Australian Natural Adventures

Birding in Australia

Custom Australia, New Zealand & Pacific tours and travel

The Birding & Wildlife Australia Itinerary continues...


Day 8 - Cairns
Today is free to look around Cairns, perhaps visiting the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Although designed in part as a tourist venture, the 16 year old concept began and remains today a means of introducing non-aboriginal people to the world’s oldest living culture, while at the same time showing by example to the Aboriginal people themselves that their culture, often ignored and looked down upon by its own people, is of great value and interest to others throughout Australia and the world. Activities here include the Aboriginal History Theatre, the Creation Theatre, the original Tjapukai Dance Theatre, a didgeridoo demonstration, spear and boomerang throwing, and descriptions of traditional foods and medicines.


Some may want to get another look at the Great Barrier Reef. We suggest a trip on a smaller boat, Tusa, which visits a number of sites along the inside edge, where the experience is quite different. There are different corals, fishes and other marine life. Again, all snorkeling equipment (including wet suits) and dive gear is provided, and an excellent lunch. The two reefs trips – a cay and the outer reef – will give you a much fuller appreciation of this natural wonder than a single visit could. L

Day 9 - Cairns / Brisbane / Lamington National Park
We return to the airport mid-morning for our flight south to Brisbane, where we are met for our guided transfer to O'Reillys Rainforest Guesthouse, in Lamington National Park. After passing through Brisbane and farming land the road winds up to some 3000 ft above sea level. We'll be stopping for birds, and usually whiptail wallabies, along the way. The road crosses the Sarabah range and travels through both the Canungra and Kerry Valleys, affording exceptional scenery. On arrival at the end of the road is O'Reillys Rainforest Guesthouse, renowned for its abundance of birdlife, splendid scenery and many trails through this lush sub-tropical rainforest. There will be time to check in, refresh and relax before heading down to a friendly and hearty dinner. During dinner one of the owners will describe the options (all included) from the variety available for the next day, and this evening, from bird walks to glow-worm gazing. L,D


Day 10 - Lamington National Park
A full day today at O’Reilly’s, starting with early morning walks for birds before breakfast (if you wish) as this is one of the best regions for endemic birds in Australia. Species including Satin and Regent Bowerbirds, Crimson Rosella, Scarlet-backed Fairy Wren, Superb Blue Fairy Wren, Rainbow Lorikeet, Pied Currawong, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brush Turkey, Wonga Pigeon, Paradise Riflebird and King Parrot are found within walking distance of the lodge. After breakfast you can enjoy several of the walks including the canopy walk amongst the tops of the trees with the birds. Southern Logrunner, Noisy Pitta, White's Thush, Yellow-throated Scrubwren and Green Catbird are typical trackside finds. On the guided walks, in addition to the birds, our naturalist guides will point out the unique plant and animal life along the trail, through both open country and rainforest. A stop will be made to enjoy a picnic lunch at the creek or under a fig tree, opposite the undulated cliff face that forms the Lamington Plateau. There are several different walks and excursions, all naturalist guided, or trails can be explored alone– all trails are well-marked and easy walking. Late afternoon birding down one of the many tracks may provide views of Alberts Lyrebird or Noisy Pitta. As dusk falls the sunset from your room's verandah or from the garden setting can be quite spectacular. As the evening approaches Pademelons - small rainforest wallabies - emerge to feed on the lawns; Sugar Gliders and Common Ringtail Possums feed in nearby trees and a Boobook Owl or Tawny Frogmouth may be seen. In the evening activities will be set by the lodge such as audio-visuals, visiting the glow-worms, and spotlighting for nocturnal creatures. B,L,D


Day 11– Lamington National Park / Brisbane / Sydney
We continue our exploration of this scenic and beautiful area, and its birds and other wildlife. Unlike the rest of your stay here, lunch is not included as you may prefer to use the time exploring. After lunch we transfer back to Brisbane airport for our 6.40pm flight to Sydney, arriving just after 8pm, and transfer to our hotel, located adjacent to Circular Quay in the heart of The Rocks, Sydney's historical district, and just a short walk to the Opera House, Botanic Gardens and other Sydney sights. B,*D


Day 12 - Sydney
After an easy early morning you meet your small group in The Rocks at 10.30am for a 1½ hour guided walk around The Rocks. The Rocks dates from the earliest settlement, and has many historical buildings including one of the first built in Australia (appropriately, by convicts). The rest of the day is free to explore this vibrant and friendly city. In addition to great shops to buy the needed souvenirs and gifts, just a pleasant walk is the Botanic Gardens, which has good views of the harbour, an abundant bird life, and a colony of huge Grey-headed Fruit-bats, whose wingspans are approximately three feet. The Australian Museum, with its impressive collection of Aboriginal artefacts and art, is within walking distance of the Gardens. If you wish you can take a guided tour of the Opera House – your hotel can arrange this. You may also wish to visit the National Opal Collection, a combination Australian Museum opal display and store, especially if you did not visit the Outback Opal Mine in Cairns.

The best way to really see Sydney Harbour is on a ferry. While there are tours that utilize the ferries, usually with lunch or morning tea, the cheapest way to do this is to simply buy a return ticket to one of the up-harbor places such as Homebush (where the Olympics were held). You’ll see Sydney Opera House Australiaa map of all the places they go at Circular Quay. The ferries have a snack/meal bar, and you can just get an easy lunch or snack there, sit back, and enjoy the ride. The ferry to Manly goes in the other direction, and as it passes the Entrance, where the harbor enters the Pacific, can get interestingly rough at times. This ferry will pass the Opera House and various other landmarks, and is also a good run.


Day 13– Sydney
This morning we are picked up for a full day out birding around Sydney. We'll be visiting various habitats, filling in southern birds and some area specialties. For those who prefer, a scenic day out to the Blue Mountains can be substituted. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner for those leaving us tomorrow.


Days 14 to16- Sydney / Melbourne
We head south by air this morning for the final leg of our journey. Victoria has a wealth of birds, many of which do not occur or are considerably more difficult to find north. Species such as Emu, Cape Barren Goose, White-fronted Chat, Mallee Fowl, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Long-billed and Little Corellas, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Red-rumped and Blue-winged Parrots, the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot, Spotted Pardalote, Grey Currawong, Pink Robin, Crescent and Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters are all on our list here. Victoria is also home to the Werribee Sewage Farm (which is far larger, and more fragrant, than ired kangaroos and emus Victoria Australiats name suggests), one of the four best shorebird sites in Australia, and a prime location of waterfowl including Pink-eared Duck, the very rare Freckled Duck, Musk Duck, Chestnut Teal and Australian Shoveller. Over two days we’ll search for these from the deserts of western Victoria to Phillip Island, and its nightly parade of Fairy Penguins. Along the way we’ll also see our share of mammals, including Koala, Western and Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Common Brush-tail Possum, Common Ring-tail Possum, gliders, and several more. We finish with a farewell dinner and recap.


Day 17: Melbourne / Los Angeles
Today we sadly bid farewell to Australia, and our new-found friends, to wing back home, arriving in Los Angeles in the morning of this same day, regaining our day lost to the Date Line on the way out. *L,*D,*B


Post-trip Extensions

We have arranged two post-trip extensions for those with more time. These are operated independently, and so both or either can be taken. Kangaroo Island is a more general wildlife-oriented tour, although the endangered Kangaroo Island Glossy Black Cockatoo should be seen. The Bruny Island, Tasmania, extension is more birdy, concentrating on finding all of Tasmania’s endemic birds.

Click here for the Extension Itineraries.

Click here for bird and wildlife list