Birding Northern Queensland:
Atherton Tablelands, Great Barrier Reef and More
Northern Queensland is celebrated as one of the world’s premier birding hotspots. Over 440 birds have been recorded in this region, more than half the species of the entire continent. Within 200km of the city of Cairns, we will explore the most diverse range of habitats that Australia has to offer. We will start in Cairns itself, visiting a selection of prime birding locations including the botanical gardens, Centenary Lakes, and the mudflats along the Esplanade that are a world-renowned site for both resident and migratory waders. From here, we will take a trip by semi-submersible boat out to the Great Barrier Reef to experience the superb corals and tropical fish, along with opportunities of close views of various seabirds.
Travelling north as far as Daintree we will travel by boat through coastal lowland rainforests along the Daintree River, where we may come across up to 9 of Australia’s 10 kingfisher species and much more. Finally, we move west and inland into the Atherton Tablelands. Among many others we will look for 13 species endemic to North Queensland’s Wet Tropics as well as 10 range-restricted subspecies in areas of upland rainforest, including one bird-of-paradise, Victoria’s Riflebird, and both Golden and Satin Bowerbirds.
We will also encounter a wide selection of Australian mammals, including Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Agile Wallaby, with opportunities of spotlighting for nocturnal mammals and numerous species of owl.
Day 1: Arrival in Cairns
Day 2: Birding in Daintree: Full Day
Day 3: Full Day Birding Key Areas Near Cairns, including Centennial Lakes and the Botanical Gardens, Dry Savanna Habitat, Mareeba Wetlands, and the Cairns Esplanade.
Day 4: Explore the Marine Life of the Great Barrier Reef from Onboard the Sea Star; Includes Birding at Michaelmas Cay and Etty Bay After the Boat Trip.
Day 5: AM Birding Mourilyan Harbour and Start Rainforest Birding along Palmerston Highway, and Rest of the Day Birding Atherton Tablelands
Day 6: Full Day Birding in the Atherton Tablelands
Day 7: AM, Tablelands, Anything We May Have Missed; PM, Cairns
Day 8: Departures from Cairns
Download our detailed itinerary for our Northern Queensland trip, or read it below.