5 DAY BIRDWATCHING NORTH QUEENSLAND

DATES: Tuesday 31st Aug – 4th Sept 2021
DURATION: 5-days / 4-nights
RATES: 2 passengers Twin Share price $3920 | Single traveller rate $2280
GROUP SIZE: Min 4 / Max 6
FEATURING REGIONS: Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Julatten, Shared Earth Reserve, Mareeba, Atherton Tablelands, Crater Lakes National Park, Cairns

What’s Included:

5 days Birdwatching in North Queensland
4 nights accommodation
All meals provided
Passionate guides
Modern comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle

ITINERARY
DAY 1 – Daintree/Cape Tribulation

A trip to the Daintree is not complete without visiting the famous beach where the “Rainforest meets the reef”. This famous valley resembles a giant amphitheatre with a semicircle of hills dominated by Mt Sorrow (850m) and Mt Hemmant (1000m). The south-eastern rainfall trapped by this valley results in a lush tropical climate with high temperatures, humidity and rainfall. Renowned for its scenic landscape, remote beaches and wildlife viewing opportunities!

Several mangrove and rainforest boardwalks are available to allow us the maximum opportunity to observe birds. Cape Tribulation is one of the best spots to obverse the iconic Southern Cassowary as well as the Leaden flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Pied Monarch, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Shinning Flycatcher, Azure Kingfisher, Pacific Heron, White-bellied Sea-eagle and Little Shrike Thrush

The afternoon will be spent exploring the surroundings of Kingfisher Park, our accommodation for the next two evenings.

Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge is a small family-run business set in an internationally renowned sanctuary. The lodge offers accommodation to bird-watchers and nature lovers from mid April to mid January. The property is owned and operated by professional guides and naturalists Carol and Andrew Iles, who have worked in the area since 1999. Set in Tropical Far North Queensland, one of the best birding areas in Australia, the Lodge is especially famous for its population of breeding Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher which are found in the grounds between November and April. There are many resident birds at the lodge including Noisy Pitta, Red-browed Finch, Macleay’s, Yellow-spotted and Graceful Honeyeaters, Pale-yellow Robin, Little Shrike-thrush, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Black-faced & Spectacled Monarch, Cicadabird and Spotted Catbird

The Lodge is a Land for Wildlife sanctuary with good populations of birds, mammals, reptiles and plants. Around 230 bird species have been recorded within a 1½ km radius of the Lodge and its grounds and all of the 13 Wet Tropics endemic birds can be found within a 15km travel distance.

They are also famous for the Red-necked Crake which can often be seen down near the creek or Crake Pond, they also have Pale-vented Bush Hen on the property that can be found near any long grass in the area. They also have a resident Platypus in the stream at the bottom of the property.

Overnight accommodation at Kingfisher Park

DAY 2 – Daintree River/Julatten/ Mt. Lewis

This is one of the best examples of a tropical river with rainforest growing right to the water’s edge, which provides for some great birding. The river is most famous for the great-billed heron and little kingfisher. The heron, one of the world’s largest, was always a ‘phantom’ bird for birdwatchers. Twenty years ago, it was rarely seen. Once birding tours commenced on the river, exploring the small rainforest and mangrove creeks that ran from it, the bird was seen more regularly. Even now, however, it remains elusive and can melt into the shadows of the rainforest or mangroves right before your eyes.

A pre-dawn cruise will provide the best conditions for those wishing to see the river at its most stunning, as well as the greatest chance to see some of the most sought-after birds of the river. Referred to in many ‘birding’ reference books, this famous cruise has been the highlight for many birdwatching enthusiasts in Far North Queensland. Key target species include Great-billed Heron, Papuan Frogmouth, Little Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Black Bittern, Saltwater Crocodile, Green Tree Snake, Water Dragon and butterflies.

The afternoon will be spent exploring the area of Mount Lewis. A 30 minute drive from the lodge is perhaps the best place in Australia to see the magnificent Blue-faced Parrot Finches which can be found during the wet season months from November to April. The mountain is also a great place to see Victoria’s Rifiebird, Bower’s Shrike-thrush, Bridled, Lewin’s Honeyeaters, Mountain Thornbill, Topknot Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo and Superb Fruit-Doves.

Optional Spotlighting

Spotlighting can also be very rewarding with Barking, Sooty (Lesser) and Barn Owls, Papuan Frogmouths are usually heard Calling and Boyd’s Forest Dragon and Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko are also common. Also keep an eye out for Stripped & Green Ring-tailed Possum, White-tailed Tree rat and also Long-nosed and Northern Brown Bandicoot.

Overnight accommodation at Kingfisher Park

DAY 3 – Shared Earth Reserve

Checking out of the lodge, we move on toward the Atherton Tablelands.

FNQ Nature Tours has exclusive access to the Forever Wild Shared Earth Reserve. Forever Wild work to protect Earth’s last great wildernesses for societal well-being, for biological diversity and its evolutionary potential, for our cultural record and economic values. The reserve encompasses 5000 acres of lagoons, trails, bird hides permanent lakes, swamps, billabongs, and creeks including an incredible mosaic of old-growth savanna woodland. The site is incredibly diverse, and the property has some of the highest avian diversity anywhere in Australia. Boasting over 220 species recorded, the highest bird count in a single day is 98 species, and there is a healthy population of the endangered Northern Quoll

The diverse range of birdlife and wildlife include Quails, Magpie, Geese, Black Swans, 11 different duck species and three different Grebes, Darters and Cormorants, Pelicans, Crakes, Rails, Swamphens, Moorhens, Coots, Herons, Egrets, Bitterns, Ibis, Spoonbills, Storks (Jabiru), Cranes including Brolga, Sarus Crane, Bustards, Sandpipers, Godwits, Common Greenshank, Stints, Jacanas which thrive on the water lilies, Curlews, Stills, Avocets, Lapwings, Plovers, Dotterels, Terns.

Both the Laughing Kookaburra and Blue Winged Kookaburra are regularly seen. Bee-eaters, Dollarbirds, Tree Creepers and Pardalotes are well represented as well as numerous Honeyeaters, Robins, Thrushes, Monarchs, Fly Catchers and Wagtails are seen throughout the Wetlands.

Overnight accommodation at Chambers Wildlife Lodge

DAY 4 – Atherton Tablelands/Hasties Swamp/Mt. Hypipamee

The Atherton Tablelands is the high-altitude counterpart of the coastal Daintree Rainforest. Offering freshwater creek trails and walking tracks into mesophyll vine forest and outstanding remnants of the regions volcanic history

Hasties Swamp is a large seasonal wetland renowned for its diverse range of resident and migratory birds. Over 220 species have been identified and a large bird hide, with informative identification signs, offers excellent waterbird viewing opportunities.

One of the highlights of the Atherton Tablelands is Mount Hypipamee National Park, this is one of the best places to see the magnificent male Golden Bowerbird which have Bowers in the area. It’s also a great place for Southern Cassowary. Other birds that can be found in the general area are Eastern Spinebill, Grey-headed and Pale-yellow Robin, Lewin’s and Bridled Honeyeater, Chowchilla, Spotted Catbird and Tooth-billed Bowerbirds.

Mount Hypipamee is also great for spotlighting. We have encountered Green Ringtail, Herbert River Ringtail, Lemuroid Ringtail and Brushtail Possums here. Lumholtz Tree Kangaroos too if you’re lucky!

Overnight accommodation at Chambers Wildlife Lodge

Day 5 – Crater Lakes/Yungaburra

Lake Barrine and Yungaburra are outstanding locations to visit for all nature lovers. Several walks are available offering great wildlife and bird watching opportunities. From 30 minutes to two hours, tailored to our target species of the day.

These include Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Spotted Catbird, Victoria’s Riflebird, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Australian King Parrot, White-throated Treecreeper, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Eastern Spinebill, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Bridled honeyeater, Dusky Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Macleay’s Honeyeater, Chowchilla, Eastern Whipbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike. Barred Cuckoo-shrike. Pale-yellow Robin, Grey-headed Robin, Black-faced Monarch, Spectacled Monarch and Grey Fantail.

Peterson Creek Wildlife & Botanical Walking Track is located in the heart of Yungaburra where we may be able to view platypus or the rare Lumholtz Tree-Kangaroo

Return to Cairns

5 Day Wildlife Photography Safari

DATES: Tuesday 6th – 10th July 2021
DURATION: 5-days / 4-nights
RATES: 2 passengers Twin Share price $4399 | Single traveller rate $2700
GROUP SIZE: Min 4 / Max 6
FEATURING REGIONS: Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Julatten, Shared Earth Reserve, Atherton Tablelands, Crater Lakes National Park

Inclusions

5 days touring with likeminded nature enthusiasts

4 nights accommodation

All meals provided

Expert local guide and photographer

Modern comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle

Itinerary

THE DAINTREE

For the first two days of our safari, we explore the Daintree National Park

The Daintree is an area of ancient tropical rainforest spanning 120,000 hectares, making it the largest portion of tropical rainforest in Australia.

Several nature trails offer unique and remarkable opportunities to experience the natural scenery and endemic wildlife within the National Park. The famous Cape Tribulation valley resembles a giant amphitheatre with a semicircle of hills dominated by Mt Sorrow (850m) and Mt Hemmant (1000m). The south-eastern rainfall trapped by this valley results in a lush tropical climate with high temperatures, humidity and rainfall. Renowned for its scenic landscape and remote beaches

Walk the quiet tracks to witness the complex ecosystems in this World Heritage Area.

On our second morning we will cruise the beautiful Daintree River with the dawn light, spotting wildlife on a quiet, clean solar electric boat with zero impact on the environment. Get closer to nature… hear, smell & experience without noise & fumes.

We have a 99% success rate for spotting crocodiles, excellent bird watching opportunities and other wildlife possibilities such as snakes, frogs and fish and bats. The cruise is private for two hours.

Daintree wildlife sightings may include the Southern Cassowary, Boyd’s Forest Dragon, Green Tree-Snake, Saltwater Crocodile, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Shining Flycatcher, Ulysses butterfly, White-lipped Tree Frog, Eastern Tube-nosed Bat, Striped Possum, Azure Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher and Jungle-carpet Python.

Two night’s stay at Heritage Lodge Cape Tribulation

THE ATHERTON TABLELANDS

The Atherton Tableland is part of the Great Dividing Range, a series of mountain ranges, plateaus and escarpments. We will travel from lush rainforest, volcanic lakes, wetlands through to savanna country. Located in the highland region southwest of Cairns, this tour covers landmarks such as the 500-year-old Cathedral Fig Tree, Lake Barrine and Millaa Millaa Falls.

The rainforests of the Tablelands provide habitat for a rich array of marsupials, reptiles, invertebrates and over 320 species of bird. Iconic bird species include the Victoria’s Riflebird, Golden Bowerbird, Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Atherton Scrubwren, Bridled Honeyeater, Pied Monarch, Stone Curlew, Black-faced Monarch, Red-backed Fairy-wren and Forest Kingfisher.

Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine are two notable geological attractions, formed when rising lava was pushed against ground water, resulting in explosions from the heating of these underground streams. The resulting craters of Lakes Eacham and Lake Barrine were formed around 10,000 years ago and reach a depth of 65 metres.

A visit to Lake Barrine provides us with a very high likelihood of seeing the elusive Platypus along with opportunities to see a the Red-legged Pademelon, Musky Rat Kangaroo, Snapping Turtle, Giant Eel, Eastern Water Dragon, Saw-shell Turtle and one of the area’s most iconic species, the Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo

FNQ Nature Tours has exclusive access to a 5000 acre wetlands site owned by the conservation organisation, Forever Wild.

The wildlife on the Tropical Wetlands Reserve is incredibly diverse, and the property has some of the highest avian diversity anywhere in Australia. Boasting over 220 species recorded, the highest bird count in a single day is 98 species. We know the property is critical habitat for the endangered Northern Quoll.

Contribute to research with our guides by conducting a bird count of the wetlands. This data is invaluable for global bird exposure, recognition and understanding. In Summer, we often come across Frilled-neck Lizards on our walks there.

A wildlife tour in the Far North Queensland is not complete without a night walk. A large portion of the local wildlife has adopted a nocturnal lifestyle to avoid the heat of the day in the tropical climate. We visit 2 nocturnal sites over our final two nights to experience the overall diversity of wildlife in the Wet Tropics.

Two night’s stay at Chambers Wildlife

Accommodation

Accommodation

Welcome to the Heritage Lodge in the Daintree
Step back in time and experience the magic of the Heritage Lodge in the Daintree. Just two hours North of Cairns, this is the only place in the world where two world heritage listed National Parks join. This section of the Daintree rainforest, is where the worlds most ancient rainforest, meets the reef.

Wake to the call of birds in one of our rainforest cabins and enjoy the clear pure air of the Daintree. All 20 cabins in our secluded lodge are set in the quiet peacefulness of the rainforest and are perfect for bird, butterfly or musky rat kangaroo spotting. Take a swim with jungle perch and turtles in untouched crystal clear Cooper Creek, which winds through the lodge en-route from the mountains to the sea.

As soon as you set foot into the lodge you are made to feel at home. From the smells of fresh bread drifting from the kitchen to the warm welcome from the attentive local staff.

Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges

Wether you would like to spend your days in the pool or sitting in one of the comfortable birding locations, Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge offers it to you.

Enjoy the scenic rainforest from the glass walled central Guest Lounge, shoot some pool or read up on what you saw that day from the small wildlife library.

Walk along the pathways or just visit the creek. An Indoor Pool with a Spa overlooks the lawns of the Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges, enjoy this peaceful rainforested clearing poolside or from the Spa.

The Rainforest Deck
Come and relax by the pool on one of our Sun lounges and enjoy the therapeutic sounds of garden waterfalls and bird calls.This large deck puts you up in the trees and offers great birdwatching opportunities. A Sugar Glider viewing platform is illuminated until 11pm each evening for guests to view Sugar Gliders, Striped Possums, Uromys, Bandicoots, Melomys, Antechinus. Simply relax in one of the chairs and wait for the wildlife to come to you.Walk the perimeter of this beautiful 20 acre property of private rainforest, bordered along one side by national parks and along another by a small spring fed stream.

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Photo Credits

Item No.: 133842
Title: Atherton Tableland
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Item No.: 133846
Title: Atherton Tableland
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Item No.: 135931
Title: Lake Eacham
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

Item No.: 138645
Title: Daintree Ice Cream Company
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Item No.: 138808
Title: Daintree Discovery Centre
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Item No.: 140216
Title: Crocodile Express Daintree River Cruises
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Item No.: 141024
Title: Walkabout Cultural Adventures
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Item No.: 141854
Title: Cape Tribulation
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Item No.: 141855
Title: Lake Eacham
Format: Master RGB JPEG
Mandatory credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

4 DAY NATURE, WILDLIFE AND CONSERVATION SAFARI

DATES: Tuesday 3rd – 6th August 2021
DURATION: 4-days / 3-nights
RATES: 2 passengers Twin Share price $3445 | Single traveller rate $2067
GROUP SIZE: Min 4 / Max 6
FEATURING REGIONS: Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Julatten, Shared Earth Reserve, Atherton Tablelands, Crater Lakes National Park, AQC Private access areas

What’s Included:

4 days touring within a small group tour environment
3 nights accommodation
All meals provided
Expert naturalists guides
Modern comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle

DAY 1

0730 Pickup from Cairns Accommodation
Witness the magical Great Barrier Reef Drive as we head north on the scenic coastal highway. Learn about the unique habitats within the local environment and observe the changes in bio-diversity as we get closer to the Daintree Tropical Rainforest

0900 Cape Tribulation (where the rainforest meets the reef)
This famous valley resembles a giant amphitheatre with a semicircle of hills dominated by Mt Sorrow (850m) and Mt Hemmant (1000m). The south-eastern rainfall trapped by this valley results in a lush tropical climate with high temperatures, humidity and rainfall. Renowned for its scenic landscape and remote beaches

Several walks, scenic lookouts and beach areas are located in the coastal community. We often spend up to two hours exploring the natural assets if this area.

1130 Jindalba Interpretive Rainforest Trail
The Daintree is an area of ancient tropical rainforest spanning 120,000 hectares, making it the largest portion of tropical rainforest in Australia Walk the quiet tracks to witness the complex ecosystems in this World Heritage Area.

Jindalba nature trail offers unique and remarkable opportunities to experience the natural scenery and endemic wildlife within the National Park.

1230 Arrive at Whet Restaurant for lunch
Whet combines the natural wonder of the surrounding jungle with its unique and casual atmosphere. Located right in the heart of the Daintree with delicious cuisine on offer

1400 Swimming option
After lunch, we highly recommend a swim in the azure waters of Emmagen Creek before settling in at Heritage lodge for our dinner and accommodation for this evening.

Overnight stat at Heritage Lodge
Lodging tonight will be in beautiful rainforest clad accommodation. Heritage Lodge is an environmentally friendly resort set back in the heart of a lush coastal rainforest, a short stroll from Cooper Creek for a swim!

Day 2

0630 Depart Heritage Lodge
An early start to maximise our wildlife viewing pleasure on the Daintree River. A short drive of 30 minutes will have us at our cruise location

0700 Private Daintree Cruise
Cruise the beautiful Daintree River with the dawn light, spotting wildlife on a quiet, clean solar electric boat with zero impact on the environment. Get closer to nature… hear, smell & experience without noise & fumes.

We have a 99% success rate for spotting crocodiles, excellent bird watching opportunities and other wildlife possibilities such as snakes, frogs and fish and bats. The cruise is two hours!

1130 Lunch at the Highlander Tavern
The Highlander Tavern is located in the mountains of the Port Douglas Hinterlands. Nestled among the rainforest with many flowering Eucalypts and nearby creeks

1330 Forever Wild Shared Earth Reserve
The wildlife on the Tropical Wetlands SER is incredibly diverse, and the property has some of the highest avian diversity anywhere in Australia. Boasting over 220 species recorded, the highest bird count in a single day is 98 species. We know the property is critical habitat for Buff Breasted Button Quail, one of the world rarest birds, and there is a healthy population of the endangered Northern Quoll

1630 Overnight stay at Chambers Wildlife Lodge
Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges is hidden in 1200 acres of Lake Eacham’s lush, tropical highland rainforest in the beautiful Waterfalls and Crater Lakes district of the Atherton Tablelands. As pioneers in eco-tourism the lodge specifically caters for birdwatchers, wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists and photographers.

1930 Night spotting in the Northern Daintree
A wildlife tour in the Far North Queensland is not complete without a night walk. A large portion of the local wildlife has adopted a nocturnal lifestyle to avoid the heat of the day in the tropical climate. We often visit 2 sites to experience the overall diversity of nocturnal wildlife in the Wet Tropics.

DAY 3 – Conservation day

Become a citizen scientist for a day!

We are offering an exclusive opportunity to work along-side industry experts and assist in conducting valuable research that will aid in the preservation of Far North Queensland’s endangered wildlife!

This behind the scenes tour provides a unique opportunity to enter research locations not accessible to the public to observe the endangered Spotted-tailed Quoll

Justin McMahon and Alberto Vale are our expert research guides and they have been carefully studying these fascinating and mysterious creatures for several years.

Join them in the rainforest and take part in their research projects.

The Spotted-tailed Quoll is the largest marsupial mammal in the world!
Sadly their closest cousin, the Australian Tasmanian Tiger is already extinct.
Spotted-tailed Quoll populations in North Queensland are now critically low and sadly this amazing creature is at real risk of extinction.
This precious animal needs our help so that future generations can appreciate their magnificence and beauty.
AQC AIMS

To dramatically increase global awareness of Spotted-tailed Quolls
To bridge the gap between tourism and science, allowing a deeper educational journey into the Wet Tropics
To undertake and assist with studies into Quoll habitats and biology.
To contribute – Not many Wildlife experiences allow guests to directly contribute to the prosperity of native animals
Guests will join our researchers and other team members as they check camera traps and motion detection areas to catalogue sightings, document food sources, locations and behaviours and search for evidence of visits.

Day 4

0630 Birdwatching Morning
Optional Birding at Hasties Swamp. Hasties Swamp is a large seasonal wetland renowned for its diverse range of resident and migratory birds. Over 220 species have been identified and a large bird hide, with informative identification signs, offers excellent water bird viewing opportunities.

0930 Lake Barrine
An outstanding location for nature activities.

Several walks are available offering great wildlife and bird watching opportunities. From 30 minutes to two hours, tailored to your desires.

Let’s toast our wildlife spotting achievements over some local tea/coffee and the famous Tea House scones with jam and cream.

The lake cruise is a big highlight to spot reptiles such as Water dragons, birds, eels, fish, other reptiles and several Wet Tropics endemic species.

Lunch options are brilliant and the view is pretty special too!

1230 Yungaburra
One of our major focus points of the day, spotting WILD Platypus! Learn about their elusive behavior and take as much time as you need to get that perfect photo!

We often witness a resident Tree Kangaroo family at this location also 

1530 Arrive at Cathedral Fig Tree
One of the most incredible trees you will see in your life. This ancient fig tree is an epic rainforest survivor with a very complex ecosystem surrounding its lifecycle.

1630 Return to Cairns