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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–November 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 June–September 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 

June–mid-November 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 

August 6, 2017  Townsville Marathon  Part of the Townsville Road Runners Running Festival, the marathon loops from town along the Strand out to Cape Pallarenda and back (three times!)  

Around Townsville, North Queensland

Sporting/ Competitive

(Annual) 

Winter 

August 31-6 September, 2017  Magnetic Island Race Week  First class racing on the crystal blue waters of Cleveland Bay off Townsville near Magnetic Island. 

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park offshore from Townsville 

Sporting/ Competitive

(Annual) 

Winter/ Spring 

August–September Wildflower viewing  Spectacular wildflower displays splash colour among massive granite outcrops in spring. 

West of Brisbane

Wildlife spectacle

(Annual) 

Winter/ Spring 

August–September Wildflower viewing  Spectacular wildflower displays splash colour across the coastal heathlands. 

Sunshine Fraser Coast

Wildlife spectacle

(Annual) 

Winter/Spring 

August–November 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 

September 10, 2017  Wallumania Monster Run  Tackle monster hills, cloud forest and rainforest on this trail run with 28km, 15km and 1.5km courses. It may be the only course in Australia run entirely at 1000m above sea level! 

Around Cairns

 

Sporting/ Competitive

(Annual) 

Spring 

September 3, 2017  OnaMission Multisport Adventure race  Paddle from South Mission Beach to Dunk Island, run over Mount Kootaloo to the Spit or to Coconut Beach, paddle back, then mountainbike to South Mission Beach, with a final run along the beach. 

Around Cairns

Sporting/ Competitive

(Annual) 

Spring 

September, 2017 (date tbc, pending track opening post-cyclone Debbie)  Run the Great Whitsunday Trail  Run the Great Whitsunday Trail (previously known as the Whitsunday Great Walk), a challenging 28km run on the Conway Circuit, ending up at the Airlie Beach Lagoon. 

Mackay/Proserpine

Sporting/ Competitive

(Annual) 

Spring 

September 23–30, 2017 The Far North Wilderness Bike Tour  Non-competitive bicycle tour run by the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC). 

Around Cairns

 

Recreational 

Spring 

September   Migratory koels (storm birds) calling  Migratory koels, which are storm birds, give their distinctive calls when they arrive from the north, often heralding the spring storms.  

Around Brisbane; Sunshine Coast

  • south-east Queensland coastal lowland parks

 

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

  • GBR islands
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 October 14, 2017  The turtle and the Lamb trail race  Day/night train run through stunning scenery (19km, 6km and 3km courses).

Around Cairns

 
Spring October 16-23, 2017  Crocodile Trophy  Mountain bike endurance race over nine stages, 770km, and 17,000m of elevation.

Around Cairns; Cape York Peninsula

 

Sporting/ Competitive (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 October–November 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
October-December  Coral spawning  Mass spawning of corals on the Great Barrier Reef occurs over a few nights, usually 4-6 days after the full moon. 

Around Cairns

  • Offshore islands and reefs 

Wildlife spectacle

(Annual) 
Spring November 5, 2017  Noosa Triathalon Multi-Sport Festival  Various events including wim/run, fun run, cycle, ocean swim, superkids triathalon, special triathalon, 5km bolt, and more. 

Sunshine Coast

Sporting/ Competitive

(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)
Winter May–Nov 2017 Hamilton Island Endurance Series The Hamilton Island Endurance series spans four endurance events—the Hamilton Half Marathon, Great Whitehaven Beach Run, Hamilton Island Triathlon and Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim. The perfect place to push yourself in paradise.  Mackay/Proserpine Sporting/
competitive (annual)
Last updated
10 July 2017