Granite Gorge: How to Make the Most of Your Visit

granite gorge nature park wallaby
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Granite Gorge is a privately owned nature park near Mareeba. It is the kind of hidden treasure that most people are surprised to discover and it’s definitely a must-do if you’re touring the Cairns Tablelands with children.

Colleen Bryde is the lucky owner who gets to call this beautiful property her backyard. The striking scenery and rich wildlife have been luring tourists since 1977.

Many of them pop in for a quick look at the wallabies on their way through on a tour although it is also very popular with birdwatchers who come for the extensive range of savannah bird life in the park.

However if you only pop in for an hour just to see the wallabies you’ll be missing out. There’s much more fun to be had if you stay longer and go prepared.

Here’s our tips on how to get the most out of Granite Gorge Nature Park:

1. Buy wallaby feed at the reception

granite gorge rock wallabiesThe rock wallabies here are endangered and unique to the Mareeba area and they are undoubtedly the parks greatest drawcard.

Granite Gorge is their natural habitat and this is the only place where you can feed them in the wild so not surprisingly, they are the first thing that most people go looking for when they arrive at the park.

The wallabies are cute, gentle and easy to get up close to, especially so with a bag of $1 feed in your pocket. Make sure you buy one from the reception area before you make your way down to ‘Wallaby Rock’ just a short walk below the entrance.

2. Visit early in the morning or just before sunset

The wallabies are usually most keen to eat food from your hand first thing in the morning, which happens to be when there are less daytrippers around too.

Alternatively, if you go at the end of the day, the colours are richer and if you’re there at sunset you can sit on a huge boulder surrounded by wallabies as you watch the sun go down over the gorge.

3. Take good walking shoes

granite gorgeThe landscape at Granite Gorge seems perfectly designed as a natural adventure playground with gigantic boulders, caves, swim holes, creeks, bridges and waterfalls.

It is rock-hopping heaven for kids and definitely worth exploring.

There are three marked walking trails of about 1km each. We did all of them with two children aged 8 and 5 and they managed them perfectly well.

The trails don’t take too long to walk but take good walking shoes so you don’t slip on the rocks.

4. Go swimming, fishing or kayaking

There is a large weir at Granite Gorge with plenty of space for kayaking or fishing if you take your own gear. There are also a couple of swimming areas – a shallow water area and a deeper one. This is a great place to stop off for a cooling swim if you’re touring the Tablelands.

NOTE: There have been a couple of drowning incidents at this park in the last couple of years and questions raised about safety. We would advise against swimming in NQ creeks and swimming holes in the wet season when water levels are high. (June 2015)

granite gorge weir5. Stay overnight

There is a big camping area with plenty of shaded space as well as a few powered sites.

The facilities are quite basic but there are hot showers, shared kitchens with cooking facilities (including a kettle so you can easily make an early morning cuppa), BBQ’s and wood for open fires.

There are also three basic cabins available for overnight stays.

There is an entry fee into Granite Gorge because it’s a private property, not a national park. It costs $7 per person ($2 for school children). Campsites are $28. For more information go to www.granitegorge.com.au or call 07 4093 2259.

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