Seasonal wildlife experiences
Summer (December to February)
Turtle season officially commences in November when female turtles make their annual pilgrimage to the state’s beaches to lay their eggs. Between January and March, the newborns will start to hatch and dig their way to the surface and down to the shoreline. One of the most popular hotspots to enjoy turtle nesting and/or hatching is Mon Repos, near Bundaberg. This is where you will find the largest population of nesting marine loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific. The Mon Repos Turtle Centre is also a new multi-million dollar centre with an information centre, conservation and long-term research monitoring centre all in one.
Autumn (March to May)
Slightly cooler temperatures welcome the arrival of newborn koalas. There’s no better place to spot them in the wild than Queensland, with habitats scattered across the breadth of the state, particularly in less densely populated regions like the Sunshine Coast and Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). Koala breeding takes place from September, with koala joeys spending a handful of months developing in their mother’s pouch before emerging out into the big wide world come March. Didn’t get a chance to glimpse them in their natural environment? No matter - you can get up close and personal with a koala cuddle encounter at the likes of iconic Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Currumbin Sancuary or Australia Zoo.
Winter (June to October)
Welcome to whale season in Queensland! Winter season is well-known for its whale migration and you’ll be hard-pressed to find somewhere better to see these giants of the deep than Queensland’s Hervey Bay, the world’s first whale heritage site. Between June and November, it’s humpbacks that you’ll find in abundance, with 25,000 whales descending on Queensland’s warm waters enroute down to Antarctica with calves in tow. Spy these majestic creatures (or even swim alongside them) as a part of the many whale watching tours available from Hervey Bay, as well as Mooloolaba, Moreton Island and the Gold Coast
It’s also around November’s full moon that the Great Barrier Reef hosts one of the largest reproductive shows on the planet when the coral spawns. The event, which sees a synchronised explosion of billions of sperm and eggs, lasts just a few nights but has become a popular tourist attraction, with dive operators along the coastline offering visitors a chance to experience it for themselves on an overnight dive or multi-day journey.
Queensland also offers an impressive number of wildlife encounters that can be enjoyed all year round. Make your way to Cairns where Daintree Rainforest, Mission Beach, and Cape Tribulation play host to the cassowary. There’s also a hearty population of crocodiles, which have made themselves at home along the web of waterways under the luscious rainforest canopy, often spotted sunning themselves on the river banks by day.
Further south you’ll spot dingoes galore along the Fraser Coast, home to the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island. Just below on the Sunshine Coast is where dolphins are out in full force, cruising by the likes of Tangalooma, Moreton Island and Tin Can Bay. If you make your way out to the shoreline at dusk you’ll be able to come practically face to face with these friendly creatures.
Interact with the wallabies that have become famous at Cape Hillsborough when they come out to say g’day at sunrise. Mackay is also home to plenty of platypus - make your way to Eungella National Park at sunrise and sunset, which present your best chances of catching them at play.
For more information on Queensland’s best nature experiences, visit Queensland.com