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FNQ Nature Tours

Tropical Wetlands Birdwatching

From: $840 USD

Duration: 10 hours

Type: Groups, Private Charter, Shared.

Departs: On Request

Interests: Birds.

FNQ Nature Tours has exclusive access to the Shared Earth Reserve, encompassing 5000 acres of lagoons, trails, bird hides and dirt roads containing an abundance of bird watching opportunities.

With more than 450 Avian Species recorded across this area and surrounds (more than half of Australia's total bird count), including 12 Endemics, it’s Australia’s twitching mecca!

  • The reserve has incredible habitat diversity, with permanent lakes, swamps, billabongs and creeks including an incredible mosaic of old-growth savanna woodland.

  • The wetlands reserve is owned by Forever Wild. Forever Wild work to protect Earth’s last great wildernesses for societal well-being, for biological diversity and its evolutionary potential, for our cultural record and economic values.

  • The region is famous being home to bowerbirds, kingfishers, riflebirds, fruit doves, parrots, cockatoos, and the endangered Southern Cassowary.

  • Join our team of staff are all highly experienced and passionate naturalist guides. Our personal interests in birdwatching and photography will guarantee a wonderful and memorable experience.


About FNQ Nature Tours:

After ten years of guiding nature and wildlife safaris in Northern Australia, James Boettcher established FNQ Nature Tours in 2015, with a firm belief that tourism is the key to the protection and conservation of this World Heritage area. The company offers tours designed for nature minded travellers desiring a personal, educational and interactive guided experience, whilst sharing the necessity of protecting the natural wonders and biodiversities of this world famous region. 

Price per group of 1-2 passengers, including touring, morning tea, picnic style lunch. Black-out dates may apply. Pricing is subject to availability and all prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (1/4/2022) and may differ when you book your travel. Please contact us for our current pricing and itinerary details*


Tour day-by-day

  • Full Day Birdwatching

    The early morning is invaluable for birdwatches. Our morning will focus on the Tropical Wetlands and Shared Earth Reserve which is home to over 220 recorded bird species and an exclusive site for us to explore.

    After a short 90 minute drive we will arrive at Clancy’s lagoon. This open expanse of water has comfortable walking tracks surrounding the perimeter, providing guests with the opportunity to observe the resident birdlife.

    After a short break for morning tea we 4WD to our second location, Pandanus Lagoon. Here we find a large diversity of waders and waterbirds including a massive population of Black Swan. It is also home to kangaroos, echidnas, dingos, snakes and scores of other reptiles. You can explore over 12km of walking trails which criss-cross the wetlands.

    A break from the binoculars while we enjoy a picnic style lunch under a shady billabong during the heat of the day. To further our bird watching prospects, we venture into the nearby Atherton Tablelands for the last couple of hours. Locations such as Lake Barrine and Yungaburra have afforded our customers amazing birdlife encounters and opportunities for photographs over the years.

    Birding Opportunities

    The diverse range of birdlife and wildlife include Magpie Geese, Black Swans, 11 different duck species and three different Grebes, Darters and Cormorants, Pelicans, Crakes, Rails, Swamphens, Moorhens, Coots, Herons, Egrets, Bitterns, Ibis, Spoonbills, Storks (Jabiru), Cranes including Brolga, Sarus Crane, Bustards, Sandpipers, Godwits, Common Greenshank, Stints, Jacanas which thrive on the water lilies, Curlews, Stills, Avocets, Lapwings, Plovers, Dotterels & Terns.

    Birds of Prey including Osprey, Kites, Hawks, Eagles, Harriers and Falcons. Five different pigeons and doves have been recorded and of course the famous Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo.

    We have great sightings of Black Cockatoos at the Wetlands and on the road into Mareeba Wetlands. Parrots including Lorikeets, Rosellas & Red Wing Parrots. With 9 different varieties of Cuckoos, Keels and Coucals not to mention a great location if you wish to see owls; five different species, 3 different Frogmouths and Night jars.

    One of the most beautiful birds to see are the Kingfishers especially the Azure Kingfisher, a delight to see around the lagoons. Both the laughing Kookaburra and Blue Winged Kookaburra are regularly seen. Bee eaters, Rollers,Tree Creepers and Pardalotes are well represented as well as numerous Honeyeaters, Robins, Bee Eaters, Thrushes, Monarchs, Magpie Larks, Fly Catchers and Wagtails are seen throughout the Wetlands.

    One to look out for is the fascinating Great Bowerbird, a delight to watch. The open savannah and eucalypt habitats within the Mareeba Wetlands give great opportunities to observe Finches, Fairy Wrens and Manikins. The Wetlands is also famous for the Gouldian Finch program.

    * NOTE - Each private tour can be tailored to suit certain species found throughout the Tablelands and Savannah region.

    Key Details

    $1,150 AUD (total group price for 1-2 passengers)
    $1,300 AUD (total group price for 3-4 passengers)
    $1,800 AUD (total group price for 5-6 passengers)

    Max Group Size: 7 guests
    Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Cairns/Northern Beaches/Port Douglas
    Pick-up and Drop-off Time: Cairns 6:30am, Drop off approximately 4:30pm

    Responsible Tourism

    As part of our commitment to sustainability we have developed a Code Of Practice relating to our wildlife interactions which is available for your reference. Our river affiliates are using only solar powers vessels, clean, quiet and zero impact on the environment during wildlife cruises. 

    As our way of contributing to the local wildlife community, we are heavily involved with FNQ Wildlife Rescue. Our organisation attends rescues and is active in sharing stories that may help educate our guests on safe and helpful practises for supporting injured or orphaned wildlife. We are also proud partners of the Australian Quoll Conservancy, dedicated to the conservation of the Spotted-tailed Quoll in North Queensland and Forever Wild; a charity set up to protect vast and wild places, rich in biological diversity and human culture including the Shared Earth Reserve in the Tablelands.

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