Zoo America presents a 13 day wildlife tour to Australia. This fully escorted tour highlights the continent's unique wildlife, where about two thirds of the mammals, birds and reptiles occur nowhere else on Earth. Join your Zoo Leader, xxxxxx, on this once in a lifetime trip to the Land Down Under.


qantas planeDay 1 – Saturday: Los Angeles / Lost In Space
Fly from Birmingham to Los Angeles today, then depart late this evening on your flight to Australia. (*D)

Day 2 – Sunday: Lost In Space
Lose today due to the International Dateline, but regain it on your return journey.

Day 3 – Monday: LIS / Melbourne / Healesville Sanctuary / Melbourne
We arrivgreater glidere about 7am this morning in Melbourne, go straight to our hotel to freshen bruiser the koalaup, then head east of the city to Healesville, and its famous wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary was the first devoted to purely Australian wildlife, and is still recognized as the foremost native Australian wildlife zoo in the world. On arrival enjoy a welcome lunch, and get to know each other a little. We then are taken on a guided tour of the sanctuary, with plenty of opportunity for photographs, including many species seldom exhibited in zoo, such as the platypus, and walk among Grey Kangaroos in large free ranging groups. We then return to Melbourne and our hotel for our first night in Australia.
                                                                        Overnight Citigate Melbourne or similar. (*B,L)

Day 4 – Tuesday: Melbourne / Brisbane Ranges / Melbourne
This morning explore the hills and plains west of Melbourne to see wild kangaroos and koalas, abundant birdlife and demus at serendipiscover a rich Aboriginal heritage. We learn about native animals and plants both in the open-range grasslands of Serendip Sanctuary on the Western Plains and in the bush lands of Brisbane Ranges National Park. Within easy reach from the centre of the city of Melbourne, these environments providebottle feeding wallaby joey the perfect introduction to Australia's unique wildlife and local indigenous culture. Our experienced guide helps us find emus, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and other unique Australian wildlife. A delicious bush lunch is provided. The Brisbane Ranges are home to a large and healthy population of wild koalas and we rarely miss out on multiple sightings of these delightful creatures. In additional to the wildlife of the region during your journey your guide will share with you the great significance of the Western Plains to Aboriginal people. To end the day we stay in the bush, and enjoy an outdoors BBQ dinner.              Overnight Citigate Melbourne or similar. (B,L,D)

sydneyDay 5 – Wednesday: Melbourne / Sydney
We return to the airport this morning for a short flight to Sydney. We’ll drive into the city, then across the Sydney Harbour Bridge with its wonderful views of Sydney Htaronga zoo giraffearbour to Taronga Zoo, one of the world’s oldest. Here we are taken on a flying foxguided introduction, where we’ll learn of the Zoo’s many conservation initiatives around the world. We then have the rest of the day first to continue to explore the zoo at our own pace, and then take a ferry when we are ready across the harbor to see the city itself, and go to our hotel where our rooms and bags will be waiting. We’re staying in the heart of old Sydney, near the base of the bridge and in sight of and within a short walk of the Opera House and the Botanic Gardens, home to a colony of Grey-headed Flying-foxes. Explore some of Sydney’s excellent nearby restaurants and cafes for dinner tonight on your own. Overnight Rendezvous Stafford (B)

Day 6 – Thursday: Royal National Park
Royal Nlyrebirdational Park, a little south of the city, is the second oldest National Park in the Worlblue wrend, dedicated just seven years after the first, Yellowstone. Royal covers about 38,000 acres, and habitats include surf beaches, sandstone heath and temperate rainforest. We’re expecting a good variety of birds here, as well as goannas (in season) and wallabies. Royal National Park is home to Australia’s famous lyrebird, and this amazing mimic will be one of our targets today, but we also expect to see several species of parrots, the large Wonga Pigeon, Green Catbirds (a primitive bowerbird), the exquisite Blue Wren and a variety of honeyeaters. We’ll stop for a dinner of traditional Australia fish and chips before returning to our hotel. Overnight Rendezvous Stafford (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Friday: Sydneysaltwater crocodile / Cairns
After breakfast at the hotel we fly to tropical Cairns, Queensland, arriving about noon. We immediately board our bus to head north to the Daintree River, which flows from rainforest through mangroves to the Coral Sea. Ouraxure kingfisher nature cruise will help us understand the inter-connectedness of these three environments, while our guide points out river wildlife including the large saltwater crocodiles which live here. We’ll also see mudskippers, a fish adapted to spend hazel in rainforestmuch of it’s time on the wet land near the water’s edge, breathing through its skin and walking on developed fins. We return to Cairns via a walk in the rainforest with local Aboriginal people, and learn of the foods, medicines weapons and other necessities of learn they derived from this source. Once again there are many and varied restaurants near the hotel, and dinner is a chance to sample Australian cuisine. The local fish Barramundi is especially recommended, or an Asian/Australian fusion choice. Overnight Rydges Tradewinds or similar (B,*L,)

Day 8 – Saturday: Great Barrier Reef
Today we are introduced to one of the natural wonders of the world—Australia’s outer Great Barrier Reef, a series long-nosed butterfly fishof reefs extending for about 1,250 miles along the coast of Queensland, nearly to Psnorkeling great barier reefapua New Guinea. Most of the Great Barrier Reef, including the parts visited today, is multiple-use Marine Park, and part of a World Heritage Area. Our boat today is a snorkel and dive catamaran, which will take us to at least two separate places on the reef, including Michaelmas cay, home to tens of thousands of swirling – and confiding – seabirds, including frigatebirds, noddies and terns. 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 anoddies michaelmas caynd medium predators search for food. Schools of fifan coralsh twist and flash between the outcrops, and an occasional sea turtle may be seen. We’ll enjoy a marine biologist led tour on a glass bottomed boat, and scuba is available for certified divers (or you can try your hand at scuba on a special non-certified dive). Lunch is a tropical smorgasbord aboard. There is time after your return to visit Cairns downtown, for souvenirs and perhaps a meal at Red Ochre Grill, specializing in Australian native bush foods, using some of the plants seen on the aboriginal walk. This unique concept has introduced a whole new range of tastes to the Australian palate. Overnight Rydges Tradewinds or similar (B,L)

Day 9 – Sunday: Cairns / Atherton Tablelandsscarlet honeyeater
This morning we head up the ranges behind Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands, once completely covered in troplumholtz tree kangarooical rainforest, but now extensively cleared for agriculture. However, World Heritage listed rainforest still occurs, and this is the area of Australia with the most endemic and near endemic species of Australian wildlife, and many of these will be literally in our spotlight while we are here. Although not large in area, there are a variety of habitats, and so we’ll range widely here over these two days, including small eutrophic lakes, wetlands that attract large numbers of waterbirds, croplands that provide food for Brolgas and Sarus Cranes, and of course extensive stands of tropical rainforest. We’ll explore all of these, both by day and night. Birds found here includemusky rat-kangaroo Victoria’s Riflebird, one of Australia’s four boyd's forest dragonspecies of Birds of Paradise, rainforest pigeons, bowerbirds, pygmy-geese and other waterfowl, King Parrots, Sulphur-crested and in season Red-tailed Black cockatoos and many more. We’ll see the most primitive living kangaroo, the Musky Rat-kangaroo, the tree-dwelling Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo, wallabies, and up to four species of endemic and rare rainforest possums, including the striking, black and white Herbert River Ringtail and shy Green Possum. Overnight Chambers Rainforest Lodge (B,L,D)

red-legged pademelonDay 10 – Monday: Atherton Tablelandsgolden bowerbird
We continue to explore the Tablelands from our cabins situated in the rainforest itself. In the evening we’ll likely be visited by the locals, including Brush Turkeys, Red-legged Pademelons (a small wallaby), and Sugar Gliders. We’ll also spend time at a quiet creek, waiting for platypus to surface as they go about feeding in the morning or late afternoon. Between June and october we can watch hundreds of Brolgas and Sarus Cranes wheel in to their evening roost, while the Southern Cross stands out in the bright Milky Way above our heads. Overnight Chambers Rainforest Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Tuesday: Atherton Tablelands / Mareeba
We headrock wallaby granite gorge to the northern end of the Tablelands today, moving out of the rainforest into the black-necked storkdry rainshadow part. Over 40 miles rainfall drops from an impressive 120” at Millaa Millaa to less than 40” near Mareeba, with most of it falling in just two to three months. We’ll detour to a small gorge, where a colony of rock wallabies is not shy about asking for a hand-out, and rosellas and Great Bowerbirds can also be seen. A little past Mareeba is a wetlands sanctuary, which naturally attracts a significant bird population in this mostly dry region. As gouldian finchevening approaches our guide will take us out on the water in a small boat, quietly cruising around to see the wildlife. Large jabiru lodge tentBlack-necked Storks (often referred to as Jabirus in Australia) are often seen here, as are Black Swans. Over 200 species have been recorded, including the beautiful Gouldian Finch, which is the subject of a re-introduction program here. The common wallaby is the Agile Wallaby, and 19 other mammal species have been recorded. We’ll overnight here in the sanctuary in safari tents, complete with private bathrooms. We’ll fall asleep listening to the sounds of the Australian bush. Overnight Jabiru Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Wednesday: Mareeba / Cairns
We’ll be woken this morning by birdcall, likely including the laugh of the Kookaburra. After grabbing a qured-tailed black cockatooick snack we are taken on a guided bird walk, listening for and looking at the many wetland and savannahgrey kanaroos species found here. After a beautiful start to our day we return for breakfast at the main area overlooking the water. Mid morning we’ll leave here for Kuranda, about 25 miles away. Here we’ll visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, an enclosed area with many species of free-flying butterflies, including the brilliant blue Ulysses and spectacular, 7’ wingspan Cairns Birdwing. A guide will lead us through the sanctuary, explaining the life cycles of the various butterflies, and we’ll see all stages of their development. As the butterflies are free-breeding as well as free-flying, eggs are laid on the plants in the sanctuary, and harvested by attendants for dulysses butterflyevelopment before release back into the sanctuary. We’ll see prenuptial flights by hopeful males, and actual egg-laying by females. There are wonderful opportunities for close-up photographs of these sparkling jewels. After the sanctuary we mkuranda skyrailake a fascination descent from Kuranda at 1000ft to sea-level Cairns by a cable car that just skims the top of the rainforest; we can look down on the canopy from just a couple of feet away. We’ll make two stops on the way down, including one at a boardwalk through this evergreen canopy. Once in Cairns we return to our hotel overlooking the Esplanade; as well as a nice place for evening walks the esplanade is one of Australia’s prime shorebird areas, with a usual tally of over 20 species easily seen, even while seated on one of the benches. This evening we have a farewell dinner and tour wrap-up. Overnight Rydges Tradewinds or similar (B,D)

Day 13 – Cairns / Los Angeles
For those returning home today an early start, as the flight to Brisbane or Sydney leaves early to connect with the international flight back to Los Angeles. Due to the International Date Line arrival back into Los Angeles is about 7am this morning, allowing an easy connection to our home city. (*B,*M,*D,*B)

Many travelers would like to see a little more of Australia before or after the tour, and so we also offer personal, custom extensions, such as an extra day in Cairns to look around at its other offerings or for an extra trip to the reef, or more time in Sydney. Further afield, and depending on the season, we recommend our 4 or 5 Day Kakadu National Park Pre-extension, or 3 Day Ayers Rock, 5 Day Tasmania and 3 Day Kangaroo Island Post-extensions as some of Australia’s other easily visited but special places. Just click on the extension to see full details.


Date: tbd

Cost: $2800 not including air, but virtually everything else save a few meals here and there. Overseas tours are very dependent on exchange rates as well, and costs are necessarily calculated well in advance; due to these factors the tour cost may change somewhat in either direction (but not once final payment is made) due to currency fluctuations.

: restricted to a maximum of XX participants

Guides: fully escorted throughout by a Zoo America leader with additional expert naturalist guides in each location.

Accommodation: good quality private bath accommodation throughout, chosen for appropriate location, comfort and ambience, and appropriateness.

Included: All accommodation, guiding, permits fees & taxes, hotel, restaurant & similar gratuities, transfers (including non-group transfers if you arrive or depart at different times to the main party), land and boat travel, most meals, snacks & water while in the field. In short, most expenses associated with the trip within Australia. You'll also receive extensive information about Australia, a wildlife list, and on arrival in Australia a photographic guide book to the mammals.

Not Included: International and internal air & associated fees and surcharges, domestic air within the US where required, passport fees (but your Australia visa is included), alcoholic and most soft drinks, items of a personal nature such as laundry, or travel insurance which is strongly recommended. Our tour operator is a full service travel agency unless you advise otherwise will arrange all details of your air requirements from your home city to ensure a smooth fit with the tour program; if you prefer you can arrange your own air but please contact our tour operator beforehand to ensure your flights are suitable for the tour.


As space is limited please contact XXXXX on XXXXXXX to secure your place. A $500 deposit is required, which is refundable in part according to the tour terms and conditions which can be seen here.