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Tablelands Wildlife Tour

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Tour Details


A full  day guided tour that visits a variety of different habitats in the Highlands above Cairns looking at the whole range of local wildlife from birds to mammals, butterflies and other insects, reptiles and if we are lucky frogs. The actual itinerary will vary depending on weather, time of year, animal movements and the special requests of clients. While most Australian mammals are nocturnal amongst those  we hope to see on our journey arePlatypus and a variety of Kangaroos including the bizarre Lumholz’s Tree Kangaroo  and a roost of Spectacled and perhaps Little Red Flying Foxes.

AU$380.00 per person (minimum 2 people)

Please enquire about the special rate for children travelling with 2 adults.

Pick up time

To be arranged at time of booking.

Drop off time

Usually between 4:30pm – 5:00pm. 

Price Includes

  • Experienced Wildlife Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • Lunch
  • Hotel pick up & drop off
  • Transport in comfortable 4WD air-conditioned vehicle

Price Excludes

  • Snacks
  • Drinks


  • Complimentary Water in vehicle
What to Expect

An exciting full day wildlife tour with an experienced wildlife guide. We will visit a number of different ecosystems some of which are on private land with restricted access spread over 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

Time to be arrangedPick up from your accommodation

After being picked up from your accommodation you will head out for your full day tour of the Southern Tablelands above Cairns.

Day's activities

The order of the sites we visit will be determined by your accommodation and will be very different if you come up from Cairns as opposed to being picked up from the Tablelands.

If you are coming up from Cairns your first stop is likely to be Cassowary House where the Musky Rat Kangaroo can often be seen. A Gondwana relict this is Australia’s smallest macropod and its only fully diurnal one. We would also hope to see Victoria’s Riflebird, one of Australia’s 4 Birds of Paradise and other birds that come to feed right near the house verandahs. If we are lucky we will also see the iconic Cassowary which visits the property on a regular basis. This is also a good place for the Cairns Birdwing and Ulysses Butterflies.

The dry country around Mareeba is good for kangaroos and here we will hope to see the Eastern Grey Kangaroos and the Mareeba Rock Wallaby. We may also see Agile Wallaby if we are lucky. The impressive Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Kookaburras Red-backed Fairywrensand other bush birds live in this area. Watch the less travelled roads as we drive along keeping your eyes open for a Frilled Lizard or a sunbathing snake.

Around the Atherton area in winter stately Cranes can often be seen in the cut cane fields beside the road. During the summer the cane grows tall and most of the Sarus cranes fly to the Gulf of Carpentaria to breed. Keep your eyes open as we pass through patches of rainforest for fruit bat camps as there is often one near Tolga where both Spectacled and sometimes Little Red Flying Foxes can be seen.

Beyond Atherton you may visit Hasties Swamp – a very busy wetland area or perhaps the spectacular Curtain Fig. This is an excellent venue for spotlighting but during the day we sometimes see Tree Kangaroos. These unlikely arboreal mammals are most active at night but we have a few sites where we often see them during the day as well. We also have a few different sites for platypus, some of which are very close by, and we will be visiting at least one of these today.

Drop off at your accommodation

At the end of what we hope will be an excellent day we will return you to your accommodation.


These bizarre aquatic mammals belong to one of two families of egg laying mammals – the other is the echidna which are also found in Australia. The male platypus has poisonous spurs on its hind leg – no other mammal is equipped with poison barbs. They can be found in practically any clean stream on the Tablelands but are shy and crepuscular so are often difficult to see. We have a number of regular sites for platypus which we visit depending on the weather and the time of day.


We hope to see a number of kangaroos on this tour ranging from the diminutive rainforest Musky Rat Kangaroo to the second largest of Australia’s kangaroos – the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. We should also see the locally endemic Mareeba Rock Wallaby, Agile Wallaby and if we are lucky the Red-legged Pademelon though this small wallaby is usually seen only in and close to rainforest at night.

Highlights:Fruit Bat Camps

Flying Foxes or Fruit bats roost communally in large “camps” during the day where they squabble and flap about. We hope to see, hear and smell one today. At night the bats disperse from the camps to forage on the nearby fruit. Unfortunately they do not distinguish between rainforest fruits and orchard fruits. As a result the Tablelands fruit farmers are not very keen on flying foxes!