Explore our biodiversity rich coastal wetlands

Coastal wetlands, the frontier between land and sea, are one of the most valuable ecosystems on our planet. Often referred to as the 'kidneys' of Earth, they play a significant role in improving water quality, which in north east Australia, means they are intrinsically linked to the health of the Great Barrier Reef. They also play a critical role in climate change mitigation, absorbing more carbon dioxide from our atmosphere than terrestrial forests.

But they are under threat. Coastal development and land clearing, increasing temperatures and sea level rise are all contributing to the decline of these systems.

Become part of the solution and join researchers amidst the most diverse mangrove system on the planet along the Daintree River, or join a team in the tropical beachside town of Mackay, to gather information on the health of these wetlands. Take a boat cruise along the river and adventure by foot through mangrove forests, all the while experiencing the diverse fauna that inhabit these ecosystems.

The data you collect will provide critical information to wetland management strategies and enhance their conservation and preservation along the Great Barrier Reef and beyond.

Earthwatch ensures this expedition is COVID safe.

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Important Information

Read our comprehensive briefing to find out more about the research you will undertake, daily life in the field, accommodations, meals, and travel planning tips.

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The Daintree and Mackay, QLD


$600 (Daintree) | $500 (Mackay)

Includes accommodation, meals, transfers, insurance and research activities


7 days



Activity Level

Very Active

Lead Scientist

Jock Mackenzie, Earthwatch Australia and MangroveWatch


"I am aware of the effects that rising temperatures and pollution have on our planet, so I decided to make my holidays a bit more meaningful and join the Earthwatch expedition deep in the ancient Daintree rainforest. It was eye opening to discover how much work is needed to slow those damaging processes. The Earthwatch team leaders, Jock and Sandra, provided a welcoming and safe environment for all the volunteers, sharing not only scientific knowledge but also historical and funny stories.

I left the mangroves deeply impressed and thinking: How can I contribute more to protect our fragile environment? So, after working for more than 15 years as a Researcher in Biochemistry, I decided to pursue a career change and focus all my energy and knowledge into environmental care.

Thanks to Earthwatch for the opportunity to not only have a fantastic and remarkable holiday but also showing me a way to look literally 'outside the scope’."

~ Miguel Shingu, former Biochemistry Researcher | Clayton, VIC

"The citizen science approach to the program was powerful. Being out in the field collecting data, seeing the changes to habitats from multiple sources and learning the vital role that mangrove ecosystems play strengthened my own scientific understanding and passion for biology. It was indeed the highlight of 2019 for me personally and professionally."

~ Ryan Nelson, Teacher | Middle Park, VIC

"It would be easy to dismiss this environment as too uncomfortable. This would be to overlook the majesty of these forests and the mystery of survival in what to most other trees would be hostile conditions, not to mention the critical functions of this ecosystem. I returned enthused and inspired to my studio, my aim to capture in print this majesty and mystery, the density and darkness, the play of light, growth and decay, the threatened nature of this fragile environment. Much has come off my printing press since returning."

~ Helen Mueller, Print maker | Birchgrove, NSW