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Cape York Iron Range – Drive in Fly Out

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Seven Days
Lockhart River
Tour Details

A short trip visiting two of the major bird and wildlife areas of Cape York.

Iron Range is one of the most famous birding sites in Australia. During the 7-day birding tour, we hope to  see all the New Guinea/Cape York specials including the beautiful Golden-shouldered Parrot and the stately Palm Cockatoo. From Cairns, we travel to Mt Carbine and on to Laura and Musgrave where there is a full day of birding in Lakefield National Park, before we travel north to Archer River and Iron Range. All meals are included on this birding tour.

Tour Cost

AU$4035.00 per person (group of 4)

Single Supplement


Flight Costs

Flights will be an extra cost and will depend on seat availability at the time of purchase. They should be approximately AU$310.00. We will let you know what needs to be purchased in due course.

Departure & Return Location

Cairns, Queensland, Australia (Google Map)

Departure Time

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

Price Includes

  • Tour Guide
  • Transport in a comfortable air conditioned 4WD vehicle
  • 6 Nights Hotel Accomodation
  • Entrance Fees & permits
  • Meals as per itinerary

Price Excludes

  • Personal drinks and snacks
  • Phone and internet charges
  • Anything not covered above


  • Complimentary water in vehicle
What to Expect

This tour allows us to have a good look at the different habitats that can be found in this northernmost part of Australia. Mangroves, heathland, rainforest, vine forest, savannah and wetlands are all to be explored. Cape York has a number of bird species that cannot be seen elsewhere in Australia including the endemic Golden-shouldered Parrots near Musgrave and the “New Guinea” specials such as Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Yellow billed Kingfisher and Graceful Honeyeater at Iron Range. 

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-both dry country and rainforest plants can be rather scratchy
  • Lightweight raingear
  • Jumper or sweatshirt for higher altitudes particularly in winter
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera and binoculars


This is not a difficult tour and suitable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. However it is a long way up the Cape on unsealed roads.


At Iron Range this is either in air-conditioned en suite cabins or in a very pleasant house with air-conditioned bedrooms but a shared bathroom.

At Musgrave it is  in air-conditioned en suite rooms at the Roadhouse. 

Day 1Cairns to Musgrave

After being picked up from your accommodation you will head north through Mt Molloy where you may stop for morning tea and pay a visit to a bower of the Great Bowerbird. Continuing up the Cape Developmental Road we will stop for birding and lunch along the way but aim to end up in time to spend late afternoon searching for Golden shouldered Parrots near Musgrave.

Day 2Lakefield National Park

Provided the parrots are safely under the belt we will spend the whole day birding Lakefield National Park. There are a number of lagoons with Waterbirds and the grasslands hold a number of finches including Star Finch. They also have the spectacular magnetic termite mounds. These are very different to the usual globular mounds of the surrounding bush and more like those found in certain areas of the Northern Territory. We will also be looking for the Red Goshawk today.

Day 3Iron Range National Park

Today we leave the Musgrave area and head north to Lockhart River stopping to bird the wetlands around Coen and other interesting places en route.

Palm Cockatoo is often one of the first birds we see on arrival at Lockhart. River, A visit to the local sewage ponds can be productive so we may well call in there. We will also be looking for Green-backed Honeyeater, White-streaked Honeyeater and Tropical Scrubwren.

Day 4Birding Iron Range area

A full day birding the tropical rainforest and woodlands. We will be looking for the Cape York specials such as Eclectus Parrots, Trumpet Manucode, Frill-necked Monarch, Magnificent Riflebird and Yellow-billed kingfisher.

Day 5Iron Range National Park

Today we concentrate on any of the skulkers we did not see yesterday, Black-eared Catbird, Yellow-legged Flycatcher, White-faced Robin and Northern Scrub Robin can fall into this category. In the evening we can do some spotlighting for Marbled and Papuan Frogmouth, Rufous Owl and if we are lucky will also see Cuscus.

Day 6Lockhart, Portland Roads & Chilli Beach

Morning around Lockhart. We will spend the afternoon around Portland Roads where we can see the bowers of the Fawn-breasted Bowerbird and hopefully the birds as well. Mangrove Robin can also be seen in this area and Chilli Beach usually gives us a variety of shorebirds and if we are lucky some seabirds as well. In the early evening there are magnificent flypasts of Magnetic Starlings swirling down the beach.

Day 7Lockhart River birding & departure

With the morning back around the National Park we will then head to the airfield where you will say goodbye to your guide and to take your flight back to Cairns.