The Aurukun Wetlands area is an untouched environment of major ecological significance based around the Archer, Love, Kirk and Kendell Rivers on the Western coast of Cape York.
Covering 1.1 million hectares (or 8% of Cape York) it contains some of the best quality coastal wetland habitats in western Cape York Peninsula and supports an abundant wetland flora and fauna. It is probably the most important dry season refuge and breeding area for waterbirds on The Cape, and 25% of the area is classified as being of very high wilderness value.
Environmental audits have identified four large Magpie Geese breeding colonies, two large waterbird breeding colonies, two wader roost sites of over 5000 birds and two of between 1000 and 5000 birds.
The floodplains, lagoons and salt-pan areas dotting the upper reaches of the creeks and rivers provide a nursery for fish and a host of other animals, and supports the richest collection of vegetation communities any where on the west coast of the Peninsula. Small patches of several vegetation classes rare on the Peninsula occur in the area, including notophyll vine forest, mesophyll vine forest and Acacia crassicarpa woodland on dunes.
This unique ecosystem is host to a wide range of fish, crab and other marine species, and several previously unknown mangrove crabs species have been identified.
The Aurukun Wetlands eco-tour charter provides a unique way to explore this untouched natural world, with interpretation and insight from the local Wik and Wik Way people.
Over 100 species of bird have been positively identified on Wetland Charter trips to date including endangered, threatened and endemnic species: