Five great north Queensland wildlife experiences that kids will love.

2 years
2013-06-11 to 2013-06-14


At the Kuranda Koala GardensMy kids LOVE wildlife encounters.  As a result whenever we travel I try and incorporate at lease one local wildlife experience into our itinerary.  Families visiting tropical North Queensland are spoilt for choice when it comes to wildlife experiences.  Here is a list of five wildlife experiences our own family has enjoyed in the beautiful tropical north.

Visit the Great Barrier Reef

Most people don’t know that the Great Barrier Reef is accessible even for families with very young children. A number of boats to the outer reef moor at pontoons. On the pontoons are aquatic touch tanks, children’s pools (that fish swim into) and undersea reef viewing rooms. Although not old enough to snorkel yet my own kids love riding in a glass bottom boat as a means to exploring the reef.


Beautiful birds

The tropics are home to the most exquisite bird life and immersion birdlife encounters give families a chance to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures.  Our family loves the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat’s Breakfast with the Bids, and Kuranda Birdworld.

Spot a croc.

Visitors to the region should head up to the village of Daintree where boats leave throughout the day.   Short tours on the Daintree River provide families the opportunity to see crocodiles in their natural environment.  Alternatively most of the wildlife parks host at least one crocodile resident and have scheduled feeding times for visitors to observe.

Birdworld KurandaFeed a kangaroo and cuddle a koala.

There is one wildlife experience that my own children never tire of and that is feeding kangaroos and wallabies.  The Cairns Tropical Zoo, Daintree Zoo, Kuranda Koala Gardens and Rainforestation Nature Park all facilitate this experience.   Visiting earlier in the day means the kangaroos are more likely to be hungry and to interact with visitors.  At an extra cost these parks also allow guests to cuddle a koala although there is a height limit that precludes very young kids holding a koala themself.


Any of tropical north Queensland’s rainforest walks are likely to bring you into contact with the region’s gorgeous butterflies – my favourite, the Blue Ulyses is frequently spotted.   A visit to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in the town of Kuranda does more than that though, educating visitors about the butterfly’s life cycle and immersing visitors among thousands of butterflies.


About the author:  Danielle Esler has travelled to four continents and around much of Australia with her two young sons.  She lives in beautiful Cairns and writes about traveling with kids in North Queensland and elsewhere at

Viewing the Great Barrier Reef
Investigating the creatures of the Great Barrier reef in a touch tank.
Butterflies at the Australian butterfly sanctuary Kuranda
A baby crocodile on the shores of the Daintree River
Birdworld Kuranda
Birdworld Kuranda
Feeling a wallaby at  Daintree WIld Zoo
At the Kuranda Koala Gardens
At the Cairns Tropical Zoo
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