Watching birds and other wildlife

Photo credit: Lightcapturer © Queensland Government

Eastern yellow robin. Photo courtesy of John Augusteyn.

Eastern yellow robin. Photo courtesy of John Augusteyn.

Queensland has more than 600 species of birds—about 80 per cent of all bird species found in Australia.

Birdwatching is easy in Queensland's parks and forests, as unlike many other native animals, birds are often out and about during the day. Colourful birds are often easy to spot and you cannot help but notice noisy ones. Most young birds stay with their parents until they are fully grown, so there is much activity around birds' nests.

For better birdwatching in parks and forests:

  • Look for birds early in the morning and late in the afternoon when they are usually most active.
  • Ask a ranger about the best places for birdwatching.
  • Be quiet and you'll see more birds.
  • Domestic animals are not allowed in national parks, so leave your pets at home and you'll see more birds.
  • Never feed native birds—let them find their own food.
  • Join a ranger-led birdwalk or go birdwatching with an expert or club.

If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife you might like to visit a wildlife park, go whale watching or turtle watching.

    Where you can watch wildlife

    Nearly all parks and forests are good locations for watching birds and other wildlife. Places to observe large numbers of seabirds in the wild include Michaelmas and Upolo Cays and Capricornia Cays national parks—hundreds of thousands of seabirds use these islands seasonally for nesting and roosting. Townsville Town Common Conservation Park is also known for its great birdwatching opportunities. The park has six observation points, including bird hides.

    You can see and learn about koalas at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre in Daisy Hill Conservation Park. Visitors often see koalas in Noosa National Park and on Magnetic Island National Park.

    David Fleay Wildlife Park, on the Gold Coast, and the South East Queensland Wildlife Centre in D'Aguilar National Park, is home to many native animals. Here, animals are displayed in surroundings similar to their natural habitats. Enjoy local native animals as well as rare and threatened species seldom seen in the wild.

    Burleigh Head National Park is one of the best mainland vantage points for whale watching. Whales migrate along the coast of Queensland each year, passing through each of the marine parks in turn.

    Mon Repos Conservation Park is one of the best places to watch turtles lay eggs and hatchlings emerge and make their way to the sea.

    You can see little bent-wing bats emerge on ranger-guided tours (December to February) at Bat Cleft, Mount Etna Caves National Park.

    Permits and fees

    If you want to take photographs or film wildlife in parks and forests for commercial purposes, you must first obtain a permit.

    You do not require a permit to take photographs for personal use only.

    Minimise your impact

    • Use a light of 30 watts or less, and a red or orange filter (cellophane will do) when spotlighting.
    • Keep noise to a minimum. What seems quiet to you can disturb other visitors and wildlife.