Bonadio's Reserve is a beautiful place in Yungaburra, about an hour east of Cairns. You can take a tour from Cairns and visit the property or drive yourself and meet up with the tour group there. The Bonadio family lives on and farms their property. It's one of the best places in Queensland to view the elusive platypus! The tour company that conducts tours to the Bonadio property is Gone Wild Tours and by mid Decembeer, 2009, they were claiming a 100% success rate for the year 2009 for platypus spotting. (We saw about 15 surfacings just before dusk on a recent visit!) The Bonadio's are planting indiginous trees to bridge the gap in the rainforest and are very proud of their country and surrounding area. Gone Wild Tours conducts evening tours from Cairns, with a "self-drive" option allowing you to meet on the Bonadio's property if you are staying in the area and do not need the transportation from Cairns. The evening begins with "Birds of Prey Wild Bird Show". You will see a few owls, including a barking owl, which with the aid of special heavy gloves, you will be able to hold. There is also a beautiful eagle, a furry spotted quoll and other birds, including one that picks up litter and throws it away! A very energetic and enthusiastic, knowledgeable guide, Mark Cullerton, explains about each creature as he brings them out. The bird show is followed by platypus spotting on the Barron River, dinner (with crocodile and kangaroo appetizers) among the wildlife (possoms, bandicoots, pademelonst, a night walk through the forest with flashlights for critter spotting and a visit to one of the few glow work caves in Australia. The cave is pitch black with a handrail to guide you as you walk through the cave and marvel at the glow worms that do indeed *glow* on the walls of the cave. Gone Wild Tours are conducted in english and japanese. You may want to verify when you call which languages will be spoken. Going on a night where your preferred language is the only one spoken by the solo guide may be preferable, as the dual-translation can lengthen the evening. Our opinion of the evening was very positive. One of the highlights of our Australian trip for sure!
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