MAREEBA WETLANDS

Mareeba Wetlands kayaking

MAREEBA WETLANDS is a 5,000 acre nature reserve close to Mareeba and Cairns with interconnecting lagoons and creeks.  These lagoons including Clancy’s lagoon attract a wide diversity of birdlife with over 200 species of birds and provides a sanctuary to most of Australian tropical water birds.

Mareeba Wetlands and Jabiru Safari Lodge are closed from April 2018 for day visitors. Whilst conservation works are undertaken at the Mareeba Wetlands, overnight stays at Jabiru Safari Lodge and day visits to the Mareeba Wetlands will not be possible. Throughout  2018,  conservation works will be undertaken so we look forward to when both Mareeba Wetlands and Jabiru Safari Lodge re-open in the future.  Whilst the conservation works are undertaken, day access and overnight stays won’t be possible except for specialised open days which will be advised.

Where to go whilst Mareeba Wetlands is shut?

Atherton Tablelands is a diverse rich ecological environment, locations including Hastie’s Swamp and the Yungaburra and Malanda regions are ideal locations for bird watching.  Closer to Cairns is the wonderful Cattana Wetlands just 15 minutes from Cairns.  These wetlands are ideal for nature experiences and are a good option to visit whilst Mareeba Wetlands is closed.  A popular accommodation close to Cattana Wetlands is the Villa Marine Nature Reserve.

Where to stay while Mareeba Wetlands is closed?

Throughout the Atherton Tablelands there is a good choice of holiday accommodation including motels, hotels and holiday cottages.  A popular accommodation for bird watchers is Villa Marine Nature Reserve.

 When are the best times of the year to visit Mareeba?

The best time to visit the Wetlands from our past experience is from April to December as the reserve is usually closed in January, February & March and during wet season and usually opening again in April.  My favourite times to visit are in May when the Brolgas and Sarus Cranes begin to arrive in August and September the Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and as the lagoons dry out, this is a great time to spot kangaroos, wallabies and emus.

October is when large numbers of Brolgas & Sarus Cranes are roosting and November and December with the large number of whistling ducks.

Mareeba Wetlands Emu                                                     Kayaking Mareeba Wetlands

What to do at the Mareeba Wetlands

  • Canoeing on lagoon, hire a canoe and canoe around the extensive lagoon system. This is the most wonderful activity, stable canoes.  It is thoroughly recommended and it was the highlight of our trip to the Mareeba Wetlands.
  • Fly fishing at Mareeba Wetlands
  • Wildlife and birdwatching throughout the Mareeba Wetlands
  • Private guiding
  • Sunset tours
  • Self-guided interpretive walks around the Mareeba Wetlands.
  • To book, any activities when it re opens or overnight stay Jabiru
    Safari Lodge contact Cairns Beaches Tourism Information Centre. The local experts on nature tours in North Queensland and the Cairns Region Phone 07 4055 7158.

How to get to Mareeba Wetlands?

From Cairns drive north along Captain Cook Highway taking the Kuranda Range at Smithfield.  It is an easy 1 hour drive from both Cairns.  Drive through Mareeba and 6.5 kms north of Mareeba the reserve is located.  Take signpost on left side to Mareeba Wetlands along Pickford Road.

Do you need a four wheel drive to go the Mareeba Wetlands?

Not usually, as the gravel road is suitable for regular cars.  You don’t need a four wheel drive unless you were travelling during wet season.  It is a 4 km drive to the Mareeba Wetlands Reserve gate and then a further 3 kms to the visitors car parking, toilets and disabled access.

What birds can I see at Mareeba Wetlands?

Birds to see at Mareeba Wetlands include over 200 species. Diverse range of birdlife and wildlife include 6 different Quill species, Magpie, Geese, Black Swans, 11 different duck species and 3 different Grebes, Darters and Cormorants, Pelicans, Crakes, Rails, Swamphens, Moorhens & Coots, Herons, Egrets, Bitterns, Ibis, Spoonbills, Storks (Jabiru), Cranes including Brolga, Sarus Crane, Bustards, Sandpipers, Godwits, Common Greenshank, Stints, Jacanas which thrive on the water lilies, Curlews, Stills, Avocets, Lapwings, Plovers, Dotterels, Terns.

Birds of Prey including Osprey, Kites, Hawks, Eagles, Harriers and Falcons.  Five different pigeons and doves have been recorded and of course the famous Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo.  We have great sightings of Black Cockatoos at the Wetlands and on the road into Mareeba Wetlands. Parrots including Lorikeets, Rosellas & Red Wing Parrots. With 9 different varieties of Cuckoos, Keels and Coucals not to mention a great location if you wish to see owls.  “Five different species, 3 different Frogmouths and Night jars.

One of the most beautiful birds to see are the Kingfishers especially the Azure Kingfisher, a delight to see around the lagoons.   Both the laughing Kookaburra and Blue Winged Kookaburra are regularly seen.  Bee eaters, Rollers & Tree Creepers and Pardalotes are well represented as well as numerous Honeyeaters, beautiful Robins, Bee Eaters, Thrushes, Monarchs, Magpie Larks; Fly Catchers & Wagtails are seen throughout the Wetlands.

One to look out for is the fascinating Great Bowerbird, a delight to watch.  The changing and different habitats within the Mareeba Wetlands give great opportunities to observe Finches, Mandikins.  The Wetlands if of course famous for the Gouldian Finch program.  For more extensive bird list, see www.mareebawetlands.org

 

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