Australia........17th October to 7th November 2019
Australia can quite safely be described as unique, with a wealth of incredible landscapes - the dry outback, rugged mountain ranges, beautiful coastline and rainforests. As a birdwatching and wildlife destination it offers the chance to enter another world of fascinating species, varying from the exquisite to the bizarre – from Fairy-wrens to Duck-billed Platypus and Tawny Frogmouths to Tasmanian Devils. Our new tour’s wide ranging itinerary commences in Tasmania, where amidst fantastic landscapes we have an opportunity to encounter a wealth of rare and endemic wildlife. Amongst this marvelous array of birds and mammals are: Little Penguin, Short-tailed Shearwater, Tasmanian Native Hen, Hooded Plover, Orange-bellied Parrot, Tasmanian Thornbill, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Striated Fieldwren, Black Currawong, Yellow Wattlebird, Pink Robin, Crescent, Yellow-throated & Strong-billed Honeyeaters, Platypus, Eastern Quoll, Bennett’s Wallaby and not forgetting Tasmanian Devil. After this marvelous introduction to Australia’s unique wildlife, we return to Melbourne and commence our exploration of Victoria and it’s tremendously wide ranging habitats, seeking out the superb array of bird species present. Starting at Ferntree Gully we’ll look for Superb Lyrebird, Crimson Rosella, White-browed Scrubwren, White-throated Treecreeper, and Rose Robin. We will then visit Phillip Island where we should encounter Cape Barren Geese, Royal Spoonbill, Australian Pelican, Pacific, Silver and Kelp Gulls. Moving north to Deniliquin will provide the opportunity to look for Inland Dotterel, Plains Wanderer, White-browed Babbler, Rainbow Bee-eater, Superb Parrot, Rufous Songlark, Emu, Blue Duck, Tawny Frogmouth, Black Falcon, Swamp Harrier, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Gilbert’s Whistler, Inland Thornbill and Black Honeyeater. Then traveling southwest towards the Great Ocean Road we’ll spend two days in Little Desert National Park (Mallee Habitat), looking for specialties such as Malleefowl, Southern Scrub-robin, Shy Heathwren, Golden Whistler, Purple-gaped & Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters and White-browed Woodswallows. Our final tour destination, the Great Ocean Road will produce some scenic coastal delights such as the “12 Apostles”, as well a superb array of wildlife. It is an excellent area for good numbers of Koalas and the diverse birdlife includes Rufous Bristlebird, King Parrot, Satin Bowerbird, Eastern Spinebill, Bassian Thrush, Pink, Eastern Yellow & Rose Robins, Forest Raven and Crested Shrike-tit. Many seabirds can be spotted from the headlands including Australasian Gannets, albatrosses and shearwaters. Melbourne Water Treatment Plant (Werribee) supports an amazing number of wildfowl and shorebirds, which should produce a superb epilogue to our Australian birding adventure. An incredible wildlife experience in the magical ‘Land of Oz’!
Days 1 & 2: Fly from the UK to Melbourne; arriving on the morning of Day 3:
Day 3: After arrival, we’ll check-in to our hotel and then have a day at leisure. An opportunity to explore Melbourne, perhaps visiting the Botanical Gardens for our first encounters with Australian Avifauna, or for any Cricket lovers, enjoy a visit and tour of the famous MCG.
Days 4-5: Fly to Hobart, Tasmania. After checking into our hotel, there should be time to visit Mount Wellington for our first endemic species – such as Black Currawong and Tasmanian Scrubwren, as well as experiencing the wonderful panorama. On Day 5 we’ll embark on a spectacular flight (weather dependant) to Tasmania’s remote World Heritage area for the endangered Orange-bellied Parrot, Eastern Ground Parrot, Southern Emu-wren, Beautiful Firetail and Striated Fieldwren.
Days 6-7: Travel by Ferry to Bruny Island for a superb selection of wildlife. We have an opportunity to see Hooded Plover, Swift Parrot, Grey Goshawk, White-fronted Chat, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and endemics such as Tasmanian Native-hen, Green Rosella, Srubtit, Forty Spotted Pardalote Yellow Wattlebird, Yellow-throated Honeyeater and Tasmanian Thornbill. Mammals include Brush-tailed Possum and Short-beaked Echidna. On one evening we’ll visit a Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwater rookery to witness the birds returning to their burrows.
Days 8-10: On Day 8 we Depart Bruny Island for Mount Field and Cradle Mountain areas. Here as well as wonderful birdlife – Scrubtit, Black Currawong, Tasmanian Scrubwren and Yellow Wattlebird, are Tasmania’s rare mammals, which includes Tasmanian Devil, Spotted-tailed Quoll and Common Wombat.
Days 11-12: Fly from Launceston to Melbourne and then drive to Ferntree Gully for 2 Nights. During this period, we’ll visit a known area for Superb Lyrebird, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Crimson Rosella and White-browed Scrubwren. A visit to Phillip Island is also scheduled, with Cape Barren Geese, Masked Lapwing, Hooded Plover, Pacific Gull and Royal Spoonbill some of the target species.
Days 13-17: We travel north to Deniliquin for grassland species, including the rare Plains Wanderer, Inland Dotterel, Banded Lapwing, Rufous Songlark, Brown Falcon, Black Honeyeater and numerous other species. During this period, we will also stay in an area of Mallee Habitat, in the Little Desert National Park. Here we have the opportunity to encounter s number of rare and restricted range species, including Shy Heathwren, Southern Scrub-robin, Gilbert’s Whistler, Superb Fairy-wren and Mallefowl.
Days 18-20: Our next location is the Great Ocean Road, where we’ll spend three days. Seabirds, Sooty Oystercatcher, Pink Robin, Rufous Bristlebird, Satin Bowerbird, King Parrot, Gang-gang Cockatoo and Koala will be amongst the array of species present.
Days 21-22: A visit to Werribee Water Treatment Plant can produce a host of shorebirds and wildfowl including Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Red-kneed Dotterel, Marsh Sandpiper, Blue-billed Freckled and Pink-eared Ducks. Later we’ll drive to Melbourne Airport for our flight to the UK.
Tour ref: AA1931
Tour Cost: £6,990
Single Room Supplement: £890
Leaders: Peter Scholes
Max. Group: 10 plus Leaders/Guides
Economy class scheduled return flights (UK-Australia-UK), domestic flights, accommodation based on twin occupancy, meals, transportation in Australia, entrance fees to reserves and services of leaders.
Travel insurance, drinks and items of a personal nature.