Wild Australia: Rainforest To Reefs

Wild Australia: Rainforest To Reefs

  • Next tour dates OPEN 
  • Duration 14 days
  • Lodging 3-4 stars
  • Difficulty Moderate
  • Group size Max. 8 people
  • Price USD $TBD per person*

Overview

Australia is a vast continent, extending over 7,600,000 square kilometers and encompassing a variety of beautiful landscapes, including deserts, tropical rainforests, high mountains and of course, the Great Barrier Reef – and underwater wonder. 

Considered a mega diverse country, Australia is home to some unique wildlife found nowhere else on Earth, including the spectacular Duck-billed Platypus, which we will search for on this trip. Additionally, over 40% of its more than 800 bird species are endemic. 

During this 2-week Australia birding tour we will get a taste of some of the amazing experiences that Australia has to offer. We will travel from wetlands to rainforests, and from sandy beaches to gently flowing rivers, in search of some of the country’s most iconic birds and wildlife, such as Southern CassowaryWhite-bellied Sea-EagleLaughing KookaburraSuperb Fruit-DoveSatin Bowerbird and Victoria’s Riflebird.

Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVAL TO CAIRNS

Our Australia birding tour begins in Cairns. Upon arrival at the Cairns Airport, we will transfer to our hotel and, as time allows, spend the afternoon birding near Cairns City and  the Northern Beaches regions which encompass lowland swamp forest, freshwater wetlands, mangroves, mudflats, riparian and intertidal zones. We will search for several key species including VariedYellowGracefulYellow SpottedBrown and  Brown-backed honeyeatersHornbill FriarbirdOrange-footed ScrubfowlBrush TurkeyPied Imperial PigeonRainbow and Scaly-breasted lorikeetsDouble-eyed Fig ParrotsYellow OrioleEastern OspreyBrahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea-Eagle, plus a number of waders/shorebirds, waterbirds and terns.

DAY 2: GREAT BARRIER REEF

Today we will visit the outer Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s top natural wonders. We will visit Michaelmas Cay, an important seabird island refuge and marine park. Here, we’ll  have the opportunity to snorkel the reef, which is home to more than 1,800 species of fish and 450 species of coral. We hope to see angelfish and starfish, White-tipped Reef Sharksgiant turtlesbutterfly and parrot fishsea cucumbers, and a host of other species. Bird species include Greater and Lesser frigatebirdsBrown BoobySooty TernCrested TernWhite-capped NoddyRuddy Turnstone, and occasionally Red-footed BoobyMasked BoobyRed and White-tailed tropicbirds and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

RAINBOW BEE-EATER BY JONATHAN MUNRO

RAINBOW BEE-EATER BY JONATHAN MUNRO

DAY 3: DAINTREE

Departing Cairns quite early, we will take the scenic coast road northwards to Daintree. We will make strategic stops along the way for birding and wildlife viewing. In the afternoon, we will bird around Stewarts Creek and the Daintree valley. After lunch, we will take a late afternoon cruise along the Daintree River. Today, we will have a chance to explore lowland rainforest, dry sclerophyll woodland, mangroves, pasture lands and extensive freshwater (billabong) wetlands. Some species we hope to see today include Green Pygmy-GooseComb-crested JacanaBeach Thick-knee (Stone-Curlew), Radjah ShelduckHornbill FriarbirdMangrove RobinCollared and Forest kingfishersVaried Honeyeater, and Purple Swamphen.

DAY 4: CAPE TRIBULATION

Before breakfast, we will enjoy another cruise along the Daintree River (2 hrs) to search for some species we may have missed in the afternoon yesterday. After breakfast we will cross the Daintree River by cable ferry and travel the scenic coast road through lowland rainforests to Cape Tribulation, passing through lowland rainforest, paperbark swamp,  and riverine/riparian habitats. The target species for today include Great-billed HeronPapuan FrogmouthDouble-eyed Fig-ParrotShining FlycatcherLittle (Gould’s) Bronze-CuckooMangrove RobinLarge-billed Gerygone,  Azure Kingfisher and Lovely Fairy-Wren. We will also keep our eyes out for some of Australia’s signature reptiles such as Estuarine CrocodileCommon Tree SnakeEastern Water Dragon, and Amethystine Python.

DAY 5: ATHERTON TABLELANDS

This morning we will depart Daintree. We will continue our Australia birding tour as we cross the Rex Range and head to the Atherton Tablelands. We will make some strategic stops along the way for wildlife viewing and birding. Today we will visit Granite Gorge, Mareeba Wetlands, Lake Mitchell, Mt. Molloy and Abattoir Swamp, passing through dry sclerophyll woodland, savannah/savannah woodland, arable/pasture lands and extensive freshwater (billabong) wetlands. Species we will search for today include Tawny FrogmouthApostlebirdGrey-crowned BabblerNoisy and Little friarbirdsNorthern FantailBlue-faced HoneyeaterGreat BowerbirdSquatter PigeonRed-winged Parrot, and Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo.

SPOTTED PARDALOTE PHOTO BY JONATHAN MUNRO

SPOTTED PARDALOTE PHOTO BY JONATHAN MUNRO

DAY 6: MORESBY RANGE

Today we will explore Moresby Range National Park, Etty Bay and Mourilyan. Target species for today will include Southern CassowaryWhite-Eared MonarchPied Imperial PigeonBlack ButcherbirdOlive-backed SunbirdMacLeay’s Honey-eaterLatham’s SnipeWhite-breasted WoodswallowRainbow Bee-eaterWhite-bellied Sea-EagleEastern Osprey, and Brahminy Kite

DAY 7: WARRIGAL PRESERVE

Today will visit some important wetland areas, as well as the Warrigal Highland Rainforest Preserve – a 300-acre private wildlife refuge. The property adjoins the largest single tract of tropical rainforest remaining in Australia and has been used as a scientific research site for rare arboreal mammals and is now recognized as having one of the largest concentrations of rare rainforest ringtail possums in Australia. In addition, 239 species of birds have been recorded in the preserve, including all the local endemics.Target species include GoldenSatin and Tooth-billed bowerbirdsVictoria’s RiflebirdChowchillaBower’s Shrike-ThrushFern Wren and Atherton Scrub-Wren, Pied Monarch, Mountain Thornbill, Bridled, White-cheeked and Lewin’s honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebill, Sarus Crane, Australian BustardWedge-tailed Eagle, Cotton Pygmy-GooseAustralian White-eye, Comb-crested Jacana, Channel-billed Cuckoo, and Jacky Winter.In the evening we will do some ‘spotlighting’ looking for rare arboreal mammals, such as Tree Kangaroo and several species of possums.

DUCK-BILLED PLATYPUS BY JONATHAN MUNRO

DUCK-BILLED PLATYPUS BY JONATHAN MUNRO

DAYS 8-9: CRATER LAKES

Before breakfast, we will search for one of Australia’s most unique species – the Duck-billed Platypus. After breakfast we will continue birding around the Atherton Tablelands including Crater Lakes National Park, Lake Barrine/Lake Eacham and Bromfield Crater. We will search for Victoria’s Riflebird, Spotted CatbirdSuperbRose-crowned and Wompoo fruit-dovesWhite-headed and Topknot pigeonsEmerald DoveGrey Goshawk, Black-shouldered KitePheasant Coucal, Plumed Whistling-DuckMagpie GooseAustralian PelicanPurple Swamphen, among many other species. In the evening, we will search for mammals around the lodge, hoping to spot Sugar Gliders, Striped Possum and Red-legged Pademelon.

DAY 10-12: GULF SAVANNAH

Today we will say farewell to Lake Eacham and travel the Kennedy Highway to Georgetown – making strategic stops along the way. We will spend the last few days of our tour birding and wildlife watching in this area. Some target species include Red-backed KingfisherMasked, ZebraStarBlack-throatedDouble-barred and possible Gouldian finchesPictorella MannikinBandedRufous-ThroatedRufous-BandedBar-breastedYellow-tintedGrey-frontedGrey-headedWhite-gaped and Yellow honeyeatersCockatielRed-winged ParrotVaried Lorikeet, GalahDiamond DoveCommon BronzewingSpinifex PigeonGreat BowerbirdApostlebirdGround Cuckoo-Shrike, and Red-browed Pardalote.

DAY 13: RETURN TO CAIRNS

On our final full day of the Australia birding tour we will leave Georgetown for our return  to Cairns, making strategic birding spots along the way.

DAY 14: DEPARTURE

After breakfast, our Australia birding tour will conclude. We will transfer you to the Cairns Airport for your flight home, or the hotel of your choice in the area, for those continuing their adventure in Australia on their own. If continuing on the the New Zealand: A Land to Discover Extension, we will travel to the Cairns Airport together for departure.

Species

BIRDS

  • Southern Cassowary
  • Orange-Footed Scrubfowl
  • Australian Brush-Turkey
  • Magpie Goose
  • Black Swan
  • Plumed Whistling-Duck
  • Wandering Whistling-Duck
  • Australian Wood Duck
  • Pink-Eared Duck
  • Grey Teal
  • Radjah Shelduck
  • Hardhead
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Cotton Pygmy-Goose
  • Australian Grebe
  • Great-Crested Grebe
  • Australasian Darter
  • Great Cormorant
  • Australian Pelican
  • White-necked Heron
  • Royal Spoonbill
  • Australian White Ibis
  • Sarus Crane
  • Brahminy Kite
  • Wedge-tailed Eagle
  • White-bellied Sea-Eagle
  • Australian Bustard
  • Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove
  • Peaceful Dove
  • Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Rainbow Lorikeet
  • Budgerigar
  • Pallid Cuckoo
  • Common Koel
  • Papuan Frogmouth
  • Azure Kingfisher
  • Sacred Kingfisher
  • Laughing Kookaburra
  • Blue-winged Kookaburra
  • Rainbow Bee-eater
  • Mountain Thornbill
  • Noisy Miner
  • Yellow Honeyeater
  • Eastern Yellow Robin
  • Victoria’s Riflebird
  • Golden Bowerbird
  • Satin Bowerbird
  • Red-browed Finch
  • Welcome Swallow

MAMMALS

  • Duck-billed Platypus
  • Eastern Grey Kangaroo
  • Common Wallaroo
  • Agile Wallaby
  • Whiptail Wallaby
  • Red-Legged Pademelon
  • Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo
  • Lemuroid Ringtail Possum
  • Coppery Bushtail Possum
  • Sugar Glider
  • Long-nosed Bandicoot

REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS

  • Eastern Water Dragon
  • Boyd’s Forest Dragon
  • Carpet Python
  • Common Tree Snake
  • Giant White-lipped Green Tree Frog
  • Roth’s Tree Frog
  • Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog
  • Saw-shelled Terrapin
  • Estuarine Crocodile

TOUR BASICS

Guide: Yeray Seminario
Single Supplement: US$690
Lodging: Nice, clean and comfortable with private bath
Food: Hearty local and international cuisine
Weather: Warm temperatures during the day. A jacket or sweater is recommended for evenings.
Difficulty: Moderate. We will be doing some walks, but at a gentle pace, and some days will require long hours driving on bumpy roads.

*For more information on what is included/not included, as well as our booking and cancellation policies, please review our Terms & Conditions.

* With smaller groups, an additional fee will be charged.