The largest town on the Atherton Tableland and 64km west of Cairns, Mareeba is at the centre of Australia’s largest tobacco-growing region. Coffee grows locally, too, and there’s a thriving cattle industry and mining interests in the district. Only 100 years ago this was a truly wild place. Miners who set out from Cooktown in the 1860s and 70s met fierce resistance from the local Aborigines. One of these intrepid adventurers, James Mulligan, travelled up the Barron River and camped where the township now stands. Like Mulligan, you’ll be impressed by the huge kauri and cedar trees in the district, and will delight in the bushwalking opportunities. The annual Mareeba Rodeo, held in July, is a major event which draws cowboys and rough-riders from far and wide. A short drive west from the township will take you to the Mareeba Wetlands, set in a 2025ha reserve of lightly grassed savanna, the wetlands attract many species of migratory birds. The Wetlands Visitors Centre commands sweeping views to the north and west over Muluridjim Yalanji, Djungan and Mbarbaram country.