Australian Natural Adventures

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


Custom Itinerary for

Jacque & Bob Scheibel and Bob & Letty Brooks

wildlife crossing sign Australia

January 17 - February23, 2007

Day 1 –Wednesday, January 17: Honolulu/ In Flight

Air NZ plane Depart Honolulu at 11.45pm on Air New Zealand flight NZ9 for Auckland. Sit back and enjoy Air New Zealand’s well-deserved reputation for in-flight service and hospitality. (*M)

Day 2 –Thursday, January 18: Lost In Space
Today is lost to the international dateline, but you get it back on the return journey.

Day 3– Friday, January 19: LIS / Auckland / Sydney
Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand this morning at 8am. Walk across to your Air New Zealand flight NZ703 departing at 9am for Sydney, Australia, arriving at 10.30am. Pass through customs and immigration after which you are met and transferred to your hotel located in the Rocks, Sydney’s historical district, just a few minutes walk from the Opera House and Circular Quay. The Botanic Gardens and the Domain, good for birding and with its own colony of Grey-headed Fruit Bats, is also within walking distance. The rest of the day is free to relax after your flight. As well as a good range of interesting shops, some of Sydney's oldest and most colorful pubs, and best restaurants, are found within a ten minute stroll. Australia has developed its own cuisine, a far cry from the stodgy English-based fare of earlier years. Restaurants featuring a fusion of Asian, European and even native Australian food abound, often featuring the superbly fresh fish abundantly available from Australia's long coastline. The Taronga Zoo is a ferry ride across the harbor, and a lunch or dinner cruise is a good way to truly appreciate this water-side city. During today or tomorrow you may wish to take a guided tour of the Opera House; tours leave on the half hour from 9.30am until 4.45pm. This can be followed by dinner and a show, or just a show, in one of the Opera House theatres, depending on your tastes. Today and over the weekend the Rocks Markets are in place on the nearby streets, presenting an opportunity to mix with Sydneysiders, and see local arts and crafts, ranging from excellent to downright tacky.            (*B)

Day 4– Saturday, January 20: Sydney area
Birding today with a local birding group – you’ll be just one of the locals. Long Reef is renown for is array of waders from Ruddy Turnstones to Eastern Curlews - the gamut of possibilities is very exciting. So wear your slip proof foot wear, that doesn't mind a bit of wet and we'll dance our way over the rock platforms to view the selection at low tide. And just around the corner is a really special freshwater wetland with a fabulous boardwalk that holds kingfishes, cuckoos, even a resident Swamp Harrier. Refresh your spirit; learn and enjoy carefree birdwatching with a knowledgeable guide that teaches and shares sightings with you with equal joy. If birding is not the main aim for anyone today, or you return early, there is plenty else to do. On one side of Circular Quay is the Opera House, and lining the quay are cafes and restaurants, many offering al fresco dining. 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-harbour places such as Homebush (where the Olympics were held). You’ll see a 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. A pleasant ten minute walk north of the Gardens, along the edge of Farm Cove, brings you to the point known as Mrs Macquarie's Chair. This is probably the best place to get views and photos of the Bridge, Harbour and Opera House in one expanse. Immediately south of the Gardens/Domain is the Art Gallery, featuring an excellent collection of Australian art, including Aboriginal Art. A little further south, at the corner of Hyde Park, is the Australian Museum, with possibly Australia’s best collaustralian black opalection of Aboriginal artifacts and other pieces. It is also a very good natural history museum, naturally featuring Australian wildlife, geography and geology. On the other side of Hyde Park are the Hyde Park Barracks, home to over 15,000 convicts in Australia’s formative years; it has displays which give a good insight into Australia's early days. A downtown store, Art of Opal, has a very nice collection of Australia opals (plus some other gems, such as the exquisite pink diamonds from the Kimberley in Western Australian and Pacific pearls.) We've included a discount coupon for this store in your final package, as we can vouch for the service and quality of this shop.        (B)

Day 5 – Sunday, January 21: Sydney / Launceston / Cradle Mountain Lodge
This morning fly to Launceston, Tasmania on Virgin Blue flight DJ972 departing at 1cradle mountain lodge0.30am and arriving at 12.10pm. Pick up your rental car and begin your exploration of the Island State by heading west to Cradle Mountain Lodge, in Cradle Mountain National Park, a scenic drive through farmland and escarpment ecradle mountain national parkdge of about two hours. Check in to your Spa Cabin for two nights, and enjoy this scenically beautiful National Park. After you busy and pretty organized past two weeks, the time at Cradle Mountain has been left open for your own relaxation and arrangements. The friendly people at the Lodge will be happy to advise and make suggestions. Suggested is the Dove Lake Loop, an easy 2 hour walk along a track takes you under the shadow of Cradle Mountain, through the tranquil Ballroom Forest and back along the western shore of the lake to your starting point. You can arrange for any organized activities tomorrow today, if you wish, or just get good information about nearby walks and places to see. This evening after dinner discover more wildlife on the hotel’s evening nocturnal wildlife tour.       (B)

Day 6 – Monday, January 22: Cradle Mountain Lodgmassage cradle mountain lodgee
blue wrenContinue to explore this beautiful mountain Park and nearby area. There are numerous long and short walks through a variety of habitat, including Snow Gum, high country meadows and Australian tundra to tall wet forest. Naturally, each has its own suite of bird life. It may also be by this stage of your travels that some serious relaxing is order, and Cradle Mountain Lodge may be just the place.          (B)

Day 7 - Tuesday, January 23: Cradle Mountain / King’s Run
Leave the park and travel north then along the coast to Marrewah and Kings Run, arriving mid-afternoon. King’s Run is a former cattle property turned into a wildlife refuge. The features of Kings Rorange-bellied parrot tasmaniaun are the spectacular coastline & its nocturnal wildlife. The western boundary is the Southern Ocean that pounds a rugged foreshore studded with quartzite outcrops and an abundance of shorebirds. Inland heath land and low eucalypt areas containing rare flora help to support a rich variety of birdlife including many of Tasmania's endemic species. The rare Orange Bellied Parrot migrates through the property in autumn and spring. The former pasture areas are now a marsupial lawn grazed by wallabies, Common Wombat and bandicoots. These animals in turn support healthy populations of the world's largest carnivorous marsupials, Tasmanian Devils and Spotted-tail Quolls. With the co-operation of the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Branch owner Geoff has developed a method of viewing the Tasmanian Devil in the wild. There are no roads otasmanian deviln the property only sandy tracks; devils traverse these tracks during their nightly search for food. A scent trail is dragged along these sandy tracks to a rustic fisbrushtail possum tasmaniaherman's shack to view the devils that generally arrive within a few hours of sunset. The devils extraordinary sense of smell & hearing do not detect the guests watching in candlelight through a window as the animals feed on a road kill relocated from a local road. A "Devil Restaurant" as such where it's safe for them to eat! A soft outside light allows you to see a range of devil behavior and a simple sound system brings the sometimes "raucous vocalizations" inside the 'hide'. After an evening of amazing wildlife retire to your nearby accommodation for the next two nights, is a self-contained cottage at Marrawah, where the last Tasmanian Tiger was trapped. There is a café/store (and pub) in Marrawah for eats, and as the cottage is self-contained, you can get some stores for breakfast.          (B)

Day 8– Wednesday, January 24: King’s Run
Continue to explore Kings Run this morning, then head a few miles south Arthur River Township (more arthur river tasmania river boata small village) at the mouth of the Arthur River. Here board yazure kingfisherour small cruise boat to travel up the river through temperate rainforest and adjoining ecotone in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area. The guided cruise will stop about 10 miles up river, where your guide will lead you on a walk through the forest, and you enjoy a picnic lunch. Azure Kingfishers and other birds are usually seen along the river, and on the return White-bellied Sea-eagles swoop in to be feed with thrown fish. You get back from the cruise at 3pm, and return to your cottage for a relaxed evening - a walk along the wild coastline to enjoy the sunset, weather permitting, with a nice bottle of Tasmanian wine may be in order.                 (L)

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