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Events in national parks

Photo: Tourism and Events QueenslandPhoto: Tourism and Events Queensland

From international sporting events to regional food and wine festivals to local community activities, Queensland’s parks play host to many different events. QPWS rangers also offer a unique program of guided walks and holiday programs and nature puts on her own show, sometimes outshining all other events with spectacular seasonal cycles of reproduction and migration. Below is just a taste of what’s on offer. Also check out Tourism and Events Queensland’s calendar of events.

Season Date Event Details Location(s) Experience
All All year Go Back in Time program Exciting and innovative program to experience premier heritage sites in Moreton Bay. Around Brisbane Recreational
All All year Ranger guided cave tours Ranger-guided tours of Chillagoe’s spectacular underground limestone caves, every day except Christmas Day. Around Cairns Recreational
All 7am every Saturday Bunyaville parkrun Social community 5km timed run, just for fun, held every Saturday, 7am. Around Brisbane Recreational (weekly)
All Qld school holidays Connect with Nature Summer, Easter, Winter and Spring programs Around Brisbane
  • Various parks
Recreational
Spring/
Summer
Sep–Feb 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 Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Winter/ Spring July–Nov 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 Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Winter/ Spring Jun–Sep 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 Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Winter/ Spring Jun–mid-Nov Humpback whale migration 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
Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Winter/ Spring Aug–Sep Wildflower viewing Spectacular wildflower displays splash colour among massive granite outcrops in spring. West of Brisbane Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Winter/ Spring Aug–Sep Wildflower viewing Spectacular wildflower displays splash colour across the coastal heathlands. Sunshine Fraser Coast Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Winter/ Spring Aug–Nov 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 Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Spring/
Summer
Sep–Mar Migratory shorebird viewing Migratory shorebirds (waders) arrive from northern hemisphere to spend the southern summer feeding in wetlands and on off-shore islands before departing around March. Around Brisbane; Outback Queensland; Central Coast; Around Townsville Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Spring/
Summer
Oct–Mar Manta ray viewing Manta rays can be seen regularly from North Stradbroke Island’s rocky headlands. Around Brisbane Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Spring/ Summer/ Autumn Oct–Apr 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 Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
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 Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Spring Oct–Nov 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
Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Spring/ Summer Oct–Dec 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
Wildlife spectacle (Annual)
Spring/
Summer
Nov–Feb 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 Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Spring/
Summer
Nov–Jan Sea turtle nesting Female sea turtles come ashore on beaches and islands to lay eggs in sandy nests. Central Coast Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Spring/
Summer
Nov–Feb Bat cave tours Ranger-guided tours of Bat Cleft Cave to view thousands of little bent-wing bats during breeding season. Central Coast Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Summer Dec–Feb 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 Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Summer Dec–Feb 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 Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Summer Dec–Mar 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 Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Summer Dec–Mar 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 Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Summer/
Autumn
Dec–Apr 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
Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Summer/
Autumn
Jan–Mar Sea turtle hatching Sea turtle hatchlings emerge from nests and clamber across the beach to the sea. Central Coast Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Summer/
Autumn
Jan–Mar 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 Wildlife spectacle (annual)
Autumn Mar–Apr 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 Wildlife celebration (annual)
Last updated
3 August 2018