Meeting Rock Wallabies at the stunning Granite Gorge Nature Park, Mareeba, Far North Queensland

Far North Queensland / Travel Blog

Visiting Far North Queensland doesn’t have to be all about tropical rainforests, once you start to head inland the landscape begins to change dramatically. One of the lesser known gems of the region is called Granite Gorge Nature Park which is located just outside the town of Mareeba and is only an hour and a half drive from Cairns.


Granite Gorge Nature Park is the ideal getaway from the busy tourist hot spots offering fascinating hiking trails with a difference, and encounters with wildlife that make the journey all the more special. If you’re a real lover of nature you may also wish to consider staying the night or weekend in this secluded surrounding as the park offers some accommodation options.

Upon arriving at Granite Gorge Nature Park, visitors are greeted with a welcome at the Visitor Centre where the entry fee is payable to enter the park. Once paying the $12.00 adult entry you’ll be given a map along with a run down on what you can see and do within the park.

Not only can you make visiting Granite Gorge Nature Park a fun day trip but you can also turn it into an incredible stay with a couple of accommodation options available on site, that range from camping with your own equipment or you can opt to stay in a self contained cabin. Granite Gorge Nature Park also offers Safari Tents for camping that can been booked for two or four people.

VIDEO: Part 1 Kuranda and Granite Gorge

Once you’re ready to head off and explore around the park the decision needs to be made as to which track you’ll take. Two main tracks are highlighted in red and yellow with the red track being the longest and taking in most of the scenic experiences of the park, and is probably the most recommended one to take. Visitors to the park that want a less strenuous encounter can take the yellow track or simply head in for a short stroll and head back out the same way.

The first thing visitors are greeted with are an array of furry friends. Rock Wallabies wait patiently knowing that they will have a steady flow of people throughout the day, offering them Wallaby food available to purchase from the visitors centre for $1.00.

If you happen to be here on your own at the time you’ll get swarmed with the little furry creatures, however if there are other people you won’t get hassled as much as the love is shared around. Most of the Rock Wallabies like to hang out near the entrance as they know this is where everyone comes in, however you’ll still catch a number of them pouncing around within the park as you walk, just not as many.

Once you’ve finished playing around with the Rock Wallabies the first thing to go and see is the weir. The pristine waters of the weir are ideal for a nice afternoon swim to get out of the heat, however be warned it can still be quite chilly in the water.

I’ve swum in here on two occasions and it can be quite pleasant. The second time I did it, it was really cold and I didn’t last being in the water very long at all. You can also swim across to a large boulder in the middle of the water and attempt to climb it before jumping back off into the water.

On my three other visits to the park you were also allowed to climb up along the weir and jump off from here, however on this occasion safety barriers were installed with signs restricting people’s movements. Personally I wouldn’t come here if you are just looking for a place to swim, come here to enjoy the scenery and the hikes. If you’re looking for somewhere for swimming although it is a lot more crowded, consider a day trip to Mossman Gorge.

The weir is also home to some more little creatures, but this time they were quite shy compared to the Rock Wallabies. Turtles can be seen along the shoreline occasionally sticking their head up for a peak and a breath of air before quickly retreating when they realise that you are watching them.

If you have the time try and sit here for as long as you can just taking the in scenery, especially if you have the place to yourself. I was lucky enough to do so until other people arrived…that was then my cue to move on and explore the rest of the park.

Continuing on from the weir you then start to come across more of the type of landscape this place is named after: giant boulders are all around you, as far as the eye can see. You then get the choice to take the red or yellow path and I always take the red path as it’s longer.

At the end of the park you reach the raging creek that corkscrews its way through the boulders and to a rock named Whale Rock. It’s easy to see why as there is no denying that it looks like a large whale. From here you have the option to head back the way you came, you can then even attempt the shorter yellow track to take you back to the beginning or you can take the flat ’emergency track’ around the park. This is a good option if you’re tired from climbing all the rocks on the way down.

Granite Gorge Nature Park is a great day out for anyone that loves a good hike with plenty of variety. For more information on Granite Gorge Nature Park, head over to the website which includes an updated price list which may have changed since this was last written here.

VIDEO: Part 2 Skyrail & Peppers Beach Club & Spa Palm Cove

VIDEO: Part 3 Mossman Gorge, Great Barrier Reef & Cairns Airport Mangroves

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A guide book isn’t cheating! Before you leave on your next adventure ensure you plan to get the most out of your trip and check out the range of guide books from Lonely Planet. The comprehensive guide books on Australia from Lonely Planet will give you an insight on what to expect on your travels to this amazing country.

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Just your average guy doing his 9 - 5 job as a Senior Payroll Officer by day, writing about his travel adventures and hopefully giving you inspiration and ideas for your next travel adventure here at loneXplorer...

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