Ida and her talented guides make every tour a true delight.

They are passionate about the Mareeba Shire and surrounding areas; the anthill-scaped ancient lands, iron oxide red and unforgiving, the savannah afloat with wild flowers and native birds and animals, limestone caves and dramatic rock formations and the incredibly fertile farming lands in the region.

This powerful landscape forms the backdrop for the striking history of the area, which comes to life with the anecdotal stories, impressive facts, and pure passion that the tour co-ordinators have for the people and lives of yesteryear.

❝Ida and her talented guides make every tour a true delight ❞

Contemporary tours make light of the impacts of the pandemic with Corona, the COVID police, measuring and relocating tourists partaking in the tours. Earthy info sessions with Mavis and Ruth give the visitor true insights into the strength of agriculture in the region, and the variety of produce available in cornucopian largesse.

Being expressive and dramatic is in Ida’s blood. Her Italian heritage ensures that this woman is incapable of simply relating facts. It is essential, in fact second nature, that she paints scenes with her hands, adds dimension with the tenor of her voice and captivates audiences with her appealing and emotional insights.

The comedy tours are the perfect combination of two of her passions – tourism and sharing the world with visitors, and her flair for drama and performance.

It’s Angelina’s broken English-Italian accent waxing lyrical about the best gnocchi and macaroni that draws the crowds and makes them feel at home; this woman is not afraid to laugh at herself, and encourages others to let down their hair as well.

Comedy Tours involve local actors and highlight local businesses, caterers, agricultural interests and heritage sites. These tours are about promoting everything local; the people, the history, the produce, the heart and the incredible talent who call the region home. Travellers discover facts about the area that they never knew and finish tours well informed, entertained and usually well-fed.

“Out of adversity comes opportunity” was the observation of statesman Benjamin Franklin, and rarely has it been exemplified as clearly as by the actions of Ms Portella. A pandemic and complete upheaval of the Far North Queensland tourism industry in 2020 meant that tourism operators were required to pivot and turn their focus from international and interstate tourists to home grown travellers.

Add to the equation lock downs and social isolation and one would think that there could be nothing much to work with; from the ashes rose Comedy Tours. Ms Portella’s tenacious passion for the region and preparedness to reinvent local tours reinvigorated the local communities with the optimistic, up-beat, not prepared to give up alternatives to the usual cut and dried guided tours of the region.

Come on Tour

Ida and her guides operate breakfast tours of heritage sites and facilities. Well-timed tours including Skybury Farms, Jacques Coffee and the local Coffee Works would not be complete without a locally grown, roasted and brewed coffee and a bite to eat. The Comedy lunches and dinners held at various locations, are hilarious and occasionally “only just PG” with the free-flowing improv characters and shenanigans.

Whilst homage is paid to the strong Italian heritage of Mareeba and Dimbulah when the trio of Mumma’s, Angelina, Giuseppina and Maria get together, this is balanced by other themed tours with dedicated country themed music and show events.

Aunty Betty, Bunji, Baz and Shaz are a great hit with locals and visitors alike, their bawdy and parochial Aussie flavour are proof that everyone brings their unique flavour to the region.

Vula, with her Mareeba version of Anglo-Greek, helps local historian Mary Thompson share a new perspective on the township’s CBD. The tour takes in the local highlights, shares insights into what made Mareeba great, and the families and activities that carved out this unique and appealing town.

Comedy Tours proclaim the hashtag “laughter is the best medicine” and this seems true for the local economy and the visitors who flock to the tours.

This is a town that has reinvented itself many times over in its history. Locals are innovative, inventive and obviously resilient as they have thrived and survived harrowing challenges, quite different, but no less dramatic, than the current pandemic.

Uncle Nick has his own vernacular and is no match for Tula and the Aussie Mrs, who couldn’t be more Australian if they tried. It is that quick witted repartee and relatable humour that has people clutching their sides and wanting to come back for more. The “tours” are insightful, informative and 100% entertaining; travellers definitely get value for money.

Ida also runs a local travel agency:

Ida has been involved with the Mareeba Theatre Group for over thirty years. She totally invests in the talent and skill of the local thespians, and calls on the support and assistance of the group for a number of tours, something which has been greatly appreciated in the socially distanced weeks’ post isolation and lock down. Acting, entertainment and humour underpin not just the tours, but the greater community’s recovery from the impacts of decreased international and interstate tourism.

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