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Mount Lewis - BirdForum Opus

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Australia, Queensland


Mount Lewis is located at the Northern end of the Atherton Tablelands; a rainforest-covered mountain that is an attraction to visiting birders as it contains all of the Wet Tropics endemic bird species. It is also one of the more reliable locations to search for the scarce and elusive Blue-faced Parrot-Finch. A number of other rainforest species can also be found here.


Notable Species

Birds to be found in the area include: Australian Brush Turkey, White-headed Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Pacific Emerald Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Superb Fruit Dove, Rose-crowned Fruit Dove, Topknot Pigeon, Australian Swiftlet, White-throated Needletail, Grey Goshawk, Pale-vented Bush-hen, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Australian King Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Southern Boobook, Sooty Owl, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, Dollarbird, Noisy Pitta, White-throated Treecreeper, Spotted Catbird, Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Golden Bowerbird, Satin Bowerbird, Fernwren, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Atherton Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Mountain Thornbill, Eastern Spinebill, Bridled Honeyeater, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Macleay's Honeyeater, Chowchilla, Eastern Whipbird, Golden Whistler, Grey Whistler, Bower's Shrikethrush, Black Butcherbird, Pied Currawong, Rufous Fantail, Grey Fantail, White-eared Monarch, Black-faced Monarch, Spectacled Monarch, Pied Monarch, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Victoria's Riflebird, Pale Yellow Robin, Grey-headed Robin, Silvereye, Bassian Thrush, Russet-tailed Thrush, Red-browed Finch, and Blue-faced Parrotfinch.


To do


Birds you can see here include:

To do

Other Wildlife

Mount Lewis represents a centre of rainforest endemism on the Northern Atherton Tablelands, thus many unique local species can be found here. For example, the Mount Lewis Spiny Crayfish is found nowhere else and is to be found in cool mountain streams. Related species can be found in similar habitats in other parts of Queensland.

Mammals: The Daintree River Ringtail is found here, having recently been split from the Herbert River Ringtail found further south. The recently discovered Masked White-tailed Rat is also found here.

Reptiles: The Red-bellied Black Snake has undergone local declines due to ingesting the poison of introduced Cane Toad, but remains common on the mountain. Many other species of reptiles are also found here.

Amphibians: Several critically endangered frog species are found here, including Waterfall Frog and Waterfall Frog in nearby open forest, though no recent records come from the rainforest itself. Like many high altitude frog species in Australia, they have suffered catastrophic declines in their numbers. The locally endemic Tapping Green-eyed Frog may actually be extinct as there are no recent records.

Six species of Microhylid frogs are found on Mount Lewis. Two of these, the Mountain Nursery Frog and the Rattling Nursery Frog are endemic to the mountain.

Northern Barred Frog, a recently split species is common at higher altitudes.

Site Information

History and Use

Indigenous peoples have lived in the area for thousands of years.

Early white settlers carved roads up into the Tablelands, initially accessing the area using the famous 'Bump Track', a steep unsealed track that starts near Port Douglas and climbs up towards Julatten. The forests of Mount Lewis were quickly exploited for timber, especially the commercially valuable Toon Toona ciliata and Queensland Kauri Agathis robusta, and have been mined for both tin and tungsten.

Mount Lewis became part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 1988 to help protect the unique natural history of the area. The Mount Lewis National Park was designated as recently as 2011. Part of the area is the Brooklyn Wildlife Sanctuary under the protection of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Areas of Interest

There is something of interest to see in the entire area and visitors can take the opportunity to stop regularly along the access road to check the surrounding forest. As one ascends, it is common to see birds on the road ahead, which can be viewed from the car before they disappear into the forest.

Near the base of the access road, one crosses a low bridge just after which can be seen an open grassy area on the left. This is well worth checking for Blue-faced Parrotfinch, as there are a number of records from this site. It is also worth stopping here for other species as well that can often be more easily observed than in the more closed forest higher up.

At the summit of the track, there is an open area where one should park. This space is dotted with strange dead-looking trees that can yield birds such as Shining Bronze Cuckoo, which likes to sing from tree tops.

To the left of this open space starts a well-graded wide walking track that should be one of the main focuses of a visit. With patience, many of the rainforest endemics can be found along here with a host of other species.

Access and Facilities

Mount Lewis lies about 60 kms north west of Cairns at the northern end of the Atherton Tablelands. It is one of the few high rainforested peaks on these Northern tablelands that is readily accessed by road. The Mount Lewis Road is signposted off the Mossman-Mount Molloy Road in the Julatten area about 1.5kms north of Kingfisher Park.

The road ascends for 28 kms up the mountain. It is sealed for the first 1 km before becoming a dirt road. Regular vehicles can use this road in the dry season, but in the rainy season, conditions become more hazardous and a 4WD is recommended. In heavy rains the road can become impassible. Check at Kingfisher Park for the current conditions.

There are no facilities on the mountain. Birders typically stay at the nearby Kingfisher Park (for which, click on the link for information on accommodation) and access the mountain on day trips. However, it is perfectly possible to stay in Cairns or Port Douglas say, and travel up there for the day.

Camping is not permitted anywhere on the mountain.

Contact Details

Click on the Kingfisher Park link for local accommodation for birders.

Further information can be found at the Queensland Government National Parks website: [1]

External Links