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Wildlife Region


Cairns and Tropical North Queensland

Cairns is the gateway to the amazing Far North Queensland region, a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise and the only place in the world where two World Heritage Listed areas exist side by side (Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef). The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is extremely rich in biodiversity, with 2800 plant species and 663 vertebrate animal species, including 65 percent of Australia’s fern species, 30 percent of Australia’s orchid species and 35 per cent of Australia’s mammals.

The region provides access to the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, with landscapes that provide living examples of some of the earliest flowering plants and a fascinating insight into the diversity, evolution and survival of many rainforest species.

This is the area where the world’s songbirds emerged, currently home to forty percent of Australia’s bird species including bowerbirds, kingfishers, riflebirds, fruit doves and the endangered Southern Cassowary. Boasting the highest diversity of rainforest mammals in Australia, the Bennett's and Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo, Spectacled Flying-fox, Daintree River Ringtail Possum, Northern Long-nosed Bandicoot are popular sightings.

The Daintree and Tablelands boasts spectacular landscapes to observe reptiles, amphibians, monotremes and butterflies, including the Platypus, Saltwater Crocodile, Boyd’s Forest Dragon, White-lipped Tree Frog, Green-eyed Tree Frog, Snapping Turtle, Leaf-tailed Gecko and electric blue Ulysses butterfly.

Cairns Tour & Surrounds Highlights

  • The Daintree National Park represents the single largest mass of tropical rainforest in Australia. It is one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet and the oldest continually surviving rainforest, estimated to be 180 million years old.
  • The landscapes across this region are simply breath-taking, featuring a combination of waterfalls, mountain ranges, idyllic streams, deep gorges, white sandy beaches and dense rainforest.
  • The Atherton Tableland is part of the Great Dividing Range; a series of mountain ranges, plateaus and escarpments. Tours to the region include a visit to the Cathedral Fig Tree, a gigantic 500 year old strangler tree, is one of the region’s iconic flora attractions located in the nearby Danbulla State Forest. 
  • Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine are two notable geological attractions, formed when rising lava was pushed against ground water, resulting in explosions from the heating of these underground streams. The resulting craters of Lakes Eacham and Lake Barrine were formed around 10,000 years ago and reach a depth of 65 metres.
  • Cape Tribulation is a section of the Daintree National Park, representing Australia’s last range of lowland rainforest and access to the Great Barrier Reef very close to the coast.
  • Tours from Cairns provide access to an amazing 162 species of reptiles, 36 bats, 41 marsupials including two species of tree kangaroo.
  • Birding Tours provide the opportunity to spot half of Australia’s bird count including the Southern Cassowary

Tours around Cairns offered by FNQ Nature Tours are small group in nature, with primary encounters with reptiles, marsupials, amphibians including the endemic Boyd’s Forest Dragon, Green-eyed Tree Frog, countless bird species and Saltwater Crocodiles. 

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“Frequently people say ‘what is your favourite place in the world?’ and I start off saying home,’’ he said. “But if I’m not home, I usually say, on many occasions, actually North Queensland. “It’s got mountains, it’s got tropical rainforest, it’s got the Barrier Reef. It’s got wonderful creatures that occur nowhere else. It’s a great place.”
David Attenborough


Featured operator

  • Featured operator

    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 across the Daintree Rainforest National Park, Atherton Tablelands, Crater Lakes and Cape Tribulation regions, designed for nature minded travellers desiring a personal, educational and interactive guided experience. Boasting the oldest tropical rainforests in the world, the region’s ecosystems are of profound importance, providing living...

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