The Cairns Esplanade is one of the most interesting birdwatching spots in north-eastern Australia.

Over 200 species of birds recorded and is an extremely popular bird watchers precinct.  It is one of the best spots for Asiatic shorebirds on the eastern coast of Australia and is recognised worldwide for its importance as shorebird habitat, with large naumbers of birdwatchers visiting each year. 

The best times to visit is about two hours before high tide or from about an hour or so after high tide. Cairns Esplanade

Notable species include:

  • Australian Pelican
  • Stiated Heron
  • Nankeen Night Heron
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Terek Sandpiper
  • Grey-tailed Tattler
  • Great Knot
  • Red Knot
  • Sanderling
  • Red-necked Stint
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Broad-billed Sandpiper
  • Beach Stone-curlew
  • Pacific  Golden Plover
  • Grey Plover
  • Lesser Sand Plover
  • Greater Sand PloverBirdwatching in Cairns
  • Gull-billed Tern
  • Little Tern
  • Pied Imperial-Pigeon
  • Helmeted Friarbird
  • Varied Honeyeater
  • Yellow Honeyeater

Cairns Botanical Gardens

Like the esplanade, the Cairns Botanical Gardens is excellent area for bird watchers.  Dedicated birdwathers should plan to stay here for at least a few hours.  

There is always a chance for some of the more elusive species such as Black Bittern., White-browed Crake and Little Kingfisher, as well as Pygmy-geese. 

The Centenary Lakes are connected to the Botanic Gardens by a low lying boardwalk through a pristine swamp forest and melaleuca wetlands. 

The Freshwater Lake here has birds, turtles and many waterlillies and the gardens here have a picnic pavillion and facilities making it the perfect spot for a family picnic.

There is also a Saltwater Lake on the other eastern side of the park where you can see mangrove habitats including mud skippers, crabs, saltwater fish and mangrove birds. 

The boardwalk between the gardens and the lakes leads to a footbridge over a tidal mangrove channel where Common Sandpiper, Mangrove Robin and Large-billed Gerygone are often seen. 

Cairns Birdwatching

Notable species include:

  • Orange-footed Scrubfowl
  • Magpie Goose
  • Green Pygmy-goose
  • Black Bittern
  • Brahminy Kite
  • Bush-hen
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Whiskered Tern
  • White-winged Black Tern
  • Double-eyed Fig-Parrot
  • Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo
  • Azure Kingfisher
  • Little Kingfisher
  • Large billed Gerygone
  • Helmeted Friarbird
  • Yellow Honeyeater
  • Brown-backed Honeyeater
  • Mangrove Robin
  • Shining Flycatcher
  • Varied Triller
  • Black Butcherbird
  • Yellow-bellied Sunbird

There is also a very popular walking track entry in this vicinity called the Red Arrow Walk and the Blue Arrow Walk.  This gets a little busy in the morning and 

afternoon when locals use it to tone up and get fit.

Birdworld is located at Kuranda.  This is a very popular attraction to visit if you decide to do the Kuranda Train and Skyrail daytrip.