Hitting the Atherton Tablelands food and wine trail

Today has been an extremelly interesting day for us. We decided to leave Cairns and visit all the businesses that are into the food and wine industry in the Atherton Tablelands. From coffee plantations to wineries, including a distillery. We will have to come back, too many to visit in just one day, mostly when all of them are such open and honest people that getting there, exchanging business cards, getting their details and leaving is not enough.

The morning didn’t start too good (a bit of a drama involving my hairdryer not working). But what started being a bad hair day, has concluded fantastically. We look forward to hitting the road again and visiting the rest of the companies, mostly the ones in Kuranda.

MAREEBA is only 65 kilometres away from Cairns, and it seems even closer as the scenery along the road is magnificent. We got there very early, and the first business we visited was JACQUES COFFEE PLANTATION. The Jacques family has a bit of a history behind. Coming all the way from Tanzania, they arrived in Mareeba in the 70’s, after having researched many other locations in Australia looking for a suitable land to grow coffee. The beginnings were not easy for them, and after loosing two crops due to different reasons, selling their plantation and finding another location also in Mareeba, nowadays they own 25,000 healthy producing Arabica coffee trees.

The Jacques are very proud of producing clean and green coffee, free from pesticides. They also produce coffee liqueur and offer microlight tours of their farm.

Termite Avenue, at Jacques Coffee Plantation. Maria, joining the coffee plantation tour from Jacques Capuccino Bean Machine bus.

Next stop was De Brueys, where we met Bob, a good character. Bob has recently started producing coffee liqueur as well and from experience we can tell you it tastes delicious. As we drove in he was labelling hundreds of bottles himself. His website is under construction and his winery is having some work done to it. Shortly we will have Bob and De Brueys winery accessible from anywhere in the world. Althoug only a few lucky ones, or whoever makes it to Tropical North Queensland, will have the opportunity to taste Bob’s delectable coffee liqueur.

On the road again, this time to visit Coffee Works, another coffee plantation in Mareeba. Apart from our usual coffee, most of these coffee plantations produce flavoured coffee, such as caramel or chocolate. A shame we couldn’t try all of them, but the smell was enough to awaken our tastebuds.

From Coffee works to MOUNT UNCLE DISTILLERY, the only distillery in Tropical North Queensland. Their premises are awesome, I couldn’t stop admiring the banana plantation, the little lake with its little cascades and the cafe they have built using timber logs from a bridge. It really looks very impressive. Don’t believe me? Here you have a pic.

The Cafe, still closed to the public, at Mount Uncle Distillery, in Mareeba. Steve with Sharon, Mount Uncle manager, at their beautiful shop in Mount Uncle Distillery, in Mareeba.

Mount Uncle Distillery produces liqueurs from tropical fruits, from banana to coffee liqueur or lemon, among many others.

Our trip was not finished yet, we still had a few people to visit. Who was next? Yes, Golden Drop Wines. Basically, they produce delicious mango wine. I have tried the wines made with tropical fruit, and still cannot believe anybody can make such beautiful wines with something that is not a grape. Remember that I come from Spain, where we are very proud of our wines (and our olive oil, our paella, our Antonio Banderas…) I think this is not what we are talking about today, is it? Anyway, Golden Drop Wines are a must when you decide to go on our FOOD AND WINE TRAIL TOUR. However, if you want to have a look at all the wineries in just one click, go to our WINERIES page, they are all there.

After lunch we visited TICHUM CREEK COFFEE PLANTATION, where a smiling Mario kindly served us a delicious coffee. Absolutely delicious, and that’s a lot to say from someone like me, who hardly ever drinks coffee. Tichum Creek’s Café is surrounded by flower gardens with lively bird-life, and has delightful bush views of the surrounding ATHERTON TABLELANDS. It’s an oasis just off the highway – perfect for a break in your journey!

And time to go home. But still two stops to make on our way: Blazing Saddles, a company which offers HORSE RIDING and QUAD TOURS through the lush rainforest of Tropical North Queensland, and Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve, a WILDLIFE PARK in KURANDA. If you are travelling with kids, both attractions are highly recommended. But there are tons of things to do as a family, and you can find them all in our FAMILY PAGE.

It has been a very interesting day, hope you found it as interesting as we did. Here you have a couple more photos of our day. Enjoy them and come back tomorrow.

Steve on a tank, at the War Museum, in Mareeba. Maria flying a warbird, at the Warbird Museum, in Mareeba.

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