A North Queensland service, we acknowledge the traditional owners of the land…

Shanty Creek is our Indigenous alcohol and drug residential rehabilitation centre located at Mareeba, west of Cairns.

Shanty Creek helps Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people aged 18 years and over, mostly from far North Queensland.

Got a problem with drugs or alcohol? Come have a yarn with us. Call our Cairns shopfront on (07) 4220 9881.


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About our program

We provide:

  • case management & counselling
  • relapse prevention
  • life skills development
  • a literacy and numeracy program
  • alcohol and other drug education programs
  • health and well-being education
  • cultural activities
  • mindfulness
  • arts and craft
  • and recreational outings.

Our team

Our friendly and professional team at Shanty Creek will work with you on your journey of recovery.

Our team includes a clinical co-ordinator; well-being workers; support wellbeing workers; assessment, information and intake officers and a nurse.

They will work with you to help create a life of wellbeing.

Leaving our program

When it is time to leave our program, you will be offered the opportunity to stay in a recovery-based house, where you will receive ongoing support.


We support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women, aged 18 years and over, who are experiencing alcohol or other drugs dependency or addiction.

You do not need a referral. Just drop in to our Shanty Creek Shopfront at 139 Sheridan St, Cairns or call on 07 4046 8080. We will have a chat to you about your needs to see if our program can help.

We also accept referrals from other health professionals, services and community and government organisations.

After assessment, if you are accepted into the program, but have no way of travelling to Shanty Creek, we can provide transport.


We are located on 25 acres of scenic farmland at 294 Shanty Creek Road, Emerald Creek, Mareeba, which is in the Atherton Tableland, an hour’s drive west of Cairns.

We can arrange transport for you after an assessment has been completed at our Shopfront, which is located at 139 Sheridan Street, Cairns.

For more information phone 07 4046 8080 or email [email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Residential Rehabilitation?
It involves coming to live-in and stay in an appropriate environment so that you can address the underlying causes of alcohol or drug dependence.

We offer a 24-hour staffed program within a community of support.

Can I access other support and services during my stay?
Yes. Residents have access to GP services on a regular basis throughout their stay and are supported in accessing other specialist health care providers and services, including dental care, optometrist etc.

We can also link you to providers who deliver other services such as parenting programs. Some of the other service providers we work with are:

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Services
  • GPs
  • Psychologists
  • Counsellors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychiatrists
  • Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Services
  • Mental Health Services
  • Job Network Agencies
  • Employment Providers
  • Housing Services
  • Queensland Criminal Justice Agencies (Police, Corrective Services, Probation and Parole, Magistrates Court)
  • Legal Services/Representatives
  • The Learning Workshop (Literacy and Numeracy program)
Is this a detox program?
No. Shanty Creek is not a detoxification facility. People come to our program drug free (other than prescribed medications) and alcohol free. Many residents will have had to participate in a detoxification program provided by another service before they will be accepted into our program.
Do I have to be drug free to be in the program?
Yes. You need to be free from alcohol and illegal drugs to participate in our program, and you must remain alcohol and drug free for the duration of your stay at Shanty Creek
What if I am on methadone?
We do not accept clients who are on methadone.
I live outside Queensland - can I enter the program?
No. Our program is funded and designed to take in people who live in Queensland.
How can I get into the program?

First you need to make contact with our intake officer by contacting our Shopfront at 139 Sheridan Street Cairns QLD 4870 on 07 4046 8080 or by emailing [email protected]. Our Shopfront officers can provide information about our programs and schedule a time for an assessment. We will ask a series of questions to understand more about you, your dependence history and which program would best suit you. They will assess your eligibility for our program and discuss the next steps.

What if I have a mental health condition or other complex need - can I still come to your program?
Yes. Our programs and staff are able to support people with complex needs to address their alcohol and drug dependence. Adults with low to moderate mental health conditions who are, or can be, stable on medication are able to participate in our alcohol and drug treatment program. Shanty Creek works closely with health professionals to ensure the continued health and safety of our residents.
How much does it cost?
Residents contribute to the cost of their therapy by way of deductions from their Centrelink Benefits (which depends on the type of benefit or payment received). Meals are provided.
Are the services confidential?
Yes. Information collected by Lives Lived Well is confidential.
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Lives Lived Well acknowledges the peoples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, respecting their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future. 

Lives Lived Well celebrates diversity and is committed to providing inclusive services. Everyone has the right to live well, with dignity and respect. We offer support to all people without judgment or discrimination.

The images used in this website are stock images of persons used for illustrative purposes only and do not, expressely or impliedly, portray persons with drug or alcohol problems.