Queensland is full of natural beauty; home to the Great Barrier Reef, ancient rainforest and some of the world’s most biologically diverse animals and environments. There are plenty of ways to experience this, but none more rewarding and worthwhile than on a trip that puts wildlife first.
Australian Wildlife Journeys is a collective of 13 independently run wildlife tourism operators who offer responsible tours that help preserve wildlife. From whale watching in Hervey Bay to citizen science data collection in far north Queensland, read on to discover some of the unique experiences on offer in Queensland.
Ultimate Hervey Bay Whale Watch
The Great Sandy Marine Park is abundant with wildlife, including turtles, dolphins, dugongs and a myriad of sea birds.
It also plays host to humpback whales each winter as they migrate north from Antarctica to birth their young.
Taking a trip with Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Adventures Australia means you’ll learn from the experts, as they have been studying whales in the area for over 35 years. The Ultimate Hervey Bay Whale Watch is a three-hour cruise hosted by certified Marine Naturalists, with a whale researcher onboard. You’ll learn the latest facts on humpback whales as well as gain lots of information on observing whale behaviours. You’ll even have the opportunity to listen to whale songs using underwater hydrophones.
Tours take place on specially designed eco-friendly boats, and each ticket purchased contributes towards research that helps protect whales worldwide.
Hervey Bay Private Charter
A Hervey Bay Private Charter means you can tailor a trip to include activities such as snorkelling, birdwatching and sunset cruising, or focus on a particular region or the local indigenous history.
It’s also a great opportunity for a more in-depth conversation with the Marine Naturalists and Marine Biologists to find out more about the research of the Pacific Whale Foundation. According to the foundation’s Chief Biologist, Stephanie Stack, the organisation “Tracks Humpback Whales by photographing the underside of their tail fluke, where they have a unique pigmentation pattern.”
Guests are also able to contribute to the project by uploading their own whale photos from the trip to the database after the tour. All proceeds from sales of private charter experiences support the foundation’s research and conservation programmes.
4 Day Nature, Wildlife & Conservation Safari
As well as discovering some of far north Queensland’s most beautiful regions, this tour allows you the opportunity to be part of citizen science data collection, learn about wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and observe the rehabilitation process. You’ll have the chance to assist in research projects with the Australian Quoll Conservancy, checking camera traps and motion detection areas to catalogue sightings, and document food sources and behaviours of Spotted-tailed Quolls.
In Julatten, you’ll visit WARCQ, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organisation and meet the founder Amber Dahlberg. Then you’ll meet Dr Karen Coombes, Director and Chair Founder of Tree Roo Rescue. The non for profit organisation rescues and rehabilitates tree kangaroos and Karen is an expert in tree kangaroo behaviour.
Daintree Afternoon & Nocturnal
The Daintree is the oldest continually growing rainforest in the world. At night-time comes alive with nocturnal wildlife including the Daintree River ringtail possum, northern long-nosed bandicoot and northern bettong. The Daintree Afternoon & Nocturnal tour includes a night walk with a local expert to spot some of these marsupials as well as Boyd’s forest dragons, frogs, lizards, and spiders.
FNQ Nature Tours founder James Boettcher says; “On our new night walk, we turn the torches off and just listen. Usually, animals will stay still and wait until you pass. But after 60 to 90 seconds of being still, you start to hear things didn’t know were there: fruit hitting the ground because something knocks it down from the canopy; a creature scurrying through the leaves, and you spot bioluminescent fungi in summer.”
The tour also includes a wildlife cruise of the Daintree River on a solar electric boat. Here, you can observe saltwater crocodiles and dine at one of the region’s finest restaurants.
Tablelands Exclusive Tour
The Atherton Tablelands is a diverse region of lush rainforest, savannah, lakes and wetlands.
On the Tablelands Exclusive Tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore these, as well as some unique wildlife. The town of Yungaburra is home to wild platypus. Malanda Conservation Park is one of the few places in Australia where you might see Mapee (Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos).
You’ll also visit the 800-year-old Cathedral Fig Tree and learn about its complex ecosystem. The full-day tour starts and finishes in Cairns and includes the opportunity to swim in Lake Eachaman, an extinct volcanic crater in Crater Lakes National Park and a cruise on Lake Barrine.