One of the reasons I write this blog is to introduce you to the people and places of my home, far north Queensland. As everyone who lives here knows, this region is so much more than what you read in the tourism brochures. The more you get off the well-worn tourist track, the more rewarding your travels will be.
It’s always amazed me that so few of our visitors venture far from the east coast of FNQ. The furthest inland most of them get is Kuranda, just 30 minutes from Cairns. Yes, there’s plenty to see and do in Cairns, the reef, and the Daintree are stunning, but there’s so much more to our region and much of it is inland.
The long road trip up Cape York Peninsula, or to the Gulf Country might not be for everyone, but you don’t have to go very far to find somewhere that gives you a taste of those places. It’s barely an hour’s drive from Cairns to the Mareeba Wetlands
It’s full name is the Mareeba Tropical Savannah & Wetland Reserve – about a ten minute drive north of Mareeba. It’s a 5000 acre community conservation project offering environmental education and research, & nature based tourism. It’s a not for proft enterprise run by the Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland
If you go back about 20 years, there were plans to use this area for sugar cane farming, making use of left-over water from the Mareeba Dimbulah Irrigation Area. That didn’t proceed but the then Mareeba Wetland Foundation came up with the idea of a series of gravity-fed wetlands in the tropical savannah. The result is the Mareeba Wetlands – a typically tropical ecosystem but completely different to the Great Barrier Reef or the rainforests.
Among bird-watchers, this place is renowned. But there’s plenty of other wildlife to be seen. You can camp here or stay at the Jabiru Safari Lodge
ABC Far North wildlife correspondent Martin Cohen has been coming here for years – today’s he’s taken me with him. LISTEN to our visit to the Mareeba Wetlands