Just 30 minutes from Mareeba on the Mulligan Highway, is the historic mining and timber town of Mount Molloy. At its height Mount Molloy was a copper mine in the 1890s, named after Patrick Molloy who found the copper outcrop while searching for stray bullocks.
Today, this small town with a population of around 300, is much more humble with a bakery, general store and petrol station. Its main industry is cattle grazing, however tourism is growing steadily as visitors discover the beauty, wildlife and history of this area and its surrounding towns of Julatten, Maryfarms and Mt Carbine.
One historic site located at the south-east corner of the Mount Molloy cemetery near the mature grevillea tree is the resting place of prospector and explorer James (Venture) Mulligan. A very condensed but beautiful biography of his life can be read on his tombstone. Visitors can also visit the old steam engine that was used to supply the power to the local sawmill, which is located at the southern entrance to Mount Molloy.
The Mareeba region is acknowledged by birding experts as the richest region for birdlife in Australia. Nearly half of Australia’s 750 bird species can be found here, and birders have recorded more than 300 species within a 15 km radius of nearby Mount Molloy.
Tucked away in the rainforest just to the west of the popular coastal town of Port Douglas and just 10 minutes from its neighbour Mount Molloy is Julatten.
This small town attracts thousands of birders each year, on the lookout for species that include Spectacled Monarchs, Pale-Yellow Robins, Lesser Sooty Owl, Red-Necked Crakes, Pied Monarch, Yellow-Breasted Boatbill, and Orange-Footed Scrubfowl.
In summer, the spectacular Buff-Breasted Paradise Kingfisher is another highlight.
Nearby is the Mount Lewis Forest Reserve, home to some of the most accessible and scenic upland rainforest in the area. It is known as a good spot for birdwatching, where Golden Bowerbirds, Noisy Pittas, Blue-Faced Parrot Finches and Chowchillas can be seen.
On the way to Mt Carbine when travelling north is the small town that was once known as Maryfarms. Birders, bushwalkers, astronomers, photographers, campers, anglers and four wheel drivers can choose to stay at Bustard Downs offering farmstay and bed and breakfast accommodation options as well as caravan and camp sites.
Further along you will reach Mt Carbine, another historic town dating back to the 1890s when Wolframite was discovered on Carbine Hill. Mt Carbine Caravan Park is ideally located for the traveller wishing to explore the Palmer River Gold Fields, Lakeland Downs with its vast cropping areas, the Annan Gorge, and the Mt Mulligan Coal Free Van Storagefield.