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Sunny NQ Mareeba offers True Blue two week mix of icon Australian country action

May 27, 2014
Sunny NQ Mareeba offers True Blue two week mix of  icon Australian country action

Queensland's iconic Mareeba Rodeo and Festival, 65th Rodeo and seventh Annual AgriculturalShow runs from June 28 to July 13. The Rodeo will be held on the July 12 and 13 at KerribeePark Rodeo Grounds.

Last year about 13,000 people attend the two-day rodeo, including locals, national andinternational tourists.

This was an increase of 14 percent on the previous year and the growth isexpected to continue.

There are over 350 competitors from all over Queensland, New SouthWales, Victoria and international competitors.

Top level competition and entertainment givesspectators plenty to watch over two days of full-on rodeo action from 7.30am each day. Events include bull ride, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, ladies and and junior events, Mazda Teams Relay,Interstate Rodeo Challenge Qld-v-NSW. There is a State of Origin Challenge betweenQueensland and New South Wales competitors. Teams compete in Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc,Steer Wrestling, Barrel Race and Breakaway Roping. Team members are matched against anopponent and that is the only person they have to beat to gain points for their team.

Time event competitors compete side by side. For example 2 barrel-racers or 2 steer-wrestlers atthe same time so spectators can see who wins the match-up for their team. Points are awarded foreach match-up.

The first Mareeba Rodeo was held in July 1949 affiliated with the AustralianRough Riders Association (ARRA). In 1949, in typical bush style, the Mareeba Rodeo pioneercommittee used do-it-yourself, muscle, sweat and whatever was handy to get the show rolling.

Thismeant that the first secretary's office was a big marquee and some of the fencing was early modelcars parked in a semi-circle.

The Festival runs for two weeks and covers a variety of functions and competitions including:Junior Cowpokes; Festival Queen Competition and Ball, Garden Competition; Western Dress andFoyer Competition; Horse Sports; Cutting; Indoor and Outdoor Bowls; Cycling; Golf; Speedwayand Art Exhibition.

The fortnight culminates with the Downtown Parade and crowning of theFestival Queen on Friday night. Then it is the big weekend of the Rodeo and Agricultural Showwhich includes Woodchops and Stud Beef Exhibit.

Mareeba is on the Atherton Tablelands ofNorth Queenland about 64 km from coastal Cairns. It is 417m above sea level.

The Mareeba District Rodeo Association Inc. is a not for profit organisation that provides theopportunity for the greater Mareeba District to celebrate all that makes the area unique.

The Festival and Rodeo allows local sporting bodies and community groups to fund raise.

High octane bull power, Mareeba Rodeo.
High octane bull power, Mareeba Rodeo.

The Rodeo Festival Queen Competition started in 1959 and is open to unmarried women aged16-25 years who live in the (former) Mareeba Shire. Entrants are judged on rodeo knowledge,appearance, poise and personality.

The entrants, along with the Matrons of Honour, attend many functions during Festival Week. Theannouncement of the Queen, Princess and Most Popular Entrant is made after the DowntownParade and is a widely anticipated part of the rodeo festivities.

The 2014 Mareeba Rodeo Festival starts on June 28 with the Junior Cowpokes Competition andWalkamin Country Music Club Concert.

The Parade of queen entrants, floats, horses and tradedisplays is held on the Friday night of the Rodeo weekend and usually attracts crowds of around4000 people. The Parade starts at 7.45pm and completes two circuits of Byrnes Street. At theconclusion of the parade, the Rodeo Festival Queen is crowned at the main stage.

The following weekend is the Mareeba Rodeo Ball on Friday July 4 which kicks off a variedweekend of sports and activities which include Art Show, Bocce, Tennis, Indoor Bowls, LawnBowls, Golf, and Cutting.

Over the Rodeo weekend Kerribee Park Camping Grounds is free (fees apply at any other time),Campers pay the rodeo gate admission fee for the weekend.

The gate is manned from Thursday morning through to Sunday afternoon. Anyone coming in from Friday morning, until 7am Saturday must purchase a Weekend Pass. Weekend Passes include free camping and hot showers over theRodeo Weekend, and free car parking inside the grounds.

Day passes are only available and validfrom 7am on the day of arrival, and do not permit entrance to the camping area.

Weekend Family Passes are $80 for 2 adults and 2 children and are available for pre-purchaseonly from the Rodeo Office. Weekend Passes for pensioners and Seniors Card holders are $25.Child 6-17 years costs $10.

All the best from the Bush, Mareeba Rodeo.
All the best from the Bush, Mareeba Rodeo.

Kerribee Park Rodeo Grounds are open year round as a quiet camping ground for travellers andholiday makers (no permanent residents). From November to March the camping ground is alsoopen to genuine seasonal workers.

The camping grounds offer:

Quiet, friendly atmosphere with room to move.

Wild kangaroos grazing around the park.

Over 100 powered sites.

Plenty of unpowered sites.

Gas hot showers.

Toilet/shower with disabled access.

Mobile phone reception.

Dump point (for residence only).


Pets are permitted.

Resident caretakers.

No bookings are taken for sites.

For the rest of the year Kerribee Park Rodeo Grounds is open as a quiet camping ground fortravellers and holiday makers (no permanent residents). Costs are: Per camp per night, poweredsite, single $15. Unpowered site single $10. Powered site double $17. Unpowered site double$14.

Each additional person Powered and Unpowered sites $7. Children under five free.

There are caravan parks in Mareeba and surrounding areas.

As Mareeba is less than an hour fromCairns or Port Douglas, visitors have the option of finding accommodation in these areas anddriving to the Rodeo Grounds on each day.

Beaut Ute, Mareeba Rodeo.
Beaut Ute, Mareeba Rodeo.

Mareeba Info Centre touring attraction in its own right

Mareeba Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Centre is an attraction in its own right. Sure travellers get their touring questions answered seven days a week, but there is a lot more to the centre at 345 Byrnes St, Centenary Park, Mareeba.

The Museum has 23 displays which include aboriginal culture, a unique motor rail ambulance,settlers hut with memorabilia from the regions history, turn of the century telephone exchange and aprinting press.

The insights on show also include items from industry, dairy, tobacco, mining andcommunications. The biggest display, which went into place last year, covers the tobacco industryfrom 1930 to 2004.

There is also a historic railway carriage and blacksmiths shop in the backyard. This a comfortableNorth Queensland road touring experience which starts with plenty of parking space, leads to widecool verandahs with wheelchair access and has the travel essential which is noted in surveys as amust have - clean toilets.

The township of Mareeba is an hours drive via the Kuranda Range road north west of Cairns. Thedrive passes through amazing landscape changes from the coastal rainforest regions to thesavannah bush lands so typical to Australia.

From Mareeba the townships of Dimbulah andChillagoe are about 45 minutes and two hours away respectively.

Chillagoe is renowned for its famous limestone caves and mining history. South from Mareebathrough Atherton and Herberton the quiet country roads lead to Irvinebank.

At the turn of thecentury John Moffat controlled a vast mining operation, then equivalent to today's BHP-Billiton,from Irvinebank. Visitors can enter the private world of this legendary financier and tycoon andvisit Loudoun House Museum.

The Mareeba Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Centre has the local knowledge to add tothe experiences available to visitors. The centre is open from 8am to 4pm.

Atherton Information Centre are can do people.

Mareeba Rodeo grounds.
Mareeba Rodeo grounds.

The Atherton Information Centre is a fully accredited member of the Queensland InformationCentre Association. Located in the centre of the Atherton Tablelands, the Information Centre ispositioned near attractions, tours and accommodation on the corner of Main and Silo Roads,Atherton.

The centre aims to effectively promote local businesses, encourage people to shop locally staylocally and enable them to find local employment.

The centre strives for excellence in all the services and information it provides.

The range of tourism services provided include:

Bookings local, Cape York and Queensland accommodation, tours and attractions.Itinerary planning.

Tourism packs for individuals and also groups.

Re-location packs for newcomers moving to the area.

Road conditions from the RACQ.

Weather conditions from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Transportation info - bus timetable, taxi details, and bus tours.

Sporting information, venues and times.

Church Services - venues, times and directions.

Doctors, dentists and chemists information.

Fact sheets on local subjects for school children.

Arts and culture - details of art galleries and displays.

Walking and cycling clubs - meetings and areas.

Camping areas - National Parks, caravan parks and campgrounds.

Accommodation including camping, cabins, hotels, motels, bed breakfast, and luxurydestinations.

Maps- the centre has Hema maps covering all states of Australia plus UBDs, and motoringbooks for 4WD and truck drivers.Bookings for all attractions and accommodation in and around the Atherton Tablelands,Cooktown, Daintree and Cape Tribulation.

Prices of all the major attractions, including Skyrail, the Kuranda Train, hot air ballooning, reef tripcompanies, horse riding, helicopter flights, microlight flights, scenic flights with light airplanes. Pricesof Cape York, Daintree and Cape Tribulation tour companies.

The Atherton Information Centre is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm.

It is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday and Easter

Unique de Brueys turn tropic fruit into fine wines

The Winery and Cellar Door of the the unique de Brueys Boutique Winery and Functions Venue,is located near Mareeba at their 15ha mango orchard on the Atherton Tablelands/CairnsHighlands, North Queensland. Bob and Elaine de Brueys moved to the property from Cairns in thelate nineties and the first Cellar Door opened for business in July 2003.

Tropical fruit trees were planted to supply fruit for wines they planned including jaboticaba, lychee,mulberry and bush cherry (native Nth Qld fruit exclusive to de Brueys). Stage Two of the projectstarted in 2005, with the excavation and construction of the underground wine cellar, followed bythe new Cellar Door and Function Room.

Bob and Elaine say Mareeba, is an ideal centre in which to live and establish a winery because thearea is renowned for its abundance and availability of tropical fruits. It is close to the internationalairport and tourist centre of Cairns (50 minutes drive by car). Mareeba's high elevation on theTablelands to the west of Cairns (500m), results in low humidity and cooler days and nights.

de Brueys took out the Best Liqueur trophy with two of their liqueurs at the Australian Fruit WineAwards with Best Liqeur for their Flagship Coffee Elixir and Tropical Temptation. Their fruitwines are also Aust Fruit Wine Award winners.

de Brueys Boutique Wines is on the Cairns side of Mareeba (2km from the main Highway, offTinaroo Creek Road).

Driving to Mareeba from Cairns or Kuranda along the Kennedy Highway, turn left into TinarooCreek Road at the big shed just before entering Mareeba, then almost immediately right intoFichera Road, following the Boutique Winery signs.

Pioneer attitude drives NQ Golden Drop

Golden Drop Winery is the family owned and operated business of Charles Nastasi and wife Lucy,together with their sons, Sam and wife Jackie, Dino and wife Maria, daughter Grace, and sisterLena. In 1975 Charles Nastasi decided to diversify from tobacco and planted his first 3,600mango trees near Mareeba on North Queensland's Atherton Tableland. His plantation now hasmore than 17,500 trees, which makes it one of the biggest mango plantation in Australia.

But when the fruit industry showed signs of instability Charles chose to diversify into producingcommercially viable wine from mangoes. Some thought it could not be done. Making wine frommangoes is technically very different from producing grape wines and required a great deal ofresearch and development.

In 1992 Charles and his two sons, Sam and Dino started researching wine making and establisheda winery on their Biboohra property, near Mareeba. Golden Pride Wineries successfully launchedtheir first commercial wines a dry, a medium, and a sweet wine in early 1999.

At that time the winery was the first commercial Mango Winery in the world.

Tourists from all overthe world now visit the winery daily. In addition to tropical mango wines, they enjoy Citrus Cellos,Mango Port, and Golden Mango liqueur style wine.

Our aims were to produce a commercially viable wine from mangoes, and to develop a unique

100 percent solely owned and operated Australian tourism attraction and we have succeeded,

Charles Nastasi says.

Atherton Information Centre find answers.
Atherton Information Centre find answers.

Editors note: For the third year running GoSeeAustralia is among the major Mareeba event sponsors.

Weather: During the day the average Mareeba July temperature is 25.4C (highest 34.9C), but thetemperature drops down to an average 11C at night (lowest 0.7C).

So take a hat and sunscreenfor the day and a coat for the night. Cairns is a 65 kilometres drive to the east and Atherton is 30kilometres to the south both via the Kennedy Hwy. Travelling north on the Peninsula DevelopmentRoad, Port Douglas is about 95 kilometres by sealed road.

The Gulf Savannah Way runs 135kilometres west to Chillagoe on mostly sealed roads.

Mareeba Rodeo sponsors plaque 2013
Mareeba Rodeo sponsors plaque 2013

Hillbilly Deluxe, Mareeba Rodeo.
Hillbilly Deluxe, Mareeba Rodeo.
Looking over the edge, Mareeba Rodeo
Looking over the edge, Mareeba Rodeo
Riding for a fall, Mareeba Rodeo
Riding for a fall, Mareeba Rodeo
Who is throwing who, Mareeba Rodeo
Who is throwing who, Mareeba Rodeo