Birdwatching Reef to Rainforest

Birdwatching Reef to Rainforest

Earn Eco-Rewards
Package Theme
Earn Eco-Rewards

Exclusive access and diverse habitats

Birdwatching Reef to Rainforest is an exciting combination of tropical wetlands birding and the outer reefs and islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

Spend a private day with an expert birding guide offering full access to an exclusive private wetland reserve and home to over 220 recorded bird species.

Day two is exploring Michaelmas Cay on the Great Barrier Reef where an amazing 30,000 seabirds have been recorded on the cay at one time. Overall 38 species of birds have been recorded – 35 seabirds and 3 woodland species.

There is ample time to also snorkel around Michaelmas Cay before enjoying the afternoon snorkelling and diving at Hastings Reef where a glass bottom boat tour is also included.

This 2 day package supports two family owned and operated businesses.

Trip code:



Snorkelling, Bird Watching

Start / Finish:

Cairns / Palm Cove


2 lunch

Age Range:

Young birders welcome




  • Exclusive access to the Shared Earth Reserve, encompassing 5000 acres of lagoons, trails and bird hides
  • An abundance of bird watching opportunities
  • Over 250 recorded species
  • Highly experienced and passionate naturalist guide
  • Witness up to 30,000 birds at Michaelmas Cay
  • Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef


(slide show)


Expert bird & photography guide (day 1)
4x4 Transport (day 1)
Binocular use (day 1)
2x snorkel tours
Glass bottom boat tour
Island circumnavigation (birding only)
Reef Interpretation/ecology talk
High-quality snorkel equipment
Wet suit or lycra suit
2x Lunch
Morning/Afternoon Tea (day 2)
All park fees
Private birding guide on day 2

Package Itinerary

The early morning is invaluable for birdwatchers. Our morning will focus on the Tropical Wetlands and Shared Earth Reserve which is home to over 220 recorded bird species and an exclusive site for us to explore.

After a short 90 minute drive we will arrive at Clancy’s lagoon. This open expanse of water has comfortable walking tracks surrounding the perimeter, providing guests with the opportunity to observe the resident birdlife.

After a short break for morning tea we 4WD to our second location, Pandanus Lagoon. Here we find a large diversity of waders and waterbirds including a massive population of Black Swan. It is also home to kangaroos, echidnas, dingos, snakes and scores of other reptiles.  You can explore over 12km of walking trails which criss-cross the wetlands.

A break from the binoculars while we enjoy a picnic style lunch under a shady billabong during the heat of the day. To further our bird watching prospects, we venture into the nearby Atherton Tablelands for the last couple of hours. Locations such as Lake Barrine (Crater Lakes National Park) and Yungaburra have afforded our customers amazing birdlife encounters and opportunities for photographs over the years.

Note: This is a private tour is with a local experienced birdwatching guide and well known wildlife enthusiast.

Leaving the Cairns Marina at 8am means we arrive at Michaelmas Cay at approximately 9.15am.

Birdwatchers will be the first guests to step foot on the island. This offers ample photo opportunities of a island with no other humans in sight. Photo opportunities of the birdlife is endless, especially in the summer season which sees up to 30,000 birds sharing the island.

Birdwatchers are offered a circumnavigation of the island where more species can be sighted and photographed.

If you wish, there is plenty of time to snorkel in the calm, sheltered waters off the beach within the unspoilt fringing coral beds.

Lunch is served on-board which includes two hot dishes and salads as we head over to Hastings Reef and our own exclusive mooring.

At Hastings Reef you can experience the true wonders of this Outer Edge Reef, there are the coral caves, coral overhangs, deep water drop offs, coral canyons, swim throughs and shallow coral bays that are only metres from the side of the vessel.

Along the steep edges there are swirling schools of small fish, colourful parrot fish, turtles, giant clams, “friendly” little reef sharks, bright yellow butterfly fish, pairs of rabbit fish, countless varieties of brightly coloured damsel fish and of course, Nemo.

As well as snorkelling you can join our glass bottom boat tour. This can afford bird sightings and your skipper will be able to explain more about the reef.

The Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef cruise gets back into Cairns just after 4pm.

Note: There are opportunities to scuba dive – please ask.

Meeting Points & Destinations

Prepare for your experience

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