Australian Natural Adventures

Birding in Australia

Custom Australia, New Zealand & Pacific tours and travel





Australia’s Outback offers not only great birding, with a number of endemics and restricted species, but also spectacular birding. Magpie Geese and other waterbirds can number in the millions in Kakadu's wetlands, while the morning mist on Yellow Waters rising to reveal jacanas, kingfishers, and many other species is serene natural beauty at its best. And not only the birds are spectacular; the Aboriginal rock art galleries, some dating back over 25,000 years, are of world importance, and visually stunning. In the Red Centre Uluru (Ayers Rock) dominates the surrounding spinifex desert.

Our outback tours include not just great birding, but also the other aspects of the Northern Territory that can't be missed - other wildlife, the Aboriginal culture, and superb scenery.

We've designed a Top End itinerary to take in tropical Northern Territory's varied habitats, including mangrove, riverine, humid vine forest, tropical woodland, savannah, wetlands and sandstone escarpment. Each has its own suite of species, and about 250 species occur in the region. Although we focus on the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, birding hotspots around Darwin, Katherine to the south, and just to the west of Kakadu are also included. While this allows for the best birding, we can adapt the itinerary to suit your own available time, while still have a superior birding experience.

Not enough birding? Want to see more? As experienced Australian birders we are familiar with virtually all the birding tours that include the Outback's Northern Territory, including Australia-based ones, and bird guides in Australia. We can advise on and book any of these for you, connect you with guides, and add the other travel arrangements necessary but often missing, such as international and internal air, extra accommodation and side trips. We can also create a completely custom birding tour to include the Northern Territory with other parts of Australia. We're also happy just to share our knoweldge of birding the NT with you, whether you're traveling with us or not. Just call us on 1- 877-VEGEMITE (834 3648).

We are Founding Supporters of Birds Australia's Newhaven Reserve, one of Australia's most significant desert biodiversity reserves, and the only protected nature reserve that has recorded the critically endangered Night Parrot. We continue to financially support Newhaven, which is now managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.


Darwin, Kakadu and Katherine


Day 1: Arrive in Darwin on your flight. You are met and transferred to your hotel, located on Darwin’s esplanade, overlooking the Beagle Gulf. As flights come in to Darwin at different times during the day, today is free to explore this small tropical city. However, as there is a nice area of bush on the cliff opposite the hotel, we’re sure your some of your first Northern Territory species, including Collared Lorikeet, will be seen today.

DAY 2: Enjoy an early breakfast, and then our Northern Territory guide will collect you from your hotel room at around 7:00am. Our first stop will be some mangroves in Darwin for waders and mangrove birds such as Pied Egret, Red-headed Honeyeater, Mangrove Robin, and possibly Chestnut rail if we are lucky (this visit may be swapped to the end of the tour depending on tide time). We then head east to Fogg Dam. This area was once a swamp attracting Magpie Geese and other waterbirds; in the 1960s it was converted to rice fields complete with dam. Not surprisingly, the local waterbirds appreciated the increase in food and permanent water in this often dry area, and their numbers increased dramatically. After some years the growers gave up, and the area was declared a sanctuary. This is an excellent area for egrets, White-browed Crake, Black-necked Stork, Brolga, forest and wet-grass birds such as Clamorous Reed-warbler and Tawny Grassbird. Yellow Orioles and Rainbow Pittas are found here, along with various honeyeaters, especially when the Melaleucas lining the road are flowering. As we continue to Adelaide River local lagoons off the possibility of Black Falcon, Little Curlew and Bush Stone-curlew. We finally arrive at our ensuite air-conditioned cabins in private eco-park near the Mary River National Park.         (B,L,D)

DAY 3: This morning after breakfast we will continue our tour in the vicinity of Mary River, visiting a number of dams and lagoons. Possibilities of birds today include Gouldian Finch, Buff banded Rail, Mangrove Golden Whistler and Broad-billed Flycatcher, Little Eagle, Yellow-billed Spoonbill and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. Tonight we will take a sunset and stargazing dinner cruise on the Mary River accompanied by both Freshwater and Saltwater crocodiles.        (B,L,D)

DAY 4: Start the morning with an early morning daylight cruise on the Mary River for the chance to vsaltwater crocodile northern territoryiew Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern, white phase Grey Goshawk and perhaps a python or two. We will then visit the nearby woodlands to search for Gouldian Finch, Black-tailed Tree-creeper and White-browed Robin while exploring a range of habitats from native bamboo to walking wallaby trails through grasslands. Around 185 bird species have been recorded in the area. We then move onto Mamaluka wetlands (Magpie Geese, Green Pygmy-geese and Glossy Ibis before entering Kakadu National park and our hotel for the night.         (B,L,D)

DAY 5: Early start this morning with a Yellow Waters Cruise (Little and Azure Kingfishers), then onto Nourlangie Rock for a chance at Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon and Banded Fruit-dove. This area is also famous for its Aboriginal rock art, and a reasonable chance of Black Wallaroo. A short climb to the lookout gives good views of the distant Arnhemland escarpment. Today we also visit Ubirr for more superb Aboriginal art; Short-eared Rock Wallabies are also found here.         (B,L,D)

DAY 6: This morning we will visit the Gunlom area to search for White-throated Grasswren (requires a reasonsably steep climb), Sandstone Shrike-thrush and Long-tailed Finch before heading south to Pine Creek to search for Hooded Parrot, a second chance at Gouldian Finch, Masked Finch and Partridge Pigeon. The area is also good for several parrots, including red-wings. Overnight at Pine Creek.        (B,L,D)

DAY 7: This morning we head a little south for the chance of Red Goshawk, Black-breasted Buzzard, Black-chinned and Yellow-Tinted Honeyeaters, Square-tailed Kite as well as another chance of Hooded Parrot. We the drive back to Darwin, stopping as required and as time allows. You are returned to your accommodation, where you clean up before a farewell dinner and recap tonight. Overnight in Darwin.           (B,L,D)

sunset yellow waters kakadu

Note: flights to some Australian cities depart around 1.30am, and if this is the case dinner and airport transfer will be included rather than the hotel. For those leaving the next day, there is both a shuttle service and taxis available for travel to the nearby airport; we can arrange these for you.

What’s Included
Included are all meals from breakfast on Day 2 until lunch on Day 7; accommodation from the evening of Day 1 to the evening of Day 7 (if required), transfer from the airport Day 1; river cruises, entry fees, GST, specialist guiding, bird list, and pre-tour information kits. Due to the weather patterns in the Top End some areas may not be reachable in before May or after November, or due to fire during the rest of the year, and we retain the right to vary the itinerary as local conditions demand, at the sole discretion of the guide.

Travel to and from Darwin is not included, but our fully qualified travel staff will be happy to arrange this at very competitive rates and we strongly suggest contacting us before any air arrangements are made. In Darwin and Kakadu several levels of accommodation are available, and we will be pleased discuss your preferred level with you. The tour cost is based on 4-star accommodation where available, and best available elsewhere.

Not Included
Travel to and from Darwin; meals Day 1; drinks with meals or during the day other than water; snacks along the way, personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls or internet fees; or tips to guides.

Due to seasonal variation in hotel and other costs, and the custom nature of these tours an exact cost in is not possible until number of participants and time of travel is known. However, allow approximately $3950 per person for two participants, and $2950 per person for four participants.

Naturally we can adjust this itinerary to fit your own time available to discover the birds of Australia's Outback - the Northern Territory.


<<< Back to Birding Introduction