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Queensland

Golden Bowerbird
Golden Bowerbird

Southern Queensland’s eucalypt forests, woodlands, grasslands, scrub, rainforests, heaths and wetlands hold a great number of species with specialties such as Albert’s Lyrebird, Paradise Riflebird, Logrunner, Red Goshawk, Pacific Baza, Black-breasted Button-quail and Eyrean Grasswren.

 

Northern Queensland has a count of around 490 species and its wet tropics produce a great range of rainforest specialties including Golden Bowerbirds and Southern Cassowary. The dry areas produce Brolga and Sarus Crane, Black-throated Finch, and Gouldian Finch may be seen here. Unique to this area are Palm Cockatoo, Golden-shouldered Parrot, Yellow Honeyeater, Atherton Scrubwren, Fernwren, and seasonally, the beautiful Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher. Of course, you will want to view Pied Imperial-Pigeons, Victoria’s Riflebird, Chowchilla, Catbird, and Macleay’s Honeyeater.

 


Birdwatching Tours

Rainbow Lorikeet
Rainbow Lorikeet

Full Day Bird Safari – ex Cairns

Birdwatching in tropical north Queensland is always full of surprises, and this full day tour provides anyone with an interest in birds a great day out with an average of 90+ species seen on each tour. The tour suits those who have restricted time and wish to observe a wide range of avian fauna.

 

From tropical lowland areas then beyond the Great Dividing Range to the edge of the outback, this tour is designed for dedicated and amateur birdwatchers alike.

 

Double-eyed Fig-parrot
Double-eyed Fig-parrot

Regular sightings include Black Necked Stork, Kori Bustard, Galah, Pale-headed Rosella, Osprey, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Fig Parrot, Red-backed Fairy Wren, Tawny Frogmouth, Great Bower Bird, Squatter Pigeon, Scarlet Honeyeater, and Victoria’s Rifle Bird, as well as butterflies and occasional marsupials.

 

The tour begins and ends in Port Douglas, however those staying in Cairns and Palm Cove will be transferred from your hotel to Port Douglas to join the tour.

 

The tour operates every Monday, Wednesday & Friday.

 

Masked Lapwing
Masked Lapwing
Vanellus miles miles

Tour includes expert local bird guide, transport, lunch, and morning & afternoon refreshments.


Tour Cost:
From AUD $245.00 per person for 2+; AUD $335.00 for one person, from Port Douglas.
Add approx.. AUD $50.00 per person for round trip transfer from Cairns or Palm Cove.

 

Add a night or more at any of the accommodations – enquire about costs. And enquire about costs for one person travelling, or three or more.

 

Tour Code: BC1BS

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

 

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4 Day / 3 Night Daintree Birdwatchers Tour

Scarlet Honeyeater
Scarlet Honeyeater


This tour is for experienced birdwatchers who wish to have the best guiding available. This is a self-drive package, and on Day 01 you will collect your rental car from Cairns Airport or the Cairns downtown depot, then drive north to the small village of Daintree. You will stay at delightful Red Mill House for three nights with a hearty breakfast included daily.

 

On Day 02, your local experienced birding guide will travel with you in your car and your tour includes a morning river cruise on the Daintree River and exploring the local area, with lowland rainforest birding.

 

On Day 03, explore the drier areas west of the Great Dividing Range, and on Day 04 you will continue on your self-drive tour – ask us for suggestions of where to go and where to stay.

 

Southern Cassowary
Southern Cassowary

Tour includes Group C rental car, accommodation, breakfast daily, 2 full days of guided Birdwatching, 2 lunches, entry fees. Not included: Petrol, additional insurance.


Tour Cost:
AUD $1,465.00 per person, twin share.

 

Add a night or more at any of the accommodations – enquire about costs. And enquire about costs for one person travelling, or three or more.

 

Tour Code: BC4DB

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

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9 Day / 8 Night North Queensland Self-Drive Birdwatching Tour – from Cairns

This very popular self-drive tour suits those who are happy to drive (very easy in Australia!) and enjoy the freedom and flexibility to do what you want to do. You will visit a variety of habitats ensuring a broad range of species, including tropical lowland rainforest, open eucalypt forest, dry savannah and wet tropical rainforest.

 

Your hosts are great birders, so you won’t be lacking in information and suggestions!

 

Day 01. ARRIVE CAIRNS

Arrive at Cairns Airport and collect your rental car from the Rental Car desk at Cairns Airport. Drive into Cairns and check in to your hotel.

 

The remainder of the day is at leisure. You may wish to get an early start to your tropical birding with a visit to Centennial Lakes boardwalk, and/or a stroll to The Esplanade where, depending on tides, you will see a number of waders and other waterbirds such as Australian Pelican and Royal Spoonbill.

Accommodation: Bay Village Tropical Retreat

 

  Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Day 02. CAIRNS TO DAINTREE (Breakfast included)

This morning, depart Cairns and drive north along the Cairns downtown depot and drive north along the Marlin Coast on the Captain Cook Highway, past coastal ranges and beautiful beaches. Pass Port Douglas and travel through the town of Mossman to the village of Daintree on the south side of the Daintree River.

 

Buff-banded Rail
Buff-banded Rail

This afternoon, look for birds such as Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Brahminy Kite, Pacific Baza, White-browed Crake, Buff-banded Rail, Emerald Ground Dove, Superb Fruit-dove, Gould’s Bronze Cuckoo, Dusky Honeyeater, Leaden Flycatcher, Spotted Catbird and Royal Spoonbill.

 

Your accommodation for two nights, Red Mill House, is a delightful small property in the tiny tropical village of Daintree. Accommodation: Red Mill House

 

Australian Pratincole
Australian Pratincole

Day 03. DAINTREE (Breakfast included)

A fully guided tour (with guide travelling with you in your car) beginning with an early morning boat cruise on the Daintree River - an excellent area for some of the more elusive birds such as the Great-billed Heron, Papuan Frogmouth and Little Kingfisher, as well as many resident species such as the Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Large-billed Gerygone, Shining Flycatcher, Yellow Oriole and Azure Kingfisher. There may be an opportunity to see a tree-snake or python on shrubs and tree limbs, and of course, there is also an opportunity to see estuarine crocodiles. You will return to Red Mill House for breakfast after the cruise.

 

  Buff-breasted Kingfisher
Buff-breasted Kingfisher

Cross over the Daintree River (ferry at your expense) and visit the Jindalba section of the Daintree National Park. This area offers the best opportunity of sighting the Southern Cassowary providing there is a good quantity of fruit on the ground. The boardwalk winds through the rainforest and sometimes reaches 4 metres off the ground. There are excellent examples of king ferns and fig trees, and fine examples of colourful fungi to photograph. Other birds possible in this area: Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Little Shrike-Thrush, *Pied Monarch, *Macleay's Honeyeater, Yellow-spotted & Graceful Honeyeater, White-breasted Woodswallow, Varied Triller, Fairy Martin, Spectacled Monarch , Forest Kingfisher.

 

Visit the Daintree Discovery Centre, an accredited World Heritage Centre. Nestled amongst the rainforest, it provides well illustrated information on the flora and fauna of the rainforest. It also offers the opportunity to climb a four storey tower to search amongst the rainforest canopy for birds such as the Mistletoe Bird and Double-eyed Fig Parrot. Accommodation: Red Mill House

 

Day 04. DAINTREE TO MAREEBA WETLANDS (Breakfast & Dinner included)

After breakfast this morning, depart from Red Mill House and travel south, travelling through the small sugar-mill town of Mossman before turning inland and south west up into the upland areas passing through the town of Julatten and through well forested farming country, dry country and rainforest.

 

Just before the town of Mareeba, turn into the Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve, a 5000 acre conservation reserve – and from the Visitor Centre you can view the Wetlands lagoons which attract rich and diverse bird, mammal and invertebrate life. This is also the location of the landmark Gouldian Finch reintroduction program.

 

A special overnight stay tonight at the Jabiru Safari Lodge set within the Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve. You will be able to hike along the kilometres of tracks through the Reserve, view wildlife, and stargaze with exceptional clarity. Included in your stay is a Sunset Wildlife Cruise.

 

On the afternoon wildlife safari, the Lodge’s custom-designed, open safari vehicle allows excellent wildlife and birdlife viewing as you tour the Reserve at a leisurely pace. Kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, emus and wild pigs are regularly sighted, along with many of the 220 bird species sighted on the Reserve. The highlight of any wildlife safari is Pandanus Lagoon and its prolific birdlife viewed from the Bird-hides.

 

The seasonal evening roost of several hundred Brolgas and Sarus Cranes, the prolific birdlife of Pandanus Lagoon include Black-necked Storks, Jacanas, Black Swans, Pelicans, Magpie Geese, Egrets, Ibis, Cormorants and Darters.

 

This evening, enjoy dinner on the Lodge’s deck, looking out over a wetland lagoon. Your accommodation is in very comfortable Safari Tents which blend into the open savanna woodland, complete with en suite facilities, a private timber verandah, BBQ and table and chairs.
Accommodation: Jabiru Safari Lodge

 

Wompoo Fruit-dove
Wompoo Fruit-dove

Day 05. MAREEBA TO ATHERTON TABLELANDS (Breakfast included)

This morning, an early morning walk, followed by a tropical breakfast on Lodge’s deck.

 

Departing the Mareeba Wetlands, continue further onto the Atherton Tableland, visiting interesting small towns along the way.

 

En route stop at Granite Gorge (own expense) for a chance to see the resident Rock Wallabies and visit Lake Mitchell for an assortment of wetland bird species and occasional asiatic waders.

 

Barking Owl
Barking Owl

Continue on to Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat - a 230 acre property with superb treehouse accommodation in a rainforest setting and spectacular mountain views. Abundant wildlife includes over 160 bird species, and platypus in the rainforest creeks. Your hosts are keen birders and will be very pleased to direct you to walking tracks on the property, and you can explore these tracks with bird list in hand. Some possible species: Wompoo Fruit Dove, *Atherton Scrubwren, *Victoria's Riflebird (one of Australia's birds-of-paradise), *Grey-headed Robin, *Bower's Shrike-thrush, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Golden Whistler, Red-backed Fairy Wren. You may be lucky to see the white morph of a Grey Goshawk.

White-breasted Woodswallow

White-breasted Woodswallow

 

A breakfast hamper is provided at Rose Gums each morning. As your treehouse has its own barbeque and kitchen facilities, you may like to purchase product from a local supermarket and cook ‘at home’, or Rose Gums has its own delightful restaurant. Accommodation: Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat

 

Day 06. ATHERTON TABLELANDS (Breakfast included)

Wake early this morning and walk along some of the walking tracks to experience a dawn chorus to be remembered

 

Return to Rose Gums to have breakfast in your treehouse before your full day private guided birding tour for the day.

 

You will see much of the Atherton Tablelands are part of the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics region and were once densely covered with high altitude rainforest. Today the area is one of upland dairy farming and rolling agricultural country, broken by pockets of remnant rainforest (that hold some massive strangler figs), deep volcanic lakes and wetlands.

 

Visit many of the rainforest areas, including the beautiful crater lakes of Eacham and Barrine, home to some of the region's endemic birds and mammals such as the forest-dwelling Musky Rat Kangaroo, the smallest and most primitive of all the kangaroos.

 

Golden Bowerbird
Golden Bowerbird

Some possible species: *Chowchilla, *Tooth-billed Bowerbird, *Golden Bowerbird, Spotted Catbird, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, *Bridled Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, Pale-yellow Robin, Brush Turkey, Grey Fantail, Eastern Whip-bird, Brown Gerygone, Rainbow Lorikeet, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, White-headed Pigeon.

 

Brolga
Brolga

Spend some time the western edge of the Tablelands with good opportunities for sighting some of the dry interior species. Some possible species: Eastern Yellow Robin, Fuscous Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Varied Sitella, Leaden Flycatcher, Little Lorikeet, Brown Quail, Brolga and perhaps the elusive Black-throated Finch.

 

Accommodation: Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat

 

Scarlet Honeyeater
Scarlet Honeyeater

Day 07. ATHERTON TABLELANDS TO CAIRNS (Breakfast included)

More time for your own exploration of the walks at Rose Gums until 10.00am check out.

 

You may wish to visit some of the birding hotspots such at Mt Hypipamee Crater National Park and Hasties Swamp Bird Hide before the leisurely drive back to Cairns and drop your bags at your hotel for overnight.

 

Accommodation: Bay Village Tropical Retreat

 

 

 

Bronze-Cuckoo
Bronze-Cuckoo

Day 08: GREAT BARRIER REEF (Breakfast & Lunch included)

This morning a coach will collect you from outside the hotel’s lobby and take you to the marina to join your cruise to the outer Great Barrier Reef, taking a full-day trip by catamaran to Michaelmas Cay on board Ocean Spirit. A cay is a small sandy island that has formed on top of the reef, and on Michaelmas Cay some low scrub has grown from the seabird guano on the island, and this area now holds large numbers of breeding and resting seabirds.

 

Thousands of terns swarm above the island, predominantly ground-nesting Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies (the Black Noddies being confined to forested islands), but also Bridled, Black-naped, Crested and Lesser Crested Terns, plus smaller numbers of visiting Brown Boobies, Great and even Least Frigatebirds. The cay also attracts a variety of migrant waders, though very few passerines, being so small and sparsely vegetated.

 

Some two hours out to sea from Cairns, Michaelmas Cay offers all the pristine beauty of the outer reef, being surrounded by fabulous coral reefs, and clear, warm turquoise seas full of colourful reef fish which you may choose to enjoy either by semi-submersible boat, or by snorkelling from the boat or the beach. Optional extras include a guided snorkelling tour, and certified and introductory diving. SCUBA diving is an available option for certified divers.

 

The cruise includes morning refreshments, hot & cold buffet lunch, afternoon tea, snorkelling demonstrations and tuition, use of all snorkelling equipment, informative ecological presentations by qualified marine biologists, an air-conditioned semi-submersible tour, guided bird tours, and you will be entertained by the crew as you return to Cairns later in the afternoon.

 

From the Marina, you will then be transferred by coach to your hotel.

Accommodation: Bay Village Tropical Retreat

 

Day 09. DEPART CAIRNS (Breakfast included)

This morning, check out from your hotel and drive to Cairns Airport to drop off your rental car, and check in for your departure flight.

 

Tour Cost: from AUD $2,790.00 per person, twin share for 2 people travelling.

Includes rental car hire, accommodation, meals as indicated, full day birding guide on Day 03, 2 hour cruise, entry to Daintree Discovery Centre, wildlife safari at Jabiru Safari Lodge, full day birding guide on Day 06, Great Barrier Reef cruise on Day 08. Birding guides subject to availability. Does not include petrol and car insurance options.

 

Add a night or more at any of the accommodations – enquire about costs. And enquire about costs for one person travelling, or three or more.

Tour Code: BC9SD

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

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