Welcome to Birdquest
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
Tasmania Extension: Friday 1st November — Monday 4th November (4 days)
Leaders: a Birdquest leader and an assistant leader
Group Size Limit: 9
Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations
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.
Tasmanian Devil Extension: Providing there are three participants or more (plus our leader), we will operate a three days extension to a remote part of Tasmania to look for 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 by no means a certainty. There will also be a good chance of finding Tasmanian Pademelon, Common Brushtail Possum and the delightful Eastern and Spot-tailed Quolls (marsupial ‘cats’). Please let us know on booking if you are interested in this extension. Cost will depend on numbers.
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.
These are provisional prices
Tour Price: £5890, €6950, $7720 Melbourne/Adelaide. Tasmania Extension: £1260, €1490, $1650 (ending in Hobart).
Price includes all transportation (including the Adelaide-Hobart and Hobart-Melaleuca-Hobart flights), 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: £800, €944, $1048. Tasmania Extension: £120, €141, $157.
Deposit: £750, €900, $980. Extension: £150, €180, $200.
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.
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
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