Australian Natural Adventures

nature tours & travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific


Tourism Australia accredited Premier Aussie Specialist.
Accredited Tassie Specialist


Custom Itinerary for
Tim Bonsack &Family

May 26 - June 11, 2006


Day 1 - Friday, May 26: Florida / Los Angeles / In Flight
Fly to Los Angeles and transfer to the Tom Bradley Terminal, where you check in for your Qantas flight to Australia, which begins the moment you step aboard your Qantas plane. The Australian style is apparent—easy going, casually efficient and very friendly. Qantas is known for its excellent food and in flight service, so sit back and enjoy the hospitality, meals and a movie or two. The seats have individual video screens, and a range of entertainment options. Overnight In Flight.       (*D)planets

Day 2 - Saturday, May 27: Lost In Space
Lose today due to the International Dateline, but regain it on your return journey.

Day 3 - Sunday, May 28: LIS / Brisbane / Lamington National Park
You arrive in Brisbane this morning, where you pass through Immigration and Customs. Once outside tmountain view room O'Reillys Queenslandhe terminal you are met and transferred to Lamington National Park, about 2 ½ hours antarctic beech lamington national park queenslandsoutheast of the airport. Your accommodation is O'Reilly's Rainforest Guesthouse, one of Australia’s first ecolodges. Set in the lush mix of temperate rainforest and eucalypt forest of the mountains, O'Reilly's prides itself on its wonderful location, quality guides and accommodations. This afternoon begin your exploration of the surrounding forests. There are guided walks and talks by resident naturalists, as well as time to explore on your own, and the canopy walkway. At night there is spotlighting for nocturnal animals (although you'll also see the Brushtail Possums and Pademelons right at the lodge itself, as well as bowerbirds and parrots)), bush poetry and maybe a dance, and audio-visual presentations.     (*B,L,D)waterfall Lamington National Park Queensland

kookaburra australiaDay 4 - Monday, May 29: Lamington National Park
Continue your exploration of the park.        (B)

Day 5 - Tuesday, May 30: Lamington National Park / Brisbane / Cairns
This afternoon return to Brisbane to fly to Cairns, in the tropical north. Arrive early evening, and transfer to your accommodation, an executive suite at Tradewinds Esplanade, right on the Esplanade and closer in to Cairns. Some of Australia's best shore-birding is right outside the door.        (B,*M)

Day 6 - Wednesday, May 31: Great Barrier Reef
This morning you are picked up for a 30-minute drive south, through typical North Queensland countryside. Here you transfer to your boat, high up in a tropical river. As the boat makes its way tofrankland islands snorkeling queenslandwards the sea you first pass through canefields, then rainforest, and eventually the important mangrove ecosystem. Eventually you reach the sea, where a short 20-minute ride lands you at the Frankland Islands. These islands, once part of the mainland, are now isolated, and susea turtle frankland islands queenslandrrounded by coral reefs. On shore there is a small forest, where pigeons, doves and other rainforest birds roost and feed. The surrounding waters are alive with coral, reef fishes, giant clams and all the life forms of this rich underwater habitat. Unlike many parts of the reef, the coral starts just offshore, and can be seen by both wading, and evening walking along the exposed reef at low tide. On the other hand, world-class snorkeling and diving is just a few minutes further out, by small boat or swimming. Lunch is served under the trees, and it's not until about 3pm that you have to leave this island paradise. During the day a naturalist will lead you on a guided walk through the forest, and is available for a guided underwater snorkel as well.      (L)

Day 7 - Thursday, June 1: Atherton Tablelands
This morning your guide picks you up for 4 days of exploring North Queensland, ranging from the coastal rivers, upland rainforest and the dry outback. We first travel south, past our tropical island and head up to the Atherton Tablelands, about one hour away. The drive up the side is spectacular, with wonderful views across Trinity Bay to the Coral Sea. As you increase elevation you will notice a sudden transition from dry eucalypt forest to wet rainforest. Your accommodation tonight is Chambers Rainforest Lodge, deep in the rainforest. The lodge grounds are rich in wildlife, from birds to mammals, many of which are unafraid and will visit your cabin. Your naturalist guide knows this area very well, and as well as gaining an understanding of this unique rainforest area, you will look for platypus, musky rat-kangaroos, birds and many others. After dinner you will spend a couple of hours spotlighting for nocturnal wildlife, including the rare and endemic possums that occur only here, owls, and possibly the strange Lumholtz tree kangaroo. You will return to the Lodge about 10pm. Don't forget that it will be cooler up on the Tablelands, especially at night.         (D)

Day 8 - Friday, June 2: Atherton Tablelands
Today continue you to explore the Tablelands. The Curtain Fig and Cathedral figs are both spectacular trees, and the large Red Cedar at Gadgarra shows how impressive these trees can be. The walk around Lake Eacham is very enjoyable, and may give good views of large Scrub Pythons sunning on the lakeside grass, eels, and other wildlife. The day's itinerary will be decided in part by your guide's experience, and seasonal wildlife activity. This evening dinner can be had in one of several restaurants in Yungaburra, or you can make your own and enjoy the verandah of your lodge with the wildlife. You should make sure you are there just after sunset for John's own wildlife exposition.        (B)

Day 9 - Saturday, June 3: Atherton Tablelands / Laura
rock wallaby Mareeba Queensland Australia Head north today via Granite Gorge, home to a colony of friendly Rock Wallabies, and theAboriginal rock art Australia Mareeba Wetlands. The most noticeable change will be a sudden move from rainforest to dry, open country as you enter the rainshadow of the coastal range. As you go north the remoteness and isolation increase, and you could easily be thousands of miles from the lush, wet forests of Atherton. These two days will be spent exploring this remote region, where a highlight will be the Quinkan Aboriginal rock art near Laura. These significant galleries, in the caves and overhangs of a sandstone escarpment, are some of the best in Australia. The local Aboriginal people are the Ang-gnarra, who control access to the Split Rock galleries. Although Split Rock is the most easily accessed, the sandstone ridges, caves and overhangs in the area abound with some of the world's best and most significant rock art. The most fascinating aspect may be that some of these paintings continue to be touched up and even developed - there is nowhere else where such a connection has been maintained with this original form of human artistic endeavor. It is one thing to look at he work of a long-gone people, but a completely different one to look at work originally done thousands of years ago, and maintained to this day by those people's direct descendants.  There are few experiences to match this. Overnight at the Lakeland Hotel.       (B)

view from ridge laura queenslandDay 10 - Sunday, June 4: Laura / Cairnscrocidile on bank of Daintree River Queensland
Continue to explore the Laura area, returning early evening to Cairns. On the return, depending on time, a detour may be made tot he Daintree River, where you may see crocodiles basking on the river edges. Other wildlife, especially birds, also occur in the mangrove systems of the Daintree. Once again the precise itinerary of the day will be determined by yesterday's discoveries, wildlife activity and your guide's experience. Once again overnight at Tradwinds.



Your itinerary continues >>>>