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Mareeba Tropical Savanna & Wetlands Reserve
Mareeba Tropical Savanna & Wetlands Reserve Review
Drive 70 km (44 mi) west of Palm Cove along the Kennedy Highway, past Mareeba, and you'll encounter another world: giant termite mounds dot savanna scrub, and vast reclaimed wetlands give refuge to hundreds of bird species, including Australia's only stork, the Jabiru. The reserve runs a raft of nature-based excursions on and around the vast, lily-littered lagoons. A great-value 2½-hour Sunset Reserve Safari combines a bird-watching cruise, a ranger-guided savanna drive on which you'll spot wallabies and kangaroos, a "billy" tea and bird-hide stop, and fine Aussie wine and cheese. Advanced eco-certified luxury safari-tent accommodation comes with breakfast baskets (A$98–A$159) and, if you like, all meals—including self-catering BBQ fixings (A$198–A$260 per night)—as well as wildlife-spotting and bird-watching walks. You can also paddle canoes or fly-fish for ancient species in the lagoons. Consider signing up for the Wetlands' fantastic four-day package including rainforest, reef, and outback trips, for A$815 pp (half that for kids); the price also includes accommodation and some meals. Daily transfers to and from Cairns are A$48 one-way. All proceeds feed back into the Wetlands' environmental work; you're not just paying for an experience, you're supporting a great not-for-profit organization and their strong, respected conservation efforts.
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