Playful platypus, dancing Brolgas, and cute tree kangaroos are just some of the unique Australian wildlife you can encounter in the region. Viewing and studying wildlife is made possible by a network of National Parks, bushwalks, wildlife spotting tours and the knowledgeable interest of so many local people. The Bat Hospital in Atherton is internationally known, and has a visitor centre where you can see and learn more about microbats and flying foxes. You can also see wildlife at excellent attractions such as Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. If you look very hard, you may spot a Lumholtz’s or Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo up high in the branches or platypus in freshwater lagoons.
Birdwatching on the Atherton Tablelands attracts global attention due to the diverse avifauna and variety of local habitats including riverine, wetland, woodland, rainforest, grassland, agricultural and parkland. Birders can easily find the best spots by downloading the free Bird Trails North Queensland app, which highlights all the top locations in the region with GPS precision and provides a wealth of birding information. Top birdwatching spots include the dry regions of Mt Molloy and Kaban, Nyleta Bird Hide (Hasties Swamp), Nardellos Lagoon, Bromfield Swamp, Abattoir Swamp, the National Parks of Mt Hypipamee, Crater Lakes, Davis Creek, Barron Falls, Mt Lewis, Mareeba Wetlands and the Wongabel State Forest. October to April may be the region’s hotter and wetter months, but it is also the time when the migrant species arrive from Papua New Guinea, including the beautiful Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Channel-billed Cuckoo and Common Koel. Many birds such as the White-eared Monarch and Noisy Pitta are also breeding at this time of year, and are easier to observe as they search for food. During the cooler, drier, winter months from May to September, Victoria’s Riflebirds are displaying and winter breeders such as White-eared Monarch can be seen. At this time, Brolgas and Sarus Cranes can also be found on the Atherton Tablelands feeding on the agricultural fields.
WORLD HERITAGE STATUS
The outstanding natural values of Australia’s Tropical Rainforests were recognised in 1988 when the Wet Tropics of Queensland was inscribed on the World Heritage List. You can learn more about World Heritage listed places from regional visitor centres, or look for the green tree frog logo as you explore the area.
Did you know?
There are more than 430 bird species in the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef and 327 of these can be seen right here on the Atherton Tablelands.