too hot for grapes to grow, tropical
fruit wines are very popular.
North of Mareeba wineries is Shannonvale
Tropical Fruit Winery
near Mossman and Port Douglas. They make single fruit wines out of
mango, lime, jaboticaba, passionfruit and ginger; and port wine out of
lychees, kaffir lime, chocolate, black sapote, orange, purple
mangosteen, jabiticaba and ginger.
South of Mareeba wineries
are Murdering Point Winery near Kurrimine Beach, Paradise Estate Winery
near Mission Beach, and the Pacific Blue Winery in Townsville.
Murdering Point Winery
is the nothernmost one, 1.5 hours south of Cairns. It is a family
business located on a sugar cane farm. It is open daily for free guided
wine tastings, where you can also learn about the region's history. The
wines are made of jaboticaba, davidson plum and lemon aspen.
near Mission Beach claims being the largest and oldest banana winery,
but nowadays they don't do single fruit but interesting mixed
wines from banana, mango, pineapple, coconut, pitaya, vanilla oak,
french oak, davidson plum, kaki, bush lime, blueberry and strawberry.
in Townsville, makes tropical fruit as well as grape wines. The fruits
include mango, grapefruit, passionfruit, lime,
lychee, sapote and cumquat.
Drop Mango Winery is just north of Mareeba.
It is a
few kilometres into
a road that turns east just south of Biboohra, almost across the
highway from the turnoff to Mareeba Wetlands.
They also have a
shop in Kuranda ('new' markets on Coondoo Street), and they are
generally the best known
up here, running the cleverest marketing.
When my Mum was on a visit from Europe, a tropical fruit winery visit
was on the plans,
and Golden Drop was the place to go. What we tasted
(I had never doubted) was
Mango wines, and all the other tropical fruit wines, have the reputation to be sweet
and sticky - but you only believe that until you try one!
They are perfectly dry despite
been grown from sweet fruit - the method is different
from making grape wines.
Drop Mango Winery is a family business with one of the largest mango
plantations in the whole country. It used to be a tobacco
farm and later a mango farm before they started making mango wines.
Apart from selling wines
this mango winery is also a tourism attraction for both
visitors and southern Australians to whom tropical fruit wines are an
interesting change from their own traditional grape wines.
go and taste their
wines for free, and you can buy their dry wines as well as
Mango Port, Citrus Cellos and Golden Mango
liqueur - all made from their own Australian
Kensington Red Mangoes.
Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
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to stay (general info), what
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and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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