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Australia: Herps, Birds and Wildlife of the Northeast

Green Tree Python

Green Tree Python

Often referred to as “The Land Down Under”, Australia offers a plethora of herps… snakes, lizards and more, throughout the multitude of habitats we’ll explore. In Queensland there are rainforests, woodlands, wetlands, savanna, desert and coast. Thanks to this diversity, there is also a huge diversity of wildlife.

So many herps… snakes like Australia’s largest, the Scrub Python and our target, the Green Tree Python. Lizards like the unusual Chameleon Gecko and birds like the the tiny, colorful Lovely Fairy Wren to the massive Cassowary standing nearly 6 feet and looking more like a dinosaur. We’ll find the Platypus, a mammal that lays eggs and so many more strange and incredible creatures!

Focus and Highlights
Herps, birds, wildlife

  • Tour Cost
  • Number of Days (Length of Tour)

    15 days / 14 nights


    2019 Cost

    $8250 per person based upon double occupancy from Cairns, AUSTRALIA based on 4-5 participants.


    NOTE: Trip can run with only 2-3 participants, however, cost per person will be $9500.


    Single Supplement

    If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $600.00 will be assessed. Single rooms are extremely limited! At some lodges, single rooms may share facilities.


    What is Included / Not Included in the Cost

    Included: in the cost are all accommodations, meals, local transportation (internal flights, boats, vans), entrance fees and permits from Cairns, Australia. NOT included: International flights, passport fees, Visa fees, airport taxes, alcoholic beverages, laundry services, phone calls, additional taxes or anything of a purely personal nature.



    Group Size

    The group is limited to a maximum of 5 participants. The minimum number of participants to make this trip run is 2 (at the higher cost per person listed above).



    A deposit of $1000 is required to join this trip.


    How to Book

    In order to hold your space, you must make your deposit (on-line is best, by phone is an option), then complete the Wildside Nature Client Information Form online.


    Final Payment

    The balance due or full payment, by check (made payable to Wildside Nature Tours), is due 120 days prior to the departure date.


    Mail Final Payment To

    Make checks payable to Wildside Nature Tours

    Mail to:


    Wildside Nature Tours

    241 Emerald Drive

    Yardley, PA 19067

  • Itinerary
  • Detailed Itinerary


    Day 1 Arrival / BIG4 Cairns Crystal Cascades

    Arrival in Cairns and transfer (1-hour) to our accommodations. Lunchtime will be spent getting to know one another, discussing the itinerary and gauging everyone’s personal interests. Our first night will be spent in search of Australia’s largest snake, the Scrub Python (Simalia kinghorni). This particular area is also great for Striped Possums!


    Day 2 - 3 Drive to Cedar Park Rainforest Resort

    After a 2-hour drive, our next two nights will be spent in the town of Mareeba. Here guests will have the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s cutest residents, the Mareeba Rock Wallaby’s. Our two nights in this area will be spent in search of some of Australia’s most unique gecko species, including the Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko (Saltuarius cornutus) and the monotypic Chameleon Gecko (Carphodactylus laevis). This particular area is also home to a plethora of native amphibian and mammal species including the Endangered Northern Quoll and the seldom seen Long-tailed Pygmy Possum.


    Day 4 Drive to Kingfisher Park Birders Lodge

    Today's 2-hour drive will take up to the world famous ‘Kingfisher Park Birders Lodge’. This area is not only great for spotting rare and unique bird species, but it also happens to be located at the base of Mount Lewis.

    The unique high-altitude rainforests of Mount Lewis play host to an incredible amount of cryptic Amphibian and Reptile species in which we will spend our fourth night in search of, this area is also home to some incredibly rare mammal and bird species including the Golden Bowerbird, Lesser Sooty Owl, Blue-faced Parrot Finch and the Daintree River Ring-tailed Possum.


    Day 5 Kingfisher Park Birders Lodge

    Another early drive of 3.5 hours to head up into the Mount Lewis mist, this time in search of one of Australia’s most infamous elapids, the Red-bellied Black Snake. Our fifth night will be spent at the spectacular Mossman Gorge in search of the beautiful Jungle Python (Morelia spilota cheynei). In this location we will also be in with a chance of seeing one of Australia’s most unique species, the Platapus!


    Day 6 Kingfisher Park Birders Lodge

    An early rise for the 2-hour drive to the banks of the Daintree River where we will board a boat and cruise the river in search of Saltwater Crocodiles and basking snakes. Our river guide will also point out some rare and unique bird species including the highly sought after Little Kingfisher and Great-billed Heron.


    Day 7 Drive to Milkwood Lodge Cooktown

    We'll start our expedition into the Cape York Peninsula with a 3.5 hour drive. The first stop on our journey will be the town of Cooktown. This town is draped in history and luckily for us is also home to a collection of unique endemic species. Our seventh night will see us arrive at the base of the famous Black Mountain.

    This mountain is made up by a collection of thousands of individual black boulders (some of which are as large as a house), which play host to 3 species of reptile found nowhere else in the world, the Black Mountain Skink (Liburnascincus scirtetis), Black Mountain Gecko (Nactus galgajuga) and the Black Mountain Boulder Frog (Cophixalus saxatilis). We are likely to turn up all three on the night. We will also keep our eyes peeled for the endemic Godman’s Rock Wallaby who also resides on the mountain!


    Day 8 Drive to Green Hoose

    Today will be a longer (8.5-hour) drive to make the journey to our final region, the endemic filled Iron Range National Park. This park is quite possibly one of the best herp regions in the country, being home to some of Australia’s most highly sought-after reptile species, including our target for the trip, the spectacular Green Python (Morelia viridis). The drive from Cooktown to Iron Range will be a great opportunity for our guests to get up close to some of Australia’s most famous reptile species, including the Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and the Frill-necked Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii).


    Day 9 – 13 Green Hoose

    Our next five days will see us scouring the Iron Range National Park in search of its hidden gems. The list of species we are likely to see during this time is too long to list so I will just name a few. Green Python, Scrub Python, Black-headed Python, Water Python, Coastal Taipan, Northern Tree Snake, Common Tree Snake, Brown Tree Snake, Brown-headed Snake, Black-striped Snake, Northern Death Adder, Saltwater Crocodile, Yellow-spotted Monitor, Canopy Monitor, Mangrove Monitor, Rusty Monitor, Spotted-tree Monitor, Giant Tree Gecko, Hoskin’s Ring-tailed Gecko, Cassowary, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Magnificent Riflebird, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Spotted Cuscus, Common Cuscus, Giant White-tailed Rat, Striped Possum…. The list goes on and on.


    Day 14 Kingfisher Park Birders Lodge

    Today will see us rise with the sun and make our 8-hour journey south towards Cairns, this day will include a lot of driving though we will be sure to break up the trip with plenty of stops to look for reptiles. If we are lucky we may even get the chance to see for one of the world’s rarest parrot species, the critically endangered Golden-shouldered Parrot!


    Day 15 Return Home

    Today will see us saying our goodbyes before dropping our guests to the Cairns International Airport (or if they are extending their stay they can choose to be dropped at their respective hotels).

  • Accommodations
  • Meals
    Most meals will be at or near our lodges. Some breakfasts and lunches will be picnic meals while in the field.


    Our lodges have been chosen for their location in or near prime birding locations and vary from hotel rooms to bungalows. All are clean, comfortable, have ensuite facilities and are in great locations...


    BIG4 Cairns Crystal Cascades


    Cedar Park Rainforest Resort


    Kingfisher Park Birder's Lodge


    Milkwood Lodge


    Green Hoose

  • Additional Info

    Passport and Visa Requirements
    A valid passport with at least 6 months time before expiry is required to enter Austrailia. Each person will also be required to apply for a FREE Australian Visa, which can be done on-line at:
    This is a free service and MUST be completed before your arrival in Australia.


    Travel Insurance
    As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment as well as protect you during the trip. We will be in remote areas where medical attention may require evactuation An expensive prospect if not insured. Please see our section on the website about Travel Insurance


    Cancellation & Refund Policies
    We understand how disappointing it is for travelers in the event they are forced to cancel their adventure, especially one that they have been looking forward to for a long time. But we too plan for these adventures for quite a long period prior to departure and must continuously send non-refundable payments to hotels and suppliers of transportation. Therefore we must strictly adhere to our Cancellation & Refund Policy for all travelers.


    All cancellations must be made in writing. All cancellations processed more than 120 days prior to departure will require a $100 cancellation fee. Cancellations made 120 days or less prior to departure date require a loss of 100% of the entire program fee including all extensions.


    We highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance!


    Point of Departure (Getting There and Back)
    The tour begins and ends from Cairns, Australia.
    Wildside will help with schedule and arrangements for flights.


    Physical Requirements
    Walking will be easy over mostly dirt roads and along forest paths. Note that on some trails there may be some muddy or rocky ruts, ditches and creeks as well as hot, arrid temperatures in some areas.


    Temperatures and weather conditions can vary widely during the trip. Expect the mornings in the mountains to be chilly, and warm to hot in the lowlands. Boat trips on the lowland river can be cold if it is windy and raining, otherwise hot. The boat is covered! Overnight lows in the 50’s (F) and daytime highs in the 80’s (F) are average in the mountains. Hot and humid days are not expected in the lowlands! The possibility of rain is to be expected, and everyone should come prepared with waterproof clothing and shoes.


    Time Zone / Sunrise / Sunset
    (Australian) Eastern Standard Time (UTC+10) Sunrise: 6:35am Sunset: 6:45pm


    Biting Insects
    No-see-ums and mosquitos are possible in the lowlands. Insect repellents will help to keep these away, along with long-sleeve shirts, and trousers tucked into your socks.


    Additional Details about the Trip
    Please pack as lightly as possible as we have two internal flights.
    Wet weather gear and quick-dry clothing is highly recommended.
    Don’t forget a day pack to use on hikes that can include carrying bug spray, a field guide, binoculars, hat, umbrella and lots of water.
    By all means bring a spotting scope, though you will not need it for many of the birds!
    Expect breakfast to be at no later than 6am (some on the road) and we will aim to get to each lodge by 6pm to give us time to get ready for the checklist and dinner.


    Morecombe's Field Guide to Australian Birds (also available as an excellent iPhone app with all the calls)
    Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia (3rd ed) by Wilson and Swan
    Frogs the revised edition by Tyler and Knight due out in September
    A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia by Menkhorst and Knight


    Shopping and purchasing opportunities will be limited on this trip.


    Final Information
    Final Information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, meeting locations, etc., as well as checklists and luggage tags, will sent at least 120 days prior to the trip departure.


    The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, group viewing permits, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

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