Birding, History and Culture

Cooktown, Southern Lakefield, Laura (Quinkan Galleries), Kingfisher Lodge, Mt Lewis, Cairns. (Fly/drive)

Great Northern Tours have designed this exciting, birding tour, to take in not only a splendid mixture of rainforest and dry country birding, but also allow visitors to enjoy some of the fascinating history and culture of Southern Cape York. The itinerary structure will have you spellbound from start to finish, a real taste of the Far North's colourfull pioneering past, culture and not to mention some incredibly diverse birding opportunities. 

Day one: 

Your tour starts with a wonderful flight from Cairns to Cooktown, over the magnificent Daintree rainforest/reef coastline. Your local guide, David Mead, will pick you up from the Cooktown airstrip and spend the day birding some area hotspots, followed  by an informative  town tour and of course a drive up the famous 'Grassy Hill' lookout, who on this very point, way back in June 1770, Captain James Cook climbed to enable him to scan seawards and establish a new route out of the treacherous inner reefs. The early evening will see us aboard a sunset cruise on the Endeavour River and dinner at a local eatery.

Day two:

We leave Cooktown and head north through Endeavour Valley, Battlecamp Range and into the Southern end of Lakefield National Park, here we visit some fantastic billabongs and waterways, to enjoy some wonderful birding before stopping at the historical 'Old Laura Homestead'. The afternoon will see you arrive in the indigenous community of Laura for our overnight stay (motel accommodation).                                

Day Three:

Today after an early morning birding walk, we visit the "Quinkan Cultural Centre" and link with an indigenous guide for a drive up into the rocky escarpment country to view the outstanding "Quinkan Galleries" some of the best examples of Aboriginal rock art in the Australia. The afternoon will find us visiting some more birding sites as we head south through open savannah country, towards our rainforest base of Kingfisher Lodge, a birdwatcher's garden of Eden.

Day Four:

A very exciting, birding day out, with a highlight being a walk at the top of the iconic 'Mt Lewis' chasing some of the endemics of the Wet Tropics. Relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the rainforest, an incredible contrast to the previous few days spent in the savannah and escarpment country of Southern Cape York.

Day Five:

After an early morning walk around the bird rich grounds of the lodge, we begin our decent down the range to the beautiful northern beaches area of Cairns. Taking in a few more wonderful coastal birding sites, helping to add to an already impressive species list. Mid afternoon will find you being dropped off at either your previously booked accommodation point, or the Cairns airport if desired.

Some of the very special birds which may be sighted on this tour include: White-streaked, Yellow, Macleay's, Bridled and Banded Honeyeaters, Black-necked Stork, White-browed Robin, Lovely Fairy-wren, Northern Fantail, Black-throat Finch, Crimson Finch, Silver-crowned Friarbird, Black-backed Butcherbird, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Golden, Tooth-billed and Great Bowerbirds, Bowers Shrike-thrush, Chowchilla, Pied Monarch, Atherton Scrubwren, Grey-capped Robin, Victoria's Riflebird and many more rainforest skulkers, dry country raptors and billabong waterbirds.

Tour Summary

Duration: 5 Days
Accommodation: Fully accommodated.
Locations Visited: Cooktown, Endeavour Valley, Southern Lakefield, Laura and 'Quinkan Galleries', Kingfisher Park, Julatten area and Mt Lewis, Northern beaches of Cairns.
Departing From: Cairns.
Departure Dates:

From 1st June 2018 until 1st December 2018.
Scheduled tour dates departing Cairns- (Hinterland Aviation)

  # 2018 scheduled departure 19th of June.

# Small group , private charter requests welcome.

Price:  $2150 AUD. per person- twin share (single supp $250).
  • Five days of guided touring/birdwatching
  • Private Aboriginal rock art tour with indigenous local guide
  • Very comfortable, luxury 4wd (4 person max min 2)
  • Cairns to Cooktown flight and pick up.
  • Endeavour River sunset cruise
  • Four nights accommodation
  • All meals (starting with lunch day one and ending with lunch on day 5)
  • Spare binoculars
  • Bird lists
  • National park permits


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What People Say

“On a recent trip to the drier parts of the Cape York savannah country, we were treated to David Mead's knowledge of this fascinating part of Australia. David has an amazing ability to spot many beautiful (and rare) birds, a skill gathered through his extensive knowledge of our feathered friends. He's a careful planner, excellent driver (with a comfortable vehicle) and always ready to assist.”

Rosemary & Peter Stanton
Barrengarry, NSW

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