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EASTERN AUSTRALIA

Birdquest's Eastern Australia birding tour is one of a series of Birdquest tours that comprehensively cover this island continent with its huge number of endemic birds. Our Eastern Australia tour offers the most comprehensive coverage available of this richest of all Australian regions, taking in the entire east coast from south of Sydney to northern Queensland, a pelagic seabird trip and even the edge of the dry interior.

Saturday 27th October — Saturday 17th November 2018
(22 days)


Leaders: Andy Jensen and a second Birdquest leader

Group Size Limit: 9

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations

The magnificent Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers of the Atherton tablelands will hopefully be a tour highlight (Pete Morris)

The magnificent Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers of the Atherton tablelands will hopefully be a tour highlight (Pete Morris)

Australia, the smallest continent or the largest island on earth, depending on how you like to look at it, has been cut off from the rest of the world for more than sixty million years and as a result has evolved a remarkable and unique flora and fauna. The birdlife has followed its own evolutionary path and Australia has more endemic bird species (over 300) than any other country and many bird families which are entirely restricted to it or which do not extend beyond Australasia.

Australia’s immense geographical area means that it is simply impossible to see the great majority of its endemic birds during a single visit of just a few weeks, so it is far more sensible to regard the island continent as a place where one should make two or more visits. Superb, mostly easy, birding combined with good travelling conditions make for an unforgettable experience.

This exciting tour has been specifically designed to concentrate on the many endemic specialties of the eastern region of Australia. Eastern Australia is one of several classic Birdquests that between them cover every corner of Australia and achieve a level of coverage of its specialities that is unequalled.

Our journey begins at Sydney, where we will commence our explorations of the attractive woodlands and heathlands of the New South Wales coast, reaching as far south as the Kiama area. Here we will have a good chance to find Powerful Owl, Superb Lyrebird, Southern Emu-wren, Rockwarbler and the endangered Eastern Bristlebird.

Afterwards we will move inland in order to explore the dry eucalyptus woodlands of the western slopes of the Blue Mountains, famous for Turquoise Parrot, Regent Honeyeater and Plum-headed Finch, and also home to many other species.

From the Sydney region we will head northwards to Swansea, from where we will take a boat out to the edge of the continental shelf in search of pelagic seabirds ranging from huge albatrosses to the uncommon Gould’s Petrel and tiny storm-petrels. We will also explore a fine area in the coastal ranges where the elusive Rufous Scrub-bird, one of only two members of this little-known family, can be seen, and look for other good birds ranging from Greater Sooty Owl to Spotted Quail-thrush.

Next we travel northwards to Brisbane in the southeastern corner of Queensland, from where we will drive up into the coastal mountain range and stay in the very midst of the magnificent subtropical rainforests of Lamington National Park. Here we will be seeking out a wonderful selection of forest birds including the localized Albert’s Lyrebird, the secretive Australian Frogmouth (now better treated as a separate species from Marbled), the gorgeous Noisy Pitta, the amusing Australian Logrunner, splendid Satin and Regent Bowerbirds, and the beautiful Paradise Riflebird. Around Brisbane itself, or further up the coast, White-throated Nightjar, Mangrove Honeyeater and even Black-breasted Button-quail will be on the menu.

Moving northwards once more, we will stop off at Rockingham to look for the endangered Capricorn form of the Yellow Chat and at Eungella to look for the relatively recently-described Eungella Honeyeater and the strange Platypus.

The greatest highlight of the tour will surely be our time in the rich tropical rainforests and coastal habitats of northern Queensland. At Cairns we will admire the wonderful selection of shorebirds and other waterbirds on the coastal mudflats, as well as look for such species as the huge and impressive Southern Cassowary, the much sought-after Rufous Owl and the restricted-range Varied Honeyeater.

Finally, we shall explore the rainforests and dry eucalypt woodlands of the Jullaten and Mount Carbine regions, situated immediately south of the Cape York Peninsula, where Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Spotted Catbird and Victoria’s Riflebird will compete for our attentions with the secretive Fernwren and enormous birdwing butterflies. Amongst the many other good birds in this area are Australian Bustard, Squatter Pigeon, Lesser Sooty Owl, the gorgeous Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, the aptly-named Lovely Fairy-wren, Atherton Scrubwren, Mountain Thornbill, Macleay’s and Bridled Honeyeaters, Chowchilla, Bower’s Shrike-thrush, Pale-yellow, Grey-headed and White-browed Robins, the elusive Golden Bowerbird and the uncommon and much-sought-after Black-throated Finch.

Birdquest has operated tours to Australia since 1985.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/motels are of good or medium standard throughout. At Kingfisher Park some rooms have shared bathroom facilities. Road transport will be by minibus or car and roads are mostly good, although we will spend some time on unsurfaced roads.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy but there are a few moderate grade walks.

Climate: Most days are warm, hot or very hot, dry and sunny but overcast conditions are not infrequent and there may well be some rain in coastal areas. It is generally rather humid near the coast, while conditions south of Sydney can be cool or even quite cold early in the day. On Lord Howe Island conditions are changeable with periods of warm, dry and sunny weather alternating with cool, overcast and wet spells.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are good.

Can be taken together with: Outback Queensland & Lord Howe Island (or just the Lord Howe Island extension)

Prices are provisional

Tour Price: £6590, €7780, $8630 Sydney/Cairns.

Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £1050, €1239, $1376.

Deposit: £800, €960, $1040.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

An aptly named Powerful Owl presides over its headless Common Brushtail Possum prey! (Pete Morris)

An aptly named Powerful Owl presides over its headless Common Brushtail Possum prey! (Pete Morris)

The spectacular Regent Bowerbird is always a favourite (Andy Jensen)

The spectacular Regent Bowerbird is always a favourite (Andy Jensen)

The highly-sought Southern Cassowary will be one of our main targets in the Cairns area (Andy Jensen)

The highly-sought Southern Cassowary will be one of our main targets in the Cairns area (Andy Jensen)

Albert's Lyrebird is a really localized endemic that we have a good chance of seeing (Andy Jensen)

Albert's Lyrebird is a really localized endemic that we have a good chance of seeing (Andy Jensen)

Our pelagic will hopefully yield a few albatross species, perhaps including the magnificent Wandering Albatross (Andy Jensen)

Our pelagic will hopefully yield a few albatross species, perhaps including the magnificent Wandering Albatross (Andy Jensen)

Another much-wanted 'Regent' - the sadly rare and difficult Regent Honeyeater (Pete Morris)

Another much-wanted 'Regent' - the sadly rare and difficult Regent Honeyeater (Pete Morris)

A displaying male Victoria's Riflebird (Andy Jensen)

A displaying male Victoria's Riflebird (Andy Jensen)

The magnificent Golden Bowerbird is another of those must-see birds! (Andy Jensen)

The magnificent Golden Bowerbird is another of those must-see birds! (Andy Jensen)

The aptly-named Beautiful Firetail will be a target species on the heaths in the south (Andy Jensen)

The aptly-named Beautiful Firetail will be a target species on the heaths in the south (Andy Jensen)

With a bit of luck, the wonderful Musk Lorikeet will put in an appearance (Pete Morris)

With a bit of luck, the wonderful Musk Lorikeet will put in an appearance (Pete Morris)

Two other rarities we'll hope to track down are the smart Plum-headed Finch (Pete Morris)

Two other rarities we'll hope to track down are the smart Plum-headed Finch (Pete Morris)

... and the smart Black-throated Finch (Pete Morris)

... and the smart Black-throated Finch (Pete Morris)

This tour is packed full of many other superb endemics and specailities such as Bush Thick-knee (Andy Jensen)

This tour is packed full of many other superb endemics and specailities such as Bush Thick-knee (Andy Jensen)

... Australian Brush-Turkey (Pat & David Wileman)

... Australian Brush-Turkey (Pat & David Wileman)

... the colourful Rainbow Bee-eater (Pat & David Wileman)

... the colourful Rainbow Bee-eater (Pat & David Wileman)

... White-headed Pigeon (Pat & David Wileman)

... White-headed Pigeon (Pat & David Wileman)

... the colourful Scarlet Honeyeater (Pat & David Wileman)

... the colourful Scarlet Honeyeater (Pat & David Wileman)

... the attractive Flame Robin (Pete Morris)

... the attractive Flame Robin (Pete Morris)

... White-throated Treecreeper (another excellent example of convergent evolution when compared to our treecreepers and nuthatches) (Pete Morris)

... White-throated Treecreeper (another excellent example of convergent evolution when compared to our treecreepers and nuthatches) (Pete Morris)

... and Crested Shrike-Tit – the form here is sometimes treated as a full species; Southern Shrike-Tit (Pete Morris)

... and Crested Shrike-Tit – the form here is sometimes treated as a full species; Southern Shrike-Tit (Pete Morris)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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