Nature's calendar of events

Photo credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Queensland’s parks feature an amazing line up of spectacular natural events and seasonal attractions.

Regardless of what time of the year you visit there is always something to see, and one visit will never be like the next! Here’s a few of nature’s seasonal highlights and where to see them.

Season

Month

Wildlife spectacle

Details

Location

Summer/
Autumn

January—March

Sea turtle hatching

Sea turtle hatchlings emerge from nests and clamber across the beach to the sea.

Central Coast

Summer/
Autumn

January—March

Waterbirds breeding

Waterbirds, such as brolgas, magpie geese and jacanas, and ducks, such as Pacific Black ducks and whistling ducks, nest and lay eggs during wet season when food in wetlands is abundant

Outback Queensland; Around Townsville; Around Cairns; Cape York Peninsula

Autumn

March—April

Easter bilby arrives

The bilby, a small endangered mammal, is promoted as the Aussie symbol for Easter to raise awareness of bilby conservation

Outback Queensland
Dry grasslands of western Queensland

Winter May—August Albert’s lyrebird breeding Male lyrebirds call, mimicking other rainforest sounds, to attract and impress potential mates.

Around Brisbane

Winter/
Spring
June—September Manta rays congregating Manta rays congregate around Lady Elliot Island for cleaning by cleaner wrasse and are curious about scuba divers Southern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, along reef edges and cays, such as Lady Eliot Island
Winter/
Spring
June–October Cassowaries nesting Female birds lay eggs and males incubate eggs for 50 days then raise the chicks for nine to 18 months.

Around Cairns

Winter/
Spring
June—mid-November Humpback whales migrating Humpback whales migrate north to give birth then return to southern Antarctic waters for summer. Around Brisbane; Sunshine Coast; Mackay/Proserpine; Central Coast; Around Townsville, North Queensland Coastal waters from Point Danger to offshore Cairns
Winter/
Spring
July—November Magpies breeding Magpies nest in tall trees and are protective of their chicks, often swooping on ‘invaders’ to their territories Parks throughout Queensland, in grassy lightly treed areas
Winter/
Spring
August—September Wildflower viewing Spectacular wildflower displays splash colour among massive granite outcrops in spring. West of Brisbane
Girraween National Park
Winter/
Spring
August—September Wildflower viewing Spectacular wildflower displays splash colour across the coastal heathlands.

Sunshine Fraser Coast

Winter/
Spring
August—November Black flying foxes breed Flying foxes give birth during the flowering season, when food is abundant, and carry their young on their backs. Coastal and near coastal parks throughout Queensland
Spring September Migratory koels (storm birds) calling Migratory koels, storm birds, give their distinctive calls when they arrive from the north, often heralding the spring storms. Around Brisbane; Sunshine Coast South-east Queensland coastal lowland parks
Spring/
Summer
September—February Beach stone-curlews nesting Beach stone-curlews nest on sandbanks, sandpits or islands in estuaries, coral ridges, among mangroves or in sand surrounded by grasses. Central Coast; Mackay/Proserpine; Around Townsville; Around Cairns; Cape York Peninsula Coastal and island parks
Spring/
Summer
September—March Migratory shorebird viewing Migratory shorebirds (waders) arrive from the northern hemisphere to spend the southern summer feeding in wetlands and at off-shore islands before departing around March. Around Brisbane; Outback Queensland;

Central Coast; Around Townsville

Spring October Koalas mating Koalas mate in open forests; young are born 35 days later and remain in the pouch for next 6 months. Around Brisbane;  Central Coast; Around Townsville
Spring/
Summer
October—March Manta ray viewing Manta rays can be seen regularly from North Stradbroke Island’s rocky headlands. Around Brisbane
Spring/
Summer/
Autumn
October—April Seabirds nesting Seabirds, such as terns, nest in dense breeding colonies, incubating their eggs in shallow scrapes in the sand for about one month; young seabirds live in crèches, reliant upon parent birds for up to four months.

Coastal parks and islands throughout Queensland

Spring/
Summer/
Autumn
October—April Wedge-tailed shearwaters nesting Thousands of wedge-tailed shearwaters arrive at North -West Island in October to nest; fledglings leave their burrows and adult shearwaters leave the islands around April.

Central Coast

Spring October—November Freshwater crocodile hatching Freshwater crocodile hatchlings emerge from nests near water’s edge in rivers and swamps.

Outback Queensland; Central Highlands; Central Coast; Around Townsville; Around Cairns;

  • Cape York Peninsula
  • Inland waters
Spring/
Summer
October—December Coral spawning Mass spawning of corals on the Great Barrier Reef occurs over a few nights, usually 4–6 days after the full moon. Central Coast; Around Townsville; Around Cairns
  • Offshore islands and reefs
Spring/
Summer
November—January Sea turtle nesting Female sea turtles come ashore on beaches and islands to lay eggs in sandy nests. Central Coast
Spring/
Summer
November—February Rainforest canopy flowering Flame trees, lacebarks, white ash, wonga and bower vines flower pink, red and white, adding colour to the rainforest canopy and carpeting the forest floor. Around Brisbane; Sunshine Coast
Spring/
Summer
November—February Bat cave tours Ranger-guided tours of Bat Cleft Cave to view thousands of little bent-wing bats during breeding season. Central Coast
Summer December—February Cicadas emerge Cicadas (insects) emerge from their ‘shells’ and sing to attract mates, providing the shrill background drone of the Aussie summer Parks throughout north, central and south-east Queensland
Summer December—February Richmond birdwing butterflies in flight Vulnerable butterflies may be spotted during flight period, colourful males hover around rainforest creeks and clearings

Around Brisbane;  Sunshine Coast:

Summer December—March Bunya nuts drop Bunya pines drop cones containing edible seeds known as bunya ‘nuts’. Heavy crops occur about every three years. Aboriginal people gathered for bunya festivals that coincided with this natural event. Around Brisbane:
Summer December—March Glow worms A colony of thousands of glow-worms found in the cave's roof at Natural Bridge can only be seen after sunset. The best bioluminescence displays are usually during the warmer, wetter months of the year. Around Brisbane
Summer/
Autumn
December—April Crocodile nesting Estuarine crocodiles lay their eggs and guard their nests on creek/river banks for 90 days until hatchlings emerge Central Coast; Mackay/Proserpine;

Around Townsville; Around Cairns;

  • Cape York Peninsula

Coastal and inland parks from Gladstone to Cape York, and offshore islands