Mareeba is perhaps best known for coffee plantations and rodeos and as a place to stock up before road trips to remote outback areas of Far North Queensland, but there’s actually more to discover here than most people imagine.
Few people specifically head for Mareeba as a destination in it’s own right. However, the town itself, as well as the surrounding areas, do actually have a lot to offer and there is plenty to explore.
Mareeba Heritage Museum
On a recent trip to Mareeba we decided to visit the Mareeba Heritage Museum and we were surprised at just how fascinating it was.
It’s similar to Herberton’s Historic Village but on a smaller scale so if you’re a bit of a history buff you will definitely get something out of it.
Since entry is free its definitely worth checking out. We ended up spending at least an hour there.
There are lots of displays and small buildings representing Mareeba’s vast and varied history. These include interactive displays showing Aboriginal Culture, the Mount Mulligan Mine, explorers, pioneers and early settlers, a blacksmith shop, a vintage rail ambulance, the old post office and telephone exchange and a tobacco display.
This is one of my favourite places to visit because its peaceful and always brimming with wildlife.
Every time we visit we see wallabies seeking shelter under shady trees and plenty of birdlife on Clancy’s lagoon.
There’s usually swans, ducks, miniature geese, cormorants and kingfishers around too.
In fact, there’s around 200 species of birds that inhabit these wetlands. You might even see and emu coming to greet you as you arrive.
Plus we love visiting the wetlands for the great walking tracks and even a giant silver lizard sculpture, which is the last thing you expect to find in the middle of the bush.
There is also accommodation here at the Jabiru Safari Lodge, which is popular with birdwatchers.
Mareeba is known for its coffee plantations. Many people on self drive trips do the ‘Coffee Trail’, which includes Skybury Coffee, Jacques Coffee and CoffeeWorks.
All three of these are different but equally great to visit.
Skybury has a pole structured building with decks overlooking the coffee plantation. Jaques Coffee run tours and microlight flights. CoffeeWorks offer taste testing of coffee, tea and chocolate and has a large museum housing coffee machines from the last 50 or so years.
They are all worth a visit.
If you love a good wine then you should drop into one of the wineries in the Mareeba region to taste some of our local varieties. DeBrueys Boutique Wines, the Golden Drop Mango and Mount Uncle Distillery provide a good selection of wines, ports and liqueurs.
Mareeba is surrounded by some beautiful national park areas including Davies Creek and Emerald Creek Falls.
There are so many picturesque creeks and waterholes in the area but these are probably the best to visit.
All are only a short drive from the centre of Mareeba and are great places to swim, go bush walking and camp.
Granite Gorge is a private property with a beautiful landscape dominated by huge granite boulders.
It is mostly known for the colony of rock wallabies that live there, which visitors can feed by hand.
There is an entry fee and if you take a few extra dollars you can buy wallaby feed at the reception area.
Ballooning at Sunrise
To get the best view of Mareeba then an early morning hot air balloon over the town and surrounding farmland is definitely worth doing.
It’s an incredible way to see the sunrise and start the day and there are normally between four to six hot air balloons in the air each morning.
The bush surroundings means its easier to see the stars at night in the country than in town where there are lots of bright lights, so Mareeba is the perfect place to enjoy stargazing.
Night Sky Secrets run these tours a couple of times a month with the dates of each tour determined by the lunar calendar. The stargazing tours are held on a property between Kuranda and Mareeba and dinner is included.
Its a great night and a good chance to see the Milky Way and get a closer look at some of the plants through telescopes.
One of the biggest events on the Mareeba calendar is the Mareeba Rodeo in July each year. It’s a huge event and anyone visiting the rodeo can camp at the rodeo showgrounds. If you’ve never experienced a rodeo before, the Mareeba Rodeo is one of the best and worth visiting to get caught up in the atmosphere.
travel nq fast facts:
- Places to eat within Mareeba: Dino’s on the main street is a great little Italian deli/pizzeria. Alternatively, CoffeeWorks has a restaurant.
- Places to eat near Mareeba: Jacques Coffee and Skybury Farmgate have a cafe onsite (Skybury is only open on week days), Mount Uncle Distillery has a good restaurant and there’s a great little Ice Creamery near the turnoff to Emerald Creek Falls.
- Mareeba is about an hours drive from Cairns (head up to Kuranda and continue following the road west)
- This is grazing country and there are quite a few cattle stations in the area where you can camp