Australian Natural Adventures

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


Itinerary for

Matthew Oswald

October 5 to 22, 2005


Day 1 - Wednesday, October 5: Cincinnati / Los Angeles / Lost In Space
Begin your South Pacific journey by flying from Cincinnati on Delta DL1075 departing at 7.15pm and arriving inqantas logoto Los Angeles at 8.47pm. In Los Angeles collect your bags, then walk or take the airport terminal shuttle to the Tom Bradley Terminal, which is at the head of the horseshoe of LAX terminals. Check in early for your Qantas flight QF176, leaving at 11.20pm to Brisbane, Aqantas palneustralia, 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, meal and a movie. I would, however, recommend having dinner at the airport – there are a wide range of options upstairs, at the end of the ticket counters – then just relaxing on the plane.

planetsDay 2 - Thursday, October 6: Lost In Space
Lose today due to the International Dateline, but regain it on your return journey.

Day 3 - Friday, October 7: Brisbane / Cairns
You arrive in Brisbane this morning at 6.05am, pass through customs and immigration then transfer to your flight to Cairns, Qantas QF794 which departs at 9am and arrives at 11.15pm. As this is a domrainbow lorikeet Australiaestic flight, it will depart from the domestic terminal - please check for directions. On arrival in Cairns you will be met and transferred to your hotel, Tradewinds Esplanade. You can walk out of the rear of the hotel to the Esplanade, which runs along the bayfront. The hotel is directly opposite perhaps the best part of the Esplanade for shorebirds, so many wading birds can be seen feeding, and lorikeets and other colorful and noisy birds frequent the trees. It is a very short and pleasant walk through the new Esplanade Fogarty Park to the main downtown area, past cafes, shops and restaurants. One recommended restaurant is the Red Ochre Grill, where a range of native Australian plants and meats such as crocodile are a specialty.

Day 4 - Saturday, October 8: Great Barrier Reef
Today you picked up at your hotel at 7.35am to be introduced to one of the natural wonders of the world—Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a series of reefs extending for about 1,250 miles along the coast of Queensland, nearly to Papua New Guinea. On your trip today you experience two importacoral cay Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australiant features—a coral inner-shelf reef, and the sandy vegetated cay formed on one end. Michaelmas Reef lies about 22 miles off the coast just north of Cairns, with Michaelmas Cay on its southern tip. It is an important seabird rookery, which becomes apparent as you approach the mass of birds swirling constantly above the cay. The four primary spnoddies Michaelmas Cay Great Barrier Reef Australiaecies are Crested, Lesser-crested and Sooty Terns, and Common Noddy. Lesser Frigatebirds are usually present, as are Silver Gulls, Brown Boobies and Ruddy Turnstones. The cay, most of which is off limits, is a National Park within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. However, the birds are very tolerant of visitors and stand thickly along the beach, allowing us to approach them within a few yards. Immediately offshore in waist-deep water, the first of the corals can be seen. For those not used to snorkellinlongnosed butterfly fish Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australiag, there is no easier introduction—just walk up to your waist, and bend over. Brilliantly colored fish, giant clams, beche de mer and coral outcrops can all be seen. Easy swimming in shallow water brings us over coral “bombies,” heads of coral with their assortment of fishes, and hard and soft corals. Parrot fish glean algae from the coral, and small and medium predators seaemporer angelfish Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australiarch for food. Schools of fish twist and flash between the outcrops. An occasional sea turtle may be seen. You should tell teh boat people that you widh to see the birds, and you will be in the first island transfer boat off. After a while at Michaelmas you will move to another location at the very edge of the reef, where the fish and coral life is quite different. You return to Cairns about 5pm.  Your boat today is the Seastar, the only small boat to visit both Michaelams and the outer reef.      L


Day 5 – Sunday, October 9: Cairns / Atherton Tablelands
Today start an journey magpie geese Australiathrough the rainforests and outback of Australia's tropical north. Start early and head north to meet Chris Dahlberg at teh Daintree River at 6.30am for a 2-hour wildlife cruise on the Daintree River. As well as mangrove birds, plants and mudskippers, you will see saltwater crocs as they bask on the banks. Then head back south, turning up the range at Mossman to go to the Mareeba Wetlands, where guided on foot and guided boat tours you'll discover the birdlife of the tropical inland swampsaltwater crocodile Queensland Australias, including storks, egrets, ibis, ducks and black swans. Continue on to Granite Gorge, to see Rock Wallabies among the granite boulders. Continue south to explore the rainforests of the Atboyds forest dragon Queensland rainforest Australiaherton Tablelands. These World Heritage Wet Tropics listed rainforests, at an elevation of about 2,500 ft, are home to some of Australia’s rarest and most unusuamareeba rock wallabyl animals, including four kinds of very restricted possums, gliders, and the definitely weird tree kangaroo, a kangaroo which has adapted to a life in the trees, rather than on the ground. Much of this area is designated World Heritage, as is the Great barrier Reef just visited. There are huge specimens of strangler fig trees, and the smallest and most primitive kangaroo, the Musky Rat-kangaroo, can often be seen here, as well as fruit pigeons and brumusky rat-kangaroo Queensland Australiash turkeys. Suggested is a walk to see the Twin Kauris and then a light lunch before a one-hour cruise around Lake Barrine. This informative cruiseThe Chambers Queensland Australia usually manages to find Amethystine Pythons, over 12 ft long, sunning along the bank. Your accommodation tonight is The Chambers Rainforest Lodge, a small ecolodge in the heart of the rainforest. Here there is time to relax and enjoy the peace and wildlife which is plentiful here. There is plenty of wildlife right on the property, and at about dusk dozens of pademelons, a small rainforest wallably, emerge onto the grass.                       L,D

Day 6 - Monday, October 10: Atherton Tablelands
This morning you meet your guide at 6.30am at The Chambers for a full day and evening looking for wildlife. Alan Gillanders is a "step-aboard" guide, that is he joins you in yur vehicle, rather than using a bus. Spend the early part of the morning looking for platypus at a small stream. Some special birds will be seen, perhaps including the Golden Bowerbird at his huge bower, over 5 feet high. During the day your guide will explain the plants and workings of the rainforest. After a day of wildlife the evening is spent spotlighting for mammals and owls. The area visited for this is especially good for the strange Tree Kangaroo, which has taken to life in the rainforest trees. A variety of rainforest birds and other animals, perhaps including the leaf-tailed gecko - eight inches long and colored and shaped like a piece of bark - will be found and seen. 


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