Welcome to Birdquest

SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA

with Tasmania extension

Birdquest's Southern Australia including Tasmania birding tour is one of a series of Birdquest tours that comprehensively cover this island continent with its huge number of endemic birds. Our Southern Australia including Tasmania tour offers the most comprehensive coverage of this bird-rich and marsupial-rich region available, taking in Victoria, much of South Australia (north to the famous Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks) and beautiful Tasmania.

Saturday 12th October — Friday 1st November 2019
(21 days)


Tasmania Extension: Friday 1st November — Tuesday 5th November (5 days)

Leaders: Josh Bergmark and an assistant leader

Group Size Limit: 10

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

This splendid tour explores the fascinating bird life of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and makes a brief visit to New South Wales where we will hope to see the amazing Plains-wanderer, a unique species in a family of its own! (Pete Morris)

This splendid tour explores the fascinating bird life of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and makes a brief visit to New South Wales where we will hope to see the amazing Plains-wanderer, a unique species in a family of its own! (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 southern coastal region of Australia and the South Australian Outback. Southern 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 will begin in Melbourne, in the southeastern corner of the continent, where we will visit the wet sclerophyll hill forests of the Dandenong Ranges National Park in search of the aptly-named Superb Lyrebird and many other forest birds, and some excellent wetlands that hold Freckled Duck and numerous other species. We will also visit Philip Island, home to the rare Cape Barren Goose and the famous Little Penguin spectacle.

From the spectacular coastal areas southwest of Melbourne, where we will search for the seldom-seen Rufous Bristlebird and spectacular Gang-gang Cockatoo, we will head north into the interior to visit the dry eucalypt woodland of central Victoria, home to Powerful Owl, Painted Honeyeater and Speckled Warbler.

Moving still further northwards, we come to the wide-open grasslands of the Deniliquin area in southern New South Wales. Superb Parrots inhabit the wooded areas here and Inland Dotterels gather in the dry paddocks, but the highlight of our visit to Deniliquin is likely to be our evening spotlighting session, during which we have a great chance of finding the endemic and all-too-rare Plains-wanderer, the sole member of its family.

From Deniliquin we move west to the arid, bushy terrain of the ‘Mallee’, in northwestern Victoria and adjacent South Australia. In particular, we will concentrate on Little Desert National Park, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and the splendid Gluepot reserve, where we will hope to locate and enjoy the many specialties of this unique area, including the superb Malleefowl, Striated Grasswren, Mallee Emu-wren, the endangered Black-eared Miner, Purple-gaped Honeyeater and the rare Red-lored Whistler.

Our true Outback adventure will now begin, as we travel along remote desert roads into the heart of the South Australian Outback for seven nights. Although Australia is a highly developed country, with superb facilities for the visitor, this development has only recently started to reach into the vastness of the arid interior. Not long ago these fabulous areas were only accessible to 4x4 vehicles and camping was the order of the day, but recent road improvements and the construction of small motels and hotels mean that such hardships (and, admittedly, delights too) are no longer necessary. Nowadays one can travel by conventional vehicle along the famous Strzelecki and Birdsville Tracks while searching for the many specialties of Outback Australia and enjoy a conventional bed and a hot shower every night!

Near Mount Lyndhurst Station, on the remote Strzelecki Track we shall search for Thick-billed Grasswren and the very rare Chestnut-breasted Whiteface. Travelling north along the famous Birdsville Track, we will pass across vast gibber plains where the endemic Gibberbird may be found and we will explore several large sand dunes in search of the little-known Eyrean Grasswren. At Goyder Lagoon, we will visit a large lignum swamp which is home to the beautiful and localized Grey Grasswren. In recent years we have had an enviable record for finding some of the most sought-after Outback species of all, including Letter-winged Kite, Grey Falcon and Flock Pigeon.

Returning south, we will enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Flinders Ranges, where we will look for the recently-split Short-tailed Grasswren as well as the superb Yellow-footed Rock-Wallaby. Not far from Port Augusta we should find the recently-split Western Grasswren before the tour finishes at the city of Adelaide.

During the optional extension we will travel to the beautiful island of Tasmania. Here we shall wander through stunning mountain forests in the quest for yet another series of fascinating endemic birds ranging from Green Rosella to Black Currawong and from the declining Strong-billed Honeyeater to the rare and little-known Forty-spotted Pardalote. We will also watch smart Hooded Plovers on a beautiful beach.

A fitting climax to our Tasmanian adventure will be an excursion by air to remote Melaleuca in the wilderness region of southwestern Tasmania, where we will be looking for one of the worlds rarest birds, the migratory Orange-bellied Parrot, as well as the retiring Ground Parrot and Beautiful Firefinch.

Birdquest has operated tours to Australia since 1985.

Tasmania-only Option: You may opt to take just the Tasmania section as a stand-alone tour.

Tasmanian Devil Option: We can arrange for you to visit a remote part of Tasmania to see the increasingly uncommon but charismatic Tasmanian Devil, the largest surviving predatory marsupial (the Thylacine or Tasmanian Wolf is long extinct). There is a good chance of seeing this unusual species, but it is not guaranteed. There will also be a good chance of seeing Tasmanian Pademelon, Common Brushtail Possum and the delightful Eastern and Spot-tailed Quolls (marsupial ‘cats’). The extension will add two extra days and cost will depend on numbers. Please be sure to mention your interest in this extension at the time of booking.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/motels are mostly of normal Birdquest standard, but during the Outback section, the choice of accommodation is very limited and at some locations we will be staying at simple but adequate hotels/motels/guesthouses where bathroom facilities may be shared. Road transport will be by 4x4 vehicle and minibus. Roads are mostly good in the populated areas but mostly unsurfaced in the Outback, although far better graded and maintained than they once were.

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

Climate: In southern Victoria and in Tasmania, conditions at this season are changeable with periods of warm dry and sunny weather interspersed with cool, overcast and wet spells. In the southeastern interior and in the South Australian Outback most days are warm or hot, dry and sunny, but overcast conditions are not infrequent (although rain is unlikely at this time of year). It can be cold during the desert nights in the interior, so early mornings can be chilly.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are quite good.

Prices are provisional

Tour Price: £5890, €6950, $7720 Melbourne/Adelaide. Single Room Supplement: £800, €944, $1048. Deposit: £750, €900, $980.

Tasmania Extension: £1490, €1760, $1950 Adelaide/Hobart. Single Room Supplement: £160, €189, $210. Deposit: £200, €240, $260.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Also includes these flights: Adelaide-Hobart, Hobart-Melaleuca-Hobart.

Base prices for this tour are in Australian Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = AUD 1.770, €1 = AUD 1.500 and $1 = AUD 1.350.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

The splendid Malleefowl is a rare and declining mound-building Megapode that is restricted to southern mallee habitats (Pete Morris)

The splendid Malleefowl is a rare and declining mound-building Megapode that is restricted to southern mallee habitats (Pete Morris)

Rufous Bristlebirds often give brilliant views along the Great Ocean Road (Pete Morris)

Rufous Bristlebirds often give brilliant views along the Great Ocean Road (Pete Morris)

It's usually an excellent tour for catching up with the superb Australian Owlet-Nightjar (Pete Morris)

It's usually an excellent tour for catching up with the superb Australian Owlet-Nightjar (Pete Morris)

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos always demand attention! (Pete Morris)

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos always demand attention! (Pete Morris)

On Tasmania, as well as finding all of the endemics, we will take a spectacular charter flight to the far southwest of the island to see the superb, but sadly critically-endangered, Orange-bellied Parrot (Pete Morris)

On Tasmania, as well as finding all of the endemics, we will take a spectacular charter flight to the far southwest of the island to see the superb, but sadly critically-endangered, Orange-bellied Parrot (Pete Morris)

18 photos View Gallery Photos From SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA
We will be trying for a variety of nightbirds on this trip, including (Tasmanian) Masked Owl (Pete Morris)

We will be trying for a variety of nightbirds on this trip, including (Tasmanian) Masked Owl (Pete Morris)

... and the aptly named Powerful Owl, seen here with its headless Common Ringtail Possum prey! (Pete Morris)

... and the aptly named Powerful Owl, seen here with its headless Common Ringtail Possum prey! (Pete Morris)

Grasswrens are a feature of this tour with no fewer than five species likely. Amongst these, the Short-tailed Grasswren is restricted to spinifex-covered slopes in the Flinder's Ranges in South Australia (Pete Morris)

Grasswrens are a feature of this tour with no fewer than five species likely. Amongst these, the Short-tailed Grasswren is restricted to spinifex-covered slopes in the Flinder's Ranges in South Australia (Pete Morris)

... whereas the closely related Striated Grasswren inhabits spinifex in mallee habitats (Pete Morris)

... whereas the closely related Striated Grasswren inhabits spinifex in mallee habitats (Pete Morris)

We will have an excellent chance of finding the somewhat nomadic Freckled Duck (Pete Morris)

We will have an excellent chance of finding the somewhat nomadic Freckled Duck (Pete Morris)

During our outback adventure, we have a great chance of finding some of those much-wanted desert specialities such as Inland Dotterel (Pete Morris)

During our outback adventure, we have a great chance of finding some of those much-wanted desert specialities such as Inland Dotterel (Pete Morris)

... the localized Chestnut-breasted Whiteface (Pete Morris)

... the localized Chestnut-breasted Whiteface (Pete Morris)

... and the attractive Gibberbird (or Gibber Chat) (Pete Morris)

... and the attractive Gibberbird (or Gibber Chat) (Pete Morris)

And if luck is really on our side, we will come across some of the rarer, more nomadic, and highly-desirable outback specials such as the Letter-winged Kite (Pete Morris)

And if luck is really on our side, we will come across some of the rarer, more nomadic, and highly-desirable outback specials such as the Letter-winged Kite (Pete Morris)

... or Grey Falcon, both of which were photographed on our 2007 tour! (Pete Morris)

... or Grey Falcon, both of which were photographed on our 2007 tour! (Pete Morris)

Other outback rarities that we have a good chance of finding include the spectacular Flock Pigeon (Pete Morris)

Other outback rarities that we have a good chance of finding include the spectacular Flock Pigeon (Pete Morris)

... and the rare Australian Painted-snipe (Pete Morris)

... and the rare Australian Painted-snipe (Pete Morris)

More regular 'bushbirds' include the lovely Spotted Pardalote (Pete Morris)

More regular 'bushbirds' include the lovely Spotted Pardalote (Pete Morris)

... and on Tasmania, the exquisite Pink Robin (Pete Morris)

... and on Tasmania, the exquisite Pink Robin (Pete Morris)

... whilst the often elusive Pilotbird often shows up on this tour (Pete Morris)

... whilst the often elusive Pilotbird often shows up on this tour (Pete Morris)

Superb Parrot is aptly-named and one of several brilliant parrots seen on the tour (Pete Morris)

Superb Parrot is aptly-named and one of several brilliant parrots seen on the tour (Pete Morris)

... we even have a good chance of finding the elusive Eastern Ground Parrot on Tasmania (Pete Morris)

... we even have a good chance of finding the elusive Eastern Ground Parrot on Tasmania (Pete Morris)

... or even the rare Scarlet-chested Parrot (Pete Morris)

... or even the rare Scarlet-chested Parrot (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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