Mareeba is the ‘capitol of Cape York’. Although located on the tablelands, Mareeba is the last ‘big’ town when heading north to the far reaches of the Cape York Peninsular.
The Mareeba area was first settled by Europeans in 1877 by John Atherton, who arrived with cattle at Emerald End, which is just north of the town today. Mareeba quickly became a busy coach stop for Cobb & Co on the road from Port Douglas to Herberton. When the railway arrived in 1893, Mareeba grew into a busy town.
From 1942 to 1945, up to 10,000 Australian and US service personnel used Mareeba Airfield as a staging post for battles in New Guinea and the Pacific. A casual look at the hotels in Mareeba bears testimony to the war period.
The Heritage Museum is worth a look but the Becks Museum on the Atherton Road just out of town, that is a privately owned museum, and to a war enthusiast should not be missed. Allow plenty of time at the museum. Any questions and you will find the owner will have an historic mind that will amaze.
A really nice town that deserves, at a minimum an overnight stopover.