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Atherton Tablelands Spotlighting Tour

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Tour Details

An evening tour looking for the nocturnal birds and other animals that live in the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland. This takes you up into the Highlands behind Cairns looking for some of the unique fauna of this region.  The itinerary can vary due to weather, animal movements and the special requests of clients. There are some different destinations that can be used for spotlighting and so the actual itinerary may vary due to the time of year, local conditions and what clients want to see.


AU$190.00 per person (minimum 2 people)

Pick up time

This will be arranged at time of booking and will depend on where your accommodation is situated.

Drop off time

Usually around 10:30pm – 11:00pm at your accommodation depending on where it is situated.

Price Includes

  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • Transport in comfortable 4WD air-conditioned vehicle

Price Excludes

  • Dinner
  • Drinks


  • Complimentary water in vehicle
What to Expect

An exciting wildlife tour with an experienced wildlife guide. We will visit some different sites some of which are on private land with restricted access on the Southern Tablelands above Cairns.

We suggest you bring with you:

  • comfortable covered walking shoes - while there are no major hikes during this tour there will be some walking on potentially rough paths
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirt and long trousers- some rainforest plants can be rather scratchy
  • Lightweight raingear
  • Jumper or sweatshirt for higher altitudes particularly in winter
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera and binoculars
Sample Itinerary

6:30pmPick up from accommodation

After being picked up from your accommodation you will head out onto the Tablelands to visit various mammal watching sites.

Evening ActivitiesSpotlighting

At dusk the Fruit Bat camps disperse and these flying mammals can be seen in great numbers flying over the road if you are anywhere near them. We will be looking for nocturnal birds as we travel including the Pacific Barn Owl. Most of the mammalian fauna of Australia is nocturnal and we will be keeping our eyes open as we go for Kangaroos and wallabies. Many of these can exhibit suicidal tendencies and hurl themselves at vehicles when spooked or dazzled by the lights, which is why they are such a common roadkill in Australia.

While some snakes are diurnal hunters, others hunt at night. They also like to soak up the heat from the roads and it is often possible to see them enjoying a rest on the tarmac which still retains the heat from the day. Boigu (also known as Brown Tree Snakes or Night Tigers) and Pythons are particularly keen on this and a number of snakes lose their lives due to a lack of road sense.

Looking for eyeshine is one of the best ways to pick up animals at night. Although most eyeshine tends to be tiny spiders we are often rewarded by a variety of possums including Striped, Green Ringtail, Common Ringtail, and Common Brush-tailed Possums. Sugar Gliders, Northern Brown and Long-nosed Bandicoots, Fawn-footed Melomys, Antechinus and Uromys, (the Giant White-tailed Rat) are also a possibility. Platypus and Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroos are also a possibility. Frogs can also seen at night and are particularly common after rain and during the wetter months can be deafening in the cacophony of sound they make after rain.

10:30pm - 11:00pmDrop off at your accommodation

Drop off at your accommodation.