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Mareeba and Chillagoe Outback Tour from Cairns

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  • 1 Guest
    • Adult (15+)
    • Child (0-14)
from US$ 129.62 per person pp
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Key Highlights

  • Cruise through magical wetlands full of wildlife
  • A ′must′ for keen birders
  • Visit a mining ghost town and hear the stories
  • See coral reefs from the time of the dinosaurs
  • Overview

    Experience the wonder of wild Australia and meet the ghosts of speculators past in an old mining town.

    Take a guided cruise in an electric boat to see the fantastic variety of waterbirds at Mareeba wildlife sanctuary. Observe egrets standing sentinel among the reeds and jacanas feeding among the waterlilies.

    Visit the old mining town of Chillagoe. See the copper smelting towers, a monument to fortunes lost. Hear stories and scandals of the mining boom and bust.

    Visit the labyrinthine limestone caves of Chillagoe with an expert. Admire sparkling stalactites and spectacular stalagmites, and see ancient corals from the Age of the Dinosaurs.

    This is an Outback Adventure you will never forget!

  • Activity Schedule & Itinerary

    Activity Schedule

    When does it run?

    Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays


    12 hours

    Start time


    Meeting Point

    Good news! You can get picked up from your hotel in Cairns, just give us the details at the time of booking. Don’t worry if you have not booked your hotel yet, you pass them onto the operator when you are ready.

    Ending Point

    Your hotel in Cairns.


    Your naturalist driver/guide will come to meet you at your hotel (Cairns CBD, Northern Beaches incur an additional transfer fee). After introduction you will set off in a 4WD (4-wheel drive) vehicle for your exciting Mareeba and Chillagoe Outback Tour from Cairns.

    You will ascend the McAllister ranges and drive west across North Queensland. After about an hour you will reach the wildlife oasis of Mareeba Tropical Savannah and Wetland Reserve. This pristine wilderness area protects over 5000 acres of savannas (tropical grasslands) and wetlands.

    When you arrive at Mareeba, you will have morning tea and then embark on a 20-minute cruise in an environmentally friendly electric boat. A naturalist guide from Mareeba Reserve will accompany you. As you slip quietly through the waterlilies, you can see egrets, jabirus, jacanas and numerous other water birds as well as frogs, freshwater crocodiles and other animals. This may change due to flooding in the wet season. Wet Season Alternate is Granite Gorge and to hand feed the rare Granite Gorge Rock Wallabies.

    After your cruise you will drive through grasslands where, if you are lucky, you may spot kangaroos, wallabies, lizards, emus and other wildlife.

    From Mareeba you head west across the Great Dividing Range to the historic mining town of Chillagoe, a journey of about 140km (84 miles).

    The old town of Chillagoe dates from the 1870s. You will visit the Chillagoe copper smelters, built in the 1900s by investors convinced of the area's potential. The mineral wealth failed to materialize, fortunes were lost by speculators and the smelters were abandoned in the 1940s.

    At Chillagoe, you will also enjoy a delicious barbeque Australian Pub lunch. The menu includes rump steak or veg patty or fish and a selection of salads. Home made Australian Beef Burgers and Chips or Fish, Chips and Salad. Vegetarians are catered for upon notification prior to commencing tour.

    After lunch, you embark on an enthralling tour of Chillagoe limestone caves (approximately 1 hour). A National Park Ranger from the Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park will guide you through this underground 'wonderland'. As you view the spectacular caverns and fossilized coral reefs, you will be transported back to the time of the dinosaurs.

    Afterwards, board your vehicle for the return trip. You will stop for refreshments at the Australian Coffee Plantation “Skybury” (payable direct) on the way, admiring the spectacular views of the Atherton Tablelands and arrive in the early evening.

    At the end of your thrilling excursion, you will be dropped back at your hotel in Cairns.

  • Inclusions & Exclusions


    • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
    • Transportation in a 4WD (4-wheel drive) air-conditioned vehicle
    • English-speaking naturalist guide
    • Aboriginal rock art
    • Skybury coffee plantation
    • Chillagoe cave tour and smelters
    • Morning tea
    • Outback pub lunch
    • Entrance fee


    • Afternoon tea

  • Please note

    Voucher Information: Sorry, but we will need you to print a paper version of your booking voucher (we're working on changing this). At this time no refund can be given for customers without a printed copy of their voucher.

    A certain level of fitness is required for this tour as there are steps to the caves.

    Transfers from the Northern Beaches are AUD27.00 per person (payable directly). From Port Douglas, transfers are AUD54.00 per person (payable directly).

    Our supplier needs at least 4 people on the tour to be able to go ahead. In the unlikely event that less than this number book for your tour date we will offer you an alternative or a full refund.

    We suggest that you wear comfortable clothing and closed footwear. Bring your sunscreen, hat, bottle of water and don’t forget the camera!

    Department of Transport Regulations state seat belts are compulsory for all passengers and infants and must be worn at all times.

    Billy Tea Safaris reserves the right to alter or cancel itineraries due to weather conditions, flooding or other factors beyond the control of the operator, no refund will be given in these circumstances or in the event of any delay.

    Additional info

    The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details. They’re a nice bunch, and will happily answer any logistical questions you may have. Please give them a call at least 24 hours before your organised  activity to reconfirm.
  • Customer Reviews
    • Nice Intro to Paris

      Les Cars Rouges was an easy, convenient way to become familiar with the major sites of Paris. The buses arrived frequently; we waited very little. We also booked our night time...

      Gail Riihimaki, Canada
    • It was a nice tour. Our guide was knowledgeable and nice. The tour overall was a touch rushed. Not sure what to cut back on because it was awesome. Perhaps make it a little longer. Even an extra 30 minutes would have made it better.

      Christina Hollen-Morey, United States, 18/Feb/2018

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