GO ON A trip to Far North Queensland and explore the area around the largest town on the Atherton Tablelands. Mareeba experiences more than 300 sunny days a year and prides itself on being the ballooning capital of the world. Abundant wildlife and magnificent scenery await you at this destination with something for everyone. Rich in Aboriginal heritage you will find plenty to do with bushwalks and bike tracks galore. Adventure during the day and enjoy the unique accommodation and fantastic local foods at night.
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Road and mountain biking: An exhilarating way to experience the beauty of the Tablelands, numerous tracks and organised bike adventures surround Mareeba. With little traffic on the paved country roads it is possible to take scenic rides between the villages. The area also claims some of the best mountain bike and road cycling adventures in Queensland. Check some out at Barron Gorge National Park and the awesome Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park.
Bushwalking: More than 300 of Australia’s 898 bird species can be found in the region so be sure to keep an eye out as you walk the tracks of Barron Gorge National Park to stunning Emerald Creek Falls. If you are after some cuter wildlife, go walking in Granite Gorge Nature Park where you can get close to wild rock wallabies.
Flying: Mareeba boasts clear blue skies perfect for flying. More people go hot air ballooning here than anywhere else on Earth, so wake up early and glide over the bushland and farms of the valley. If you are into history you can take a flight on one of the three fully restored warplanes – a T6 Harvard, Winjeel or cool Nanchang CJ-6.
Location: One-hour drive west of Cairns where there are regular flights coming in from all over Australia.
Accommodation: Mareeba has options for all budgets, from unique Jabiru Safari Lodge located in the wetland reserve to camping at Mareeba riverside Caravan Park.
Food/drink: There is no shortage of culinary delights in the region known for its coffee, tropical fruit and wine, so head to the markets held on the second Saturday of each month.
Points of interest: Barron Gorge National Park, Mareeba Wetland Reserve, Birdworld and Mareeba Heritage Museum.
Maps: Free maps and information on the area are provided at the visitor centre on the outskirts of town.