Dazzle your retinas with the sight of more than 1,500 multicoloured tropical butterflies in Australia's largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit. Located around 68km south of Port Douglas and 30 minutes'drive north of Cairns, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary has been delighting visitors with special encounters with the delicate and multi-hued winged creatures since 1987.
Situated in tropical North Queensland, where the majority of Australia's butterflies and moths reside, the sanctuary houses their specimens in their preferred lush, natural rainforest canopy habitat complete with favoured food plants, waterfalls and a running stream. The eggs are carefully collected by staff and over 30,000 caterpillars are hand-reared in the dedicated laboratory or caterpillar breeding nursery before around 24,000 pupae are released back into the flight aviary yearly. This intensive handling means the butterflies are used to interacting with people and frequently land on visitors within the aviary. Some of the species you can spy on your visit include the huge Hercules moth, jewel butterflies, lacewings, azures, triangles, Emperor moths, the stunning blue Ulysses butterfly and Australia's largest butterfly - the green-and-gold Cairns Birdwing.
Admission to Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is AU$19 for adults and AU$9.50 for children aged four to 14 years. Entry includes a free half-hour guided tour of the butterfly aviary and a Behind-the-Scenes Laboratory Tour. Tours run daily from 10am to 3.15pm and offer the opportunity to glean plenty of interesting facts about these intriguing and beautiful creatures, as well as gain an insight into the various stages of butterfly and moth development to ensure you'll see your garden in a whole different light.
To get to Australian Butterfly Sanctuary from Port Douglas, take the Captain Cook Highway/State Route 44 through four roundabouts then take the third exit onto Kennedy Highway/National Route 1. After 14km, turn left onto Rob Veivers Drive to the destination - around one hour's drive.