Anything animal related is always family friendly and fun for both the tall and the small. Australia is a nature lover's paradise, and home to some of the most rare and exotic creatures and plants in the world.
Beautiful, tropical Queensland is no exception, with the benefit being you can combine your exploring with a beach holiday. So try and make your acquaintance with these five cool creatures on your next Cairns or GC holiday.
The Cassowary is a big, flightless bird that comes from the same family as the emu, and is distantly related the kiwi bird. There are only three species of Cassowary left, with two found in the forests and nearby islands of New Guinea, and the third being found in the tropics of North Queensland.
Adult males can sit at more than 1.7 meters and weigh over 50 kilograms. Females are even bigger, and can reach almost 70kgs! You may find these incredible creatures in their natural rain forest habitat during morning or early afternoon/evening, as they usually hide from the unforgiving Queensland heat during the day.
Good places to look include around the Daintree Region, Cape Tribulation, Kuranda, Mission Beach and Wallaman Falls. You can also find them in captivity at the Daintree Wild Zoo, Cairns Tropical Zoo and the Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville.
North Tropical Queensland is home to more than 3000 plant species alone, 250 of which are endangered. Queensland is home to the largest species of Frog mouths in Australia. These owl-look-
alike creatures hang out in pairs during the day — and prey on unsuspecting lizards, insects and small
mammals at night.
They get their name from their quirky hooked beaks, which resemble a frog’s broad smile. If you do fancy a nature escape, consider booking flights to Cairns, where you can catch these cool creatures at Cairn Zoom Wildlife Dome. You can also find them in the wild, resting in trees, although they can be hard to spot due to their camouflage plumage.
Another good place in Queensland for finding weird and wonderful creatures is the Gold Coast!
One particularly cool critter that lurks around that area is the echidna, or “spiny anteater”; these creatures are a firm favorite with kids because of their strange appearance. These solitary animals weigh between 35-50 cms long and have long claws and long tongues which they use to catch their food.
By nature echidnas are exceptionally hard to breed. If you’re really lucky, you might be able to catch a baby echidna, or “puggle” at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you can also hang out with other Aussie favourites including koalas, dingos, bilbies, kangaroos and Tasmanian devils.
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
A front-runner for the “coolest personality” in the Aussie animal world is the yellow-tailed black cockatoo, which can be found in the forests of south and central Queensland. They are stunning creatures, mostly brown/black in color, with bright yellow cheek patches and a distinctive yellow tail band.
During breeding season you will find them flying around in couples, although outside of this period you may find flocks of over a hundreds of birds. Often heard before they are seen, these noisy, curious, charming and cheeky creatures are as interested in tourists as tourists are in them. They are more than happy to park up on a nearby branch for a bit of a chat.
Green-eyed Tree Frog
Found in both PNG and in Cairns, this species of frog is doing quite well in comparison to other Aussie frog species like the Australian lace-lid and waterfall frog. They kick around in gently flowing rain forest streams but are sometimes hard to spot as they blend in exceptionally well with their mossy surrounds.
Their call sounds like light applause, and listening out for it is one of the best ways to track them down. Their name comes from their bright green pupils, although when the frog feels threatened and is on alert, this green quickly gives way to a less striking brown-red colour.