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Where to See Wildlife in Queensland

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by S Lynn (subscribe)
A freelance writer and bargain hunter with wanderlust, recently moved to Perth from Brisbane.
Published November 21st 2013
Wildlife Lovers Delight
If you are a wildlife lover and delight in watching wild animals in their natural habitat, Queensland is a fabulous place for wildlife sightings ranging from turtles to birds to whales and koalas. Wild animals are fascinating creatures and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection are well aware of the benefits of ensuring their sustainability and their benefits to our ecological system. Wildlife watching can also be a great de-stressing hobby, a tranquil past-time that requires patience. See below for some great places for wildlife watching in Queensland.

1) Turtle watching - Mon Repos Conservation Park

turtle
Pic from Robert Ashdown, NPRSR


If you are travelling north from November to March, you can watch loggerhead turtles nesting and hatching on the beach at night 14km from Bundaberg. A four and a half hour drive from Brisbane, turtle watching can only be done in a group as part of a tour due to the sensitivities of turtles to light and disturbances. As these are wild marine animals, there is no guarantee if you will get a spotting but it is a once in a lifetime experience so the risk is worth taking. Most of these turtles are being tracked by the loggerhead turtle research program which has been running for more than 40 years to provide insights into the turtles and their habitats. Ranger guided tours run 7 days a week excluding 24th, 25th and 31st December. Nightly fees apply during turtle season from $10.90 for an adult ticket to $5.70 for children between 5-14 years of age.

2) Koala watching Daisy Hill Koala Centre

koala
Pic from Daisy Hill Koala Conservation Centre


Spot Faith (a suspected car-strike victim) as she relaxes at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre. As a result of the incident, her ovaries had to be removed. Koalas that are sterile cannot be returned to the wild so Faith with her pink pigmentation on the heels of her hind paws is now an education display koala. Admission is free at the 435 hectares of open eucalypt forest, truly a koala's paradise. From two koala viewing boardwalks, have a look at these beautiful creates and learn learn about sick and injured koalas, their biology and life cycle. To get there, if travelling south from Brisbane on the Pacific Motorway: turn off at exit 24, turn left into Daisy Hill Road, and continue to the Daisy Hill Conservation Park.

3) Whale watching Burleigh Head National Park

Burleigh Head National Park is a good vantage point for watching migrating whales. Other marine parks where you can view the whales from include Moreton Bay Marine Park, Great Sandy National Park at Hervey Bay and Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park between Townsville and Cairns. There are several whale watching tours you can join as well if you are inclined in a close-up view where you can be amazed by the size and grace of these majestic creatures. The best time for whale watching is between late Autumn and early Spring when the conditions are calm, most likely in the morning.

4) Bat watching Mount Etna Caves National Park

bats
Pic from John Augusteyn, NPRSR


Home to the Darumbal Aboriginal People and approximately 26km north of Rockhampton, Mount Etna Caves National Park is the roosting site for more than 80 per cent of Australia's breeding population of bent-wing bats. Starting at dusk between December and February, guided tours are organised to Bat Cleft, one of only seven recorded little bent-winged bat maternity sites in Australia. Feel the rush of little bat wings as they flutter past to feed. Costs are around $9.70 for adults and $4.80 for children. The tour lasts for 3 hours and includes a 2.4km walk so be prepared for some exercise. The itinerary for 2013 has not yet been released, but keep an eye out on the Mount Etna Caves website or contact the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing for more information.
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Why? Wildlife watching lovers
Where: Brisbane and Queensland
Cost: Free-$15
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