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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

Apr 23

Cairns Wildlife Dome – A rainforest & wildlife habitat in the heart of the City

Posted on April 23, 2008 by


Sunday, 20 April, 2008

On Sunday morning I was lucky enough to visit Cairns Wildlife Dome – the exotic wildlife park and rainforest habitat in the heart of Cairns city.  Cairns Wildlife Dome is an outstanding feature of the Cairns city skyline, and is a unique dome structure perched on top of the Cairns Reef Casino.  The dome itself is made of glass, is 20 meters high and is suitable to visit in all weather conditions.  I’ve always been impressed with the dome from the outside; the way it provides a nightly light show featuring all the neon colors of the rainbow.  I was intrigued about what Cairns Wildlife Dome would have to offer, and couldn’t wait to see what it was like inside.
Upon entering Cairns Wildlife Dome I was greeted with a myriad of sights and sounds.  There was a plethora of exotic rainforest creatures freely roaming around amongst the large, lush green rainforest habitat.  The sound of the vast variety of tropical birds singing was delightful and somewhat noisy, and every rainforest tree and bush in the dome seemed to be rustling and bustling with an excess of playful birds.  At the entrance of Cairns Wildlife Dome I was lucky enough to meet my first feathered friend, a Red Tailed Black Cockatoo.  This friendly bird was happy to have a chat with me, and even perch on my arm for a more indepth and intimate discussion.

The dome structure was bigger on the inside than I expected, and the lush tropical rainforest habitat was spectacular and unexpected in the heart of Cairns city.  I felt as though I had been transported into an exotic rainforest paradise in the blink of an eye.  Cairns Wildlife Dome features large pathways and a wooden boardwalk that leads you from the base of the dome toward the roof.  As I ascended the walkways I was treated to spectacular views of the entire dome structure, all the exotic animals in the dome and the city of Cairns and Coral Sea lying just outside the wildlife park.  As I meandered along the pathways at the base of the dome I spotted free roaming pademeloms.  These soft and furry rainforest creatures were absolutely adorable, and didn’t seem to mind all the attention they were getting from me!  I also spotted some turtles and freshwater crocodiles in a billabong, frogs in lush green rainforest trees and some slithery scaly pythons.
As I ascended the wooden boardwalk I was greeted by Goliath, an enormous 5 metre saltwater crocodile.  Goliath is an amazing creature and seeing him up close and personal gave me a newfound respect and appreciation for Estuarine Crocodiles that are typical of the Far North Queensland region.  Cairns Wildlife Dome features a unique underwater viewing platform, a welcome addition to the above-water view, which gave me a unique perspective of Goliath from both under and on top of the water.  As I got higher in the Wildlife Dome the birds changed from ground dwellers to colourful and exotic birds typically of the canopy of the tropical rainforests.  As they swooped and soared around me I decided I needed to know more about them, and decided to watch the bird presentation at 10:30 am.

The bird presentation was both educational and enjoyable.  The stars of the show included an Eclectus Parrot, Rainbow Lorikeets, Kookaburras, Red Tailed Black Cockatoos, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and a Frogmouth.  Most of the birds swooped and soared – generally just inches above our heads, however the Kookaburra was in an especially bad mood and decided he didn’t want to play.  Instead, he flew to the other side of the dome and laughed at us, which resulted in an uproar of applause and laughter from the audience.  Cairns Wildlife Dome has a variety of animal shows and presentations throughout the day such as feeding tours, reptile rap, furry friends and dusk creatures.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see all of these shows, however when purchasing tickets to the Cairns Wildlife Dome entry is valid for five days so I will get a chance to go back and catch the shows I missed.    
Cairns Wildlife Dome provides an intimate animal experience in the heart of the city of Cairns.  I recommend the Cairns Wildlife Dome to anyone who wants to experience native Australian animals and tropical rainforest without even leaving the city.  After leaving Cairns Wildlife Dome I enjoyed a cup of coffee in the Reef Casinos restaurant – Pacific Flavours – and marveled at the unique ability to transition from a tropical rainforest environment into decadent luxury in the blink of an eye.  Treat yourself and experience Cairns Wildlife Dome personally…

Amy Jennings
The Tour Specialist

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