Take a Walk on the Wildlife Side
Underwater havens abundant in sea life, native creatures and cute critters... getting to know Queensland's wildlife is an adventure all year round
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most impressive and diverse underwater expanses in the world – so it’s no-brainer to snorkel and scuba dive the reef when in Queensland.
With over 1800 species of fish (including the clownfish; better known as Disney's Nemo) and 350 types of coral, you could spend weeks, months or even years underwater and not see it all.
Day trips from one of many of Queensland’s coastal centres, including Cairns, Port Douglas, Townsville, Airlie Beach and Bundaberg, are a popular option and for serious underwater enthusiasts there are longer live-aboard dive trips available for underwater enthusiasts. Or head out on a glass-bottom boat to view the depths from above.
Australia’s heaviest flightless birds (cassowaries can grow to the same height as humans) are often spotted around the luscious rainforests of North Queensland.
There’s something magnificent about witnessing a majestic humpback whale breach and slap its unusually long fins, and in Hervey Bay on the Fraser Coast (one of the only places in the world where whales come to rest and play) sightings are surefire from July to November.
There are a number of whale-watching tours available. Trips usually include expert commentary as well as specially designated sighting areas, spacious viewing decks and underwater viewing rooms, offering the ultimate intimate and unforgettable encounter.
Boyd Forest Dragons
With jagged scales on a crest behind their head, the distinctive Boyd Forest Dragon can only be spotted in the rainforests of North Eastern Queensland, predominantly around Lake Eacham, Lake Barrine, Mossman Gorge and the Malanda Falls Environmental Park.
Sightings are special because the lizards spend most of their time perched in trees, rarely moving. Because they are of a similar colouring to tree bark, they easily blend into the natural surrounds and are tricky to spot.
The best way to sight this rare creature is to walk slowly and scan tree trunks at about head height or lower, or by guided tour such as those led by a Mossman Gorge Indigenous guide.
In Queensland there are many places to get close and personal, minus the danger, of seeing a full-grown saltwater crocodile. Take a Daintree River Cruise or a Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures Cruise in Tropical North Queensland.
This cute, hoppy Australian marsupial is legendary across the world, but the best area to spot these unique creatures is at Cape Hillsborough National Park, located about 20 kilometres north of Mackay.
Wake up before sunrise and plant yourself on the beach next to the Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park to witness the playful wallabies feed on the seedpods that have washed up onto the beach overnight.
The national park is also home to a colony of about 200 bats, providing an animal encounter for night owls.
The platypus can be tricky to spot. The shy critter is quiet and typically spotted during sunrise and sunset.
Broken Riven in Mackay Eungella National Park (80 kilometres north west of Mackay)is recognised as one of the best regions to see the platypus and is currently undergoing a $600,000 Platypus Walk project, which will include new walkways and viewing areas.
These crafty creatures can also be seen at Paluma Range National Park, located between Ingham and Townsville, in North Queensland, and Carnarvon Gorge, west of Rockhampton.
Words by Tatyana Leonov. Taken from Travel ideas Queensland.