5-day Wildlife Photography Safari – Far North Queensland

AT A GLANCE

Dates21 – 25 June 2022
19 – 23 July 2022


(If the dates listed are not suitable, please contact our team travel@australiangeographic.com.au or call 0413 560 210 to enquire about alternative dates if you prefer to travel with your own private party)
Activity LevelModerate – beginner to intermediate photographers
Duration5 days, 4 nights
Prices$3225 per person twin share
$775 single supplement
Group SizeMinimum 4, Maximum 6 guests
Featuring RegionsDaintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Julatten,
Shared Earth Reserve,  Atherton Tablelands,
Crater Lakes National Park

WHAT TO EXPECT

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.

Join Cairns local wildlife photographer, James Boettcher on a 5-day wildlife safari of a lifetime in Far North Queensland. James has been guiding wildlife tours for 16 years, his knowledge of the region will guarantee you the best opportunities to observe and photograph North Queensland’s unique and iconic wild animals.

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.

This experience is best suited for beginner to intermediate photographers hoping to hone their skills, learn more about their gear and their target subjects. Your guide will provide constant photography tuition, so you are ultimately prepared for when the moment arrives.

Wildlife Photography highlights may include:

  • 80+ bird species
  • Southern cassowary
  • Golden bowerbird
  • Northern quoll
  • Australian platypus
  • Lumholtz tree kangaroo
  • White-lipped tree frog
  • Saltwater crocodile
  • Boyd’s forest dragon
  • Amethystine python
  • Green-ringtail possum
  • Sugar glider

ITINERARY

Day 1 – Cairns to Daintree (pick ups commence from Cairns at 6.30am)

Picks ups will commence from your individual Cairns hotel from 6.30am. Please advise us which hotel you are staying at so we can arrange your pick up. Alternatively, why not let our friendly team help to recommend a hotel for you to stay in Cairns.

The Daintree is an area of ancient tropical rainforest spanning 120,000 hectares, making it the largest portion of tropical rainforest in Australia

We will visit several quiet nature trails offer unique and remarkable opportunities to experience the natural scenery and endemic wildlife within the National Park. Private property access increases our chances of encountering a wild southern cassowary, one of our major target species for the day.

Accommodation: Daintree Heritage Lodge Cape Tribulation

Lunch and dinner provided.

Day 2 – Cape Tribulation

If you are a morning person, we recommend heading down to Cape Tribulation beach to watch the sunrise. The day continues with guided photography nature walks through Jindalba, Maardja and Dubuji boardwalks.

After lunch is the hottest part of the day, so while the wildlife is less active, take advantage of a swim in one of the many freshwater rainforest creeks that epitomise the tropical rainforest.

Daintree and Cape Tribulation wildlife sightings may include the southern cassowary, eastern osprey, Boyd’s forest dragon, green tree-snake, saltwater crocodile, wompoo fruit dove, shining flycatcher, ulysses butterfly, white-lipped tree frog, Bennett’s tree kangaroo, striped possum, azure kingfisher, little kingfisher and Australian scrub python.

As the sun goes down, the day is not over! After we have enjoyed an outstanding evening meal, it is time to venture into the nocturnal world. Highlights for the evening walk may include the Papuan frogmouth, leaf-tailed gecko and lesser-sooty owl.

Accommodation: Daintree Heritage Lodge Cape Tribulation

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

Day 3 – Cape Tribulation to Atherton Tablelands

Our day begins before the sun rises on a private boat cruise on the beautiful Daintree river in the dawn light. Observing wildlife on a quiet, clean, solar electric boat with zero impact on the environment is a huge advantage for wildlife photographers. We have a 99 per cent success rate for spotting crocodiles, excellent bird watching opportunities and other wildlife possibilities such as snakes, frogs and fish and bats.

Daintree river wildlife sightings may include the great-billed heron, little kingfisher, azure kingfisher, black bittern, shining flycatcher, Radja shellduck, black-necked stork, white-bellied sea-eagle, saltwater crocodile, spectacled flying-fox, green tree snake, water dragon and butterflies.

After the cruise and morning tea we leave the coast and head towards the Port Douglas Hinterland through the township of Julatten. On this journey you will observe the transition in our surroundings from tropical rainforest to open savannah. Our destination for the afternoon is the Forever Wild Shared Earth Reserve.

On this trip gain exclusive access to the reserve. 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 reserve encompasses 5000 acres of lagoons, trails, bird hides, permanent lakes, swamps, billabongs, and creeks including an incredible mosaic of old-growth savanna woodland. The site 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, and there is a healthy population of the endangered northern quoll.

Participate in research with our guides by conducting a bird count of the wetlands. This data is invaluable for global bird exposure, recognition and understanding. In summer, we often come across frilled-neck lizards on our walks there.

Shared Earth Reserve sightings may include quails, magpie geese, black swans, ducks, grebes, darters, cormorants, pelicans, swamphens, moorhens, coots, herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills, storks (Jabiru), brolga, Sarus crane, bustards, sandpipers, jacanas which thrive on the water lilies, lapwings, plovers, dotterels, terns. Both the laughing and blue-winged kookaburra are regularly seen. Bee-eaters, dollarbirds, tree creepers and pardalotes are well represented as well as numerous honeyeaters, robins, thrushes, monarchs, fly catchers and wagtails are observed throughout the Wetlands.

Once we have filled our SD cards, we have a 90-minute drive into the heart of the Atherton Tablelands where we will be based for the next two nights.

Accommodation: Chambers Wildlife Lodge

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

Day 4 – Atherton Tablelands

In the higher altitudes of the Tablelands vine forest, we are sharing our oxygen with extraordinary marsupials and monotremes. Our guides showcase their local knowledge and facilitate memorable moments with the Lumholtz tree kangaroo and the mainland platypus. These engendered animals will be the focus of the day.

No Western people had seen a tree-kangaroo until 113 years after Captain Cook landed in Australia. They had remained undiscovered for so long due to their remote, tree-canopy habitat in the rainforest. Furthermore, they are solitary animals and incredibly difficult hard to spot. In fact, some considered them mythical creatures, due to their elusiveness.

The infamous town of Yungaburra has been the delight of many visiting wildlife photographers. With several mountain streams populated with the Australian platypus, the odds are in our favour for that perfect shot of a platypus emerging to breathe.

Accommodation: Chambers Wildlife Lodge

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

Day 5 – Atherton Tablelands to Cairns

The rainforests of the Tablelands provide habitat for a diverse array of other marsupials, reptiles, invertebrates and over 320 species of bird. Iconic bird species include the Victoria’s riflebird, golden bowerbird, tooth-billed bowerbird, Atherton scrubwren, bridled honeyeater, pied monarch, bush stone-curlew, black-faced monarch, red-backed fairy-wren and forest kingfisher.

On our final day we dedicate time to find any wildlife that have evaded our lenses! We often visit Hasties swamp, the curtin fig tree, Malanda and Lake Barrine.

Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine are two popular geological attractions, both 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. A visit to Lake Barrine provides us with a high likelihood of seeing a red-legged pademelon, musky rat kangaroo, snapping turtle, giant eel, eastern water dragon and saw-shell turtle.

This afternoon we make our way back to Cairns where you will depart. Why not stay longer in the tropics and have some time to explore, ask our friendly team for suggestions.

Breakfast and lunch provided.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 5 days exclusive touring
  • 4 night’s accommodation as per itinerary
  • Meals included: 4 x breakfasts, 5 x lunches, 4 x dinners 
  • Modern, comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle
  • Expert local guide and photographer throughout days 1–5
  • Pre-dawn cruise on day 3
  • Access to Forever Wild Shared Earth Reserve
  • Goods and Services Tax.

COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Domestic or international airfares
  • Pre-registration, late check out or day use at hotels other than specified above
  • Guide services other than specified
  • Meals/beverages other than specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Optional tours/services.

COVID-19

  • Accommodation and meals: strict hygiene conditions apply to the way accommodation is prepared for your stay and in the serving of meals.
  • Vehicles, hygiene and social distancing: all activities will involve careful adherence to cleanliness. Hand sanitiser will be available in many locations and in all land-based vehicles. Social distancing will always be an issue on board vehicles; it would be sensible for you to bring your own face masks and hand sanitiser. 
  • The QLD government approved COVID-19 Safety Plan is in place and all suppliers are COVID Clean accredited.

CONTACT US

Want to know more or register your interest?

Send us an email to travel@australiangeographic.com or call 0413 560 210.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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