Rainforest and Reef Wildlife Explorer

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Rainforest and Reef Wildlife Explorer

Rainforest and Reef Wildlife Explorer

8 Day Escorted Small Group
23-30 August 2021


The Rainforest and Reef Wildlife Explorer escorted group tour visits the amazing Daintree Forest region for incredible scenery, birding and wildlife spotting, the Tropical Wetlands Shared Earth Reserve with an added Glamping experience, a visit to the Australia Quoll Conservancy to join experts in research as well as a cruise out to the amazing Great Barrier Reef.

Featuring regions:

  • Cairns
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Daintree Rainforest
  • Cape Tribulation
  • Julatten
  • Forever Wild Tropical Wetlands and Shared Earth Reserve
  • Atherton Tablelands
  • Crater Lakes National Park
  • Yungaburra

Rainforest and Reef Wildlife highlights may include:

  • 100+ bird species
  • Southern Cassowary
  • Spotted-tail Quolls
  • Australian Platypus
  • Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo
  • White-lipped Tree Frog
  • Saltwater Crocodile
  • Boyd’s Forest Dragon
  • Amethystine Python
  • Maori Wrasse
  • Green Sea Turtle
  • Clownfish
  • White-tip Reef Shark

Contact us for more information on the Rainforest and Reef Wildlife Explorer.


Day 1: 23 August 2021 (D)
Arrival into Cairns. Met and transfer to Cairns accommodation – overnight at the Hilton Cairns. Welcome Dinner
Accommodation: Hilton Cairns.

Day 2: 24 August 2021 (BLD)

  • 0730 Pickup from Hilton Cairns accommodation.
    Witness the magical Great Barrier Reef Drive as we head north on the scenic coastal highway. Learn about the unique habitats within the local environment and observe the changes in bio-diversity as we get closer to the Daintree Tropical Rainforest.
  • 0930 Jindalba Interpretive Rainforest Trail – Jindalba nature trail offers unique and remarkable opportunities to experience the natural scenery and endemic wildlife within the National Park. Wildlife sightings may include the Southern Cassowary, Boyd’s Forest Dragon, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Spectacled Monarch, Majors Skink and many more.
  • 1230 Arrive at Whet Restaurant for lunch
    Whet combines the natural wonder of the surrounding jungle with its unique and casual atmosphere. Located right in the heart of the Daintree with delicious cuisine on offer
  • 1330 Cape Tribulation (where the rainforest meets the reef)
    This famous valley resembles a giant amphitheatre with a semicircle of hills dominated by Mt Sorrow (850m) and Mt Hemmant (1000m). The south-eastern rainfall trapped by this valley results in a lush tropical climate with high temperatures, humidity and rainfall. Renowned for its scenic landscape and remote beaches.
    Several walks, scenic lookouts and beach areas are located in the coastal community. We often spend an hour exploring the natural assets if this area.
  • 1630 Check-in to Heritage Lodge
    Lodging tonight will be in beautiful rainforest clad accommodation. Heritage Lodge is an environmentally friendly resort set back in the heart of a lush coastal rainforest, a short stroll from Cooper Creek for a swim!
    Optional night walk
  • 1930 Night spotting in the Northern Daintree. A wildlife tour in the Far North Queensland is not complete without a night walk. A large portion of the local wildlife has adopted a nocturnal lifestyle to avoid the heat of the day in the tropical climate. We often visit 2 sites to experience the overall diversity of nocturnal wildlife in the Wet Tropics.

Accommodation: Heritage Lodge in the Daintree
Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided

Day 3: 25 August 2021 – (BLD)
Optional sunrise at Thornton Beach – Consider joining your driver in the morning for a 5-minute drive to nearby Thornton Beach for Sunrise over the Coral Sea (weather permitting)

  • 0730 Breakfast at ‘On the Terps’ restaurant – Heritage Lodge
  • 0930 Maardja Boardwalk and Oliver Creek
    The constantly changing scenery and vegetation along this boardwalk are captivating. The Marrdja Boardwalk is among the most interesting of all these trails. It is a looped walk that begins and ends at Oliver’s Creek, a glistening stream that emerges from beneath the thick rainforest canopy
  • 1030 Dubuji Boardwalk – The Place of Spirits
    The 1.3km loop track abuts Myall Beach and begins at the carpark, meandering through forest, mangroves, fan palms and over spring fed creek. Spot azure and little kingfishers darting into shallow pools from overhanging branches and watch orange-footed scrubfowl scratching on the forest floor
  • 1230 Arrive at Whet Restaurant for lunch
  • 1400 Emmagen creek
    After lunch, we highly recommend a swim in the azure waters of Emmagen Creek before settling in at Heritage lodge for our overnight accommodation and dinner for the evening
  • 1730 Check-in to Heritage Lodge

Accommodation: Heritage Lodge in the Daintree
Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided

Day 4: 26 August 2021 (BLD)

  • 0630 Depart Heritage Lodge
    We’re grabbing our gear for an early start to maximise our wildlife viewing pleasure on the Daintree River. A short drive of 30 minutes will have us at our cruise location
  • 0700 Private Daintree Cruise
    Cruise the beautiful Daintree River with the dawn light, spotting wildlife on a quiet, clean solar electric boat with zero impact on the environment. Get closer to nature… hear, smell & experience without noise & fumes.
    We have a 99% success rate for spotting crocodiles, excellent bird watching opportunities and other wildlife possibilities such as snakes, frogs and fish and bats. The cruise is two hours!
  • 1000 Morning tea and birdwatching in Julatten
    This small town attracts thousands of birders each year, on the lookout for species that include Spectacled Monarchs, Pale-Yellow Robins, Lesser Sooty Owl, Red-Necked Crakes, Pied Monarch, Yellow-Breasted Boatbill, and Orange-Footed Scrubfowl.
    In summer, the spectacular Buff-Breasted Paradise Kingfisher is another highlight
  • 1130 Lunch at the Highlander Tavern
    The Highlander Tavern is located in the mountains of the Port Douglas Hinterlands. Nestled among the rainforest with many flowering Eucalypts and nearby creeks
  • 1330 Forever Wild Shared Earth Reserve

The wildlife on the Tropical Wetlands SER is incredibly diverse, and the property has some of the highest avian diversity anywhere in Australia. Boasting over 220 species recorded, the highest bird count in a single day is 98 species. We know the property is critical habitat for Buff Breasted Button Quail, one of the world rarest birds, and there is a healthy population of the endangered Northern Quoll

We have exclusive access to this site including safari tent accommodation with toilet and shower facilities. Enjoy an evening of star gazing and a campfire cook up!

Accommodation: Glamping at the Tropical Wetlands Reserve

Day 5: 27 August 2021 (BLD)

  • 0630 Wildlife spotting and Conservation
    We are up and about exploring the 5000-acre Wetlands Reserve. Contribute to research with your guides by conducting a bird count of the wetlands. This data is invaluable for global bird exposure, recognition and understanding
  • 1130 Lake Barrine
    An outstanding location for nature activities.
    Several walks are available offering great wildlife and bird watching opportunities. From 30 minutes to two hours, tailored to our clients. Big highlights include spotting reptiles such as water dragons, birds, eels, fish, other reptiles and several Wet Tropics endemic species.
    Lunch at the Tea House is brilliant and the view is pretty special too!
  • 1230 Yungaburra
    One of our major focus points of the day, spotting WILD Platypus! Learn about their elusive behaviour and take as much time as you need to get that perfect photo!
    We often witness a resident Tree Kangaroo family at this location also
  • 1430 Arrive at Cathedral Fig Tree
    One of the most incredible trees you will see in your life. This ancient fig tree is an epic rainforest survivor with a very complex ecosystem surrounding its lifecycle.
  • 1530 Overnight stay at Chambers Wildlife Lodge
    Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge is hidden in 1200 acres of Lake Eacham’s lush, tropical highland rainforest in the beautiful Waterfalls and Crater Lakes district of the Atherton Tablelands. As pioneers in eco-tourism the lodge specifically caters for birdwatchers, wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists and photographers
  • Optional Afternoon Birdwatching – Or just relax at the lodge!
    Optional Birding at Hasties Swamp. Hasties Swamp is a large seasonal wetland renowned for its diverse range of resident and migratory birds. Over 220 species have been identified and a large bird hide, with informative identification signs, offers excellent water bird viewing opportunities.
  • 1900 Dinner at the Malanda Hotel

Accommodation: Chambers Wildlife Lodge

Day 6: 28 August 2021 (B)
Conservation Tour behind the scenes with Quoll Researchers

  • 0700 Breakfast at the Whistle stop Café Yungaburra
    Become a citizen scientist for a day!
    We are offering an exclusive opportunity to work along-side industry experts and assist in conducting valuable research that will aid in the preservation of Far North Queensland’s endangered wildlife!
    This behind the scenes tour provides a unique opportunity to enter research locations not accessible to the public to observe the endangered Spotted-tailed Quoll
    Justin McMahon and Alberto Vale are our expert research guides and they have been carefully studying these fascinating and mysterious creatures for several years.
    Join them in the rainforest and take part in their research projects.
  • The Spotted-tailed Quoll is the largest marsupial mammal in the world!
  • Sadly their closest cousin, the Australian Tasmanian Tiger is already extinct.
  • Spotted-tailed Quoll populations in North Queensland are now critically low and sadly this amazing creature is at real risk of extinction.
  • This precious animal needs our help so that future generations can appreciate their magnificence and beauty.

The Australian Quoll Conservancy (AQC)
The AQC are a not for profit organisation, now in their sixth year of operation. Several Species Recovery Units are now established in Victoria and North Queensland. AQC emphasises the need for the recovery of these species in those areas, with unique, innovative and non-invasive monitoring methods that transcend current Animal Ethics, scientific methodologies and requirement

AQC Aims:

  • To dramatically increase global awareness of Spotted-tailed Quolls
  • To bridge the gap between tourism and science, allowing a deeper educational journey into the Wet Tropics
  • To undertake and assist with studies into Quoll habitats and biology.
  • To contribute – Not many Wildlife experiences allow guests to directly contribute to the prosperity of native animals

Guests will join our researchers and other team members as they check camera traps and motion detection areas to catalogue sightings, document food sources, locations and behaviours and search for evidence of visits.

How can our guests make a valuable contribution?

  • Ultimately, education and awareness is the BEST conservation
  • This tour is not for profit with ALL proceeds going directly to AQC.
  • But if you would like to give the Spotted-tailed Quoll an extra helping hand, our team is currently raising funds for a thermal imaging camera and a new computer GPS system to allow our experts and volunteers to track each other’s movements while they are out in the field.
  • Take the experience home with you. Guests will have the opportunity to follow the story of our precious Quolls through exclusive social media access and information sharing among the team.

Return to Hilton Cairns for overnight accommodation (Dinner at leisure – own expense)

Accommodation: Hilton Cairns

Day 7: 29 August 2021
Today you’re heading out to explore the Great Barrier Reef with our good friends at Ocean Free.

Ocean Free offers you the opportunity to experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef as it was intended. Ocean Free is the only operator in Cairns to offer a personal sailing reef and island tour. Sail, snorkel and scuba dive aboard personalised tours with fun and professional crew. Explore Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

  • 0645 Breakfast at the Hilton
  • 0700 Walk 2 minutes to the Reef Fleet Terminal for your check-in!

Check in at Reef Fleet Terminal from 7.15am at Ocean Free + Ocean Freedom desk. Board from 7.30am At Finger No. 4 at the Marlin Marina, Cairns for an 8.00am departure – coffee, tea and Danish pastries and fresh fruit served on boarding.

Sail ( 2 hours ) to their exclusive mooring on “Pinnacle Reef” just 1km off Green Island. Both areas are Marine Park Reserves and are protected from fishing with an abundant sea-life. Transfers to “Green Island” are in their tender. Upon arrival at Pinnacle Reef, just 1km from Green Island, guests can enjoy a swim, snorkel, a dive (optional extra ) or just relax. Ocean Free’s exclusive mooring ensures that the ocean is uninterrupted by crowds. The“bommies” (coral outcrops) and coral gardens, from just 1 metre under the surface, are teaming with life and make viewing easy. A large smorgasbord lunch consisting of Tasmanian smoked salmon , prawns, mixed meat platter, chicken platter, 3 fresh salads, assorted breads is served on board the boat and tropical fruit platter, cheese and crackers and cake served on the sail home.

Return to Cairns for overnight at the Hilton (Dinner at leisure – own expense)

Accommodation: Hilton Cairns

Day 8: 30 August 2021
Breakfast at the hotel then we say goodbye to the Rainforest and Reef Wildlife group, as we transfer to our onward flights.

Price + Inclusions

Rainforest and Reef Wildlife ExplorerPrice per person
8 Days$3,650

Maximum 6 Guests

Rainforest and Reef Wildlife Explorer Inclusions:

  • 8 days exclusive touring
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 dinners
  • Private guide/driver with guiding and wildlife experience
  • Modern comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle
  • Daintree River cruise
  • Special Highlight – Australian Quoll Conservancy Experience


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