Granite Gorge in Mareeba is a beautiful nature park where you can witness animals in their natural habitats. The main attraction for visitors and tourists of this privately owned nature park is the rock wallabies. You can feed them by hand as they gently eat out of your palm.
As well as this, there are a variety of other animals to enjoy as well as the eye-catching landscape.
We are going to show you what else Granite Gorge in Mareeba has to offer and give you a better idea on how to make the most of your day there.
Granite Gorge Nature Park
To give you a better understanding of the place you’re about to visit, a little bit of history always helps.
Granite Gorge is a privately owned nature park and has been attracting tourists since 1977. It is rich in wildlife and surrounded by giant boulders, with little rivers and lakes flowing in-between.
The Mareeba rock wallabies are and have been the main attraction here as they are unique to the region. They were first recognised as a rare new species at the gorge in 1996.
Unfortunately, the Mareeba rock wallabies are now considered endangered and that’s why they are so rare to see in other parts of Mareeba. They are said to naturally occur in some mountain ranges in the region but the Granite Gorge is the only place to see them up close and personal.
The rock wallabies aren’t the only thing to get excited about if you’re a nature lover. Birds, turtles, dingoes and quolls can also be found at Granite Gorge.
How to get to Granite Gorge in Mareeba
Address: Granite Gorge Nature Park, 332 Paglietta Rd, Arriga QLD 4880, Australia
The main place tourists and visitors drive from to visit Granite Gorge, is Cairns. To get to Mareeba from Cairns takes approximately 1h 10 min by car via Nation Route 1. Granite Gorge is approximately 12 km from the centre of Mareeba.
Driving there, assuming you come into the category of backpackers or families who have rented or own your own car, is the best way to get to Granite Gorge. You’ll go down a long and red, classic Australian dirt road. If you go in December – January you’ll see these beautiful bright red trees. Which we found to be very romantic!
Some Atherton Tablelands tours pass through Granite Gorge in Mareeba to see the friendly Rock Wallabies. To get better prices and information, ask the many visitor centres located in Cairns or any other major city or town you may be visiting from.
Another alternative is by taxi, or getting a bus from Cairns to the centre of Mareeba and then a taxi from Mareeba to Granite Gorge. It is a lot of hassle and very time consuming so you can see why we suggest renting a car.
Nearer to the arrival to Granite Gorge the drive seems like you are driving to the middle of nowhere. Hardly any people were about when we drove and everywhere seemed lifeless and eerie. Partly because it was the holidays and less people were about and partly because it is situated out of main civilization. So if you find yourself questioning if you took a wrong turn, you probably haven’t.
Granite Gorge prices
Upon arriving at Granite Gorge you will see the visitor’s information centre reception. This is where you can get all the information you need regarding the prices. However, the most recent prices can be found on their website. The prices we paid were:
High school children $6
Primary school children $3
Free for children under 5 years old
You can also purchase a bag of food pellets to feed those cute little rock wallabies for $1. Don’t forget about the turtles as they love the food pellets too!
Granite Gorge caravan park
You can also camp at Granite Gorge as they have an unpowered campsite with shower and kitchen facilities. The camping rates are based on individuals:
Adult $16 / night
High school children / night
Primary school children $4 / night
Children under 5 camp free
A positive note it that your fellow doggo traveller is allowed with you in the camp site, as long as they are tied up. However, dogs are not allowed in the Gorge itself for the health and safety of all the animals as well as any other visiting guests.
Granite Gorge opening hours
Granite Gorge is open Monday – Sunday 9 am – 5:30 pm. We would advise to go earlier in the morning and later in the evening for the cooler weather if visiting during the summer.
Things to do at Granite Gorge
Granite Gorge in Mareeba is so diverse on activities. Make sure you bring some swim shorts, some good walking shoes and plenty of water.
Don’t miss out on the parrot near reception along with the lizards and guinea pigs.
1. Follow one of the trails
There are a few trails you can do throughout Granite Gorge. We found the yellow trail to be the most convenient because it takes you around some beautiful landscapes and was only 30 – 40 min to complete.
It is easy to follow as there is yellow paint guiding you along the way until the end.
The trails are great and you will work up a sweat. You will have to do some rock-hopping over big boulders but its more fun than strenuous.
This is perfect for the kids if you are visiting as a family.
Wear some good shoes or trainers (runners) if you intend to the trails, leave the sandals (sliders) in the car.
2. Feed the rock wallabies
These little cuties come hopping out from the creeks of the boulders as soon as they hear rustling of food.
They are surprisingly gentle whilst they eat out of your hand. The Mareeba rock wallabies are used to human contact at Granite Gorge so they are safe around children too.
You will have a lovely memorable experience surrounded by these rare wallabies whilst you feed them. You will feel like the wallaby whisperer.
We must have spent a good 30 min here feeding, playing and stroking the wallabies. It’s a memory we will always treasure.
3. Feed the turtles
We hope you saved some of the food because turtles love the pellets too.
There were so many turtles in the lake and they all came to us for food, they loved it.
We came across a big one who looked like he/she had their fair share of pellets over the months. Wasn’t the prettiest thing either, but judge we shall not.
The turtles are more cautious than the wallabies so don’t be expecting them to sit on your lap. They’ll come for food and go.
4. Swim in Granite Creek Weir
More than likely the day you visit will be underneath the gorgeous Australian sunshine. What better way to cool off than in the crocodile free granite creek weir.
There are some rails on the cliff that safely bring you down / up to the water. There you will find a large lagoon which is perfect for swimming in. You can also canoe in it.
5. Admire the landscape at Turtle rock
Stand up tall above the trees and admire the amazing rock formations.
Turtle Rock is a point in the yellow trail that will put everything into perspective. What a beautiful part of the world Granite Gorge is.
- Wear trainers! We wore sandals and it was hard walking up some of the boulders without them falling off
- Wear a hat and sunscreen, as it was 39 °C when we went and we were glad we had that extra bit of protection
- There is a big water tank by the toilet to refill your water bottle
- There is a BBQ area there too if you have an esky/cooler full of food
- 2 bags of food was enough to feed the wallabies and the turtles
- Bring your swimwear as you can swim there
- 2 hours is the perfect amount of time to see everything, chill out and have lunch
Do the rock wallabies at Granite Gorge in Mareeba bite?
They are used to humans and are not likely to bite. However, they can get aggressive towards each other over food.
Is Granite Gorge good for families?
Yes, it is great for a family outing. It is especially good fun for kids interacting with the animals and rock hopping.
Do they accept card payment at Granite Gorge?
Yes they accept card payment and cash.
Can I buy food at Granite Gorge?
Yes you can buy food; they sell small snacks such as ice-cream and drinks at reception.
What are the Granite Gorge opening hours?
9 – 5:30pm Monday – Sunday
What animals are at Granite Gorge?
The wildlife at Granite Gorge consists of rock wallabies, lizards, birds, dingoes, turtles and many more.
People often visit the Atherton Tablelands as part of a waterfall tour if they’re coming or going from Granite Gorge. If you haven’t already been to Cairns, they’re some great things to do there such as taking a day trip to the tropical Fitzroy Island or visiting the Crystal Cascades, a glittering set of waterfalls where you can jump and plunge into them via the natural waterslide.