With the twin World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest side by side there are many opportunities to get close to more than 6000 species of animals.

Take me there


With the twin World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest side by side there are many opportunities to get close to more than 6,000 species of animals.

From random encounters to interpretive self-guided rainforest boardwalks, coach and outback four-wheel-drive tours, guided night spotting excursions and wetlands abundant with bird life, Tropical North Queensland promises varied wildlife encounters.

The region’s largest animals are the whales with the minke whales frequenting the ribbon reefs off Cairns and Port Douglas from May to August and the majestic humpback whales from July to September. Tours to swim with the whales or scenic helicopter flights are the best way to see them.

Giant potato cod are a highlight for divers at the Cod Hole near Lizard Island or go on a night dive to see sharks winding their way through the Reef. Friendly maori wrasse frequent the pontoons off Cairns and are happy to interact with snorkellers.

Pretty clown fish, colourful parrot fish, schools of giant trevally, sea cucumbers, manta rays and trigger fish are among the diverse species easily seen on the Great Barrier Reef.

Michaelmas Cay is home to five species of turtle with green and hawksbill turtles seen regularly, or journey to the Aboriginal community of Mapoon on Cape York Peninsula between July and October to join the Cape York Turtle Rescue project helping hatchlings.

Back on dry land wallabies can be seen grazing at the northern beaches, the Cairns Esplanade is home to a diverse array of birds and freshwater turtles are at Centenary Lakes.

Eat your breakfast with tropical birds, have dinner with a pride of lions, hand feed tame kangaroos, cuddle a koala or hold a baby crocodile at one of the wildlife parks in Cairns city, the northern beaches, Port Douglas or Kuranda. Crocodile feeding, aerial stunts by birds of prey, snake presentations and information sessions with examples of local wildlife are among the many shows available.

In Mission Beach, the Daintree and Cape Tribulation you might come face to face with an endangered southern cassowary and are sure to see a brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly. If you venture into the rainforest at night, gliders, possums and bandicoots can be seen.

Wildlife encounters are plentiful on the Atherton Tablelands with platypus regularly sighted around the Tinaroo Dam near Atherton, turtle feeding in the crystal clear waters of Millaa Millaa Falls, rock wallabies waiting for food at Granite Gorge and the endangered Lumholtz tree kangaroo often sighted at Yungaburra.

Things to do in Wildlife

99 Grafton Street Cairns, AJ Hackett Cairns, Bad Fishy Jet Boating Cairns, Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises, Bougainville Reef Dive Site, Cairns Harbour and Sunset Cruises, Cairns Museum, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns Tableland Tours, Cairns War Memorial, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome, Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns, Challenger Bay Dive Site, Clam Gardens Dive Site, Cod Hole Dive Site, Coral Expeditions - Great Barrier Reef, Coral Gardens Dive Site, Flynn Reef, Discovery Tours Australia, Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, Fitzroy Island National Park, Flecker Botanic Gardens, Flyboard Cairns, Food Trail Tours, Goldsborough Valley, Wooroonooran National Park, Great Adventures Reef and Green Island Cruises, Green Island Dive Site, Green Island Fringing Reefs, Green Island National Park, GSL Aviation - Cairns, Hot Air Balloon Cairns, Jarramali Rock Art Tours, Jorgey's Patch Dive Site, Kuranda Scenic Railway, Lighthouse Bommie Dive Site, McLeod Street Pioneer Cemetery Cairns,

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