Southeast and Tasmania
10–26 September 2014
Extension to 30 September
Following our successful southwestern endemics Australia tour, we are now pleased to offer this exciting new southeastern Australia and Tasmania endemics tour. A large number of endemic Australian species can be found only in southeastern Australia or along the east coast. Added to which, there are at least 12 species endemic to Tasmania as well as many endemic sub-species.
Day 1 Overnight flight from London to Melbourne.
Day 2 Arrival in Melbourne and transfer to a motel for a two-night stay.
Day 3 We will spend the day leisurely visiting various metropolitan parks and wetlands and exploring the eucalypt forests of the Dandenong Ranges. Some key species we will look for include Superb Lyrebird, Pilotbird, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Rainbow, Musk and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and Rose Robin.
Day 4 Today we will drive east to Gippsland, then south to Wilson's Promontory. Habitats include a variety of beaches, mudflats, mangroves and eucalyptus woodlands. The main species we will be looking for include Cape Barren Goose, Hooded Plover, Sooty Oystercatcher, Pacific Gull, White-fronted Chat and numerous honeyeaters. In the evening, we will visit Phillip Island and enjoy its 'penguin parade' as hundreds of Little Penguins come ashore under the cover of darkness to avoid predators. Overnight in Gippsland.
Day 5 We will head east from Gippsland for the long drive to Mallacoota through wet eucalyptus forests, coastal heathland and estuaries. During the drive we will look for various key species including Glossy Black-cockatoo, Wonga Pigeon, Olive Whistler, Bell Miner, Satin Bowerbird, Rufous Fantail and Red-browed Treecreeper. Two nights Mallacoota.
Day 6 Today we will visit the Croajingalong National Park where our target species will be Eastern Whipbird. This secretive bird has an extensive range up the east coast of Australia but only just creeps into the eastern edge of the state of Victoria.
Day 7 After breakfast we will head back west again, birding as we go. Night in Barnsdale.
Day 8 Today we'll head inland to Chiltern–Mt Pilot National Park. In 1997 this park was set up to protect the box-ironbark forest that once covered much of northeast Victoria. It is now home to one of the few scattered populations of the endangered Regent Honeyeater, and during our afternoon in the park we'll search for this scarce species. Other birds that we will hope to see include Royal Spoonbill, Red-necked Avocet, Turquoise Parrot, Speckled Warbler, Spotted Quail-thrush, Fuscous, Black-throated, Blue-faced, Painted and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters and Diamond Firetail. The park is also home to the rare Brush-tailed Phascogale and Squirrel Glider. In the evening we will look for Barking Owl. Night in Chiltern.
Days 9–10 We will move on to Echuda with its Terrick-Terrick National Park, Kerang Lakes and Goschen Bushland Reserve. The main reason for visiting the area is to look for the enigmatic and secretive Plains-wanderer one evening. We will be led by an expert local guide as this bird is notoriously tricky to find. Other birds we may see during our excursions here include Australian Bittern, Stubble Quail, Little Button-quail, Inland Dotterel, Superb Parrot, Crested Tit-shrike, Gilbert's Whistler, Apostlebird and Striped Honeyeater. Two nights in Echuda.
Days 11–12 In the Mallee country of northwest Victoria, we will explore the Hattah-Kulkyne, Murray-Sunset and Wyperfeld National Parks. Species we may see include Little Eagle, Collared Sparrowhawk, Malleefowl, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, Little Corella, Regent Parrot, Bluebonnet, Yellow Rosella, Mallee Ringneck, Rainbow Bee-eater, Mallee Emu-wren, Splendid Fairywren, Striated Grasswren, Hooded Robin, Chestnut-crowned and White-browed Babblers, Southern Whiteface, Red-lored Whistler, Black-eared Miner, Grey-fronted Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped and Inland Thornbills, Crested Bellbird and Grey Currawong; Chestnut Quail-thrush and Southern Scrub-robin may take more work! Two nights in Ouyen.
Day 13 Today we will begin our journey back south until we reach the Little Desert National Park. Continuing on, we will eventually reach the mountains of the Grampian National Park. En-route we will look for Square-tailed Kite, Black-eared Cuckoo, Speckled Warbler, Slender-billed Thornbill, Black-chinned Honeyeater, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Bassian Thrush and Eastern Yellow Robin. Overnight in Halls Gap.
Days 14–15 Continuing further south towards the coast of extreme south-western Victoria we will look for the shy and elusive Rufous Bristlebird. Other species we will search for along the coastal beaches, heaths and open ocean include Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, Short-tailed Shearwater, Black-faced Cormorant, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Blue-winged Parrot and White-eared Honeyeater. Two nights in Port Fairy.
Day 16 Before we leave Port Fairy, we may have time to arrange a visit to the sewage works first thing to look for Banded Lapwing, Black-tailed Native-hen and waders. Next, we'll visit Brisbane Ranges National Park in search of Koalas and 'bush' birds including Hooded and Scarlet Robins, Satin Flycatcher, Olive-backed Oriole and Buff-rumped Thornbill. A marsh near Geelong may have Latham's Snipe as well as a variety of local waterfowl including Chestnut Teal. We'll then head down the spectacular Great Ocean Road to Airey's Inlet where we'll look for the local Rufous Bristlebird and from where a seawatch from a nearby headland may give us Shy Albatross. On the way back to Melbourne, we'll stop at Weribee in search of Striated Fieldwrens that sulk in the saltmarsh and we might find a pair of the rare and endangered Brolga Cranes. We will arrive back in Melbourne in the evening for either an overnight stay for the extension or an international flight back to the UK.
Day 17 Arrival back in the UK at the end of the tour.
Day 17 Morning flight from Melbourne to Hobart in Tasmania. On arrival, we will visit Mount Wellington, which, on a clear day, gives spectacular views. Walking through a nearby glade with giant tree ferns provides our first chance to see the endemic Black Currawong, Scrubtit and Tasmanian Scrubwren as well as Pink Robin. If there is time, we will visit some other reserves around Hobart. Overnight in Hobart.
Day 18 Today we will fly out to Bruny Island and spend two full days looking for all the Tasmanian endemics and some other specialties of the area. We will spend some time on north Bruny Island before visiting some southern coastal areas where Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Olive Whistler and Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo are a possibility. Also, there is a chance to see the Tasmanian subspecies of Short-beaked Echidna in the wild. After dinner, we will visit the Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwater rookery to view these species at their burrows. Two nights on Bruny Island.
Day 19 We will take an early morning bird walk at "Inala", a privately owned 500 acre Land for Wildlife property on south Bruny Island. This is a refuge for a number of threatened birds and home to all of the Tasmanian endemic species. Birds we are likely to see include the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote, Strong-billed, Black-headed and Yellow-throated Honeyeaters, Tasmanian Native-hen and possibly Swift Parrot. In the afternoon we will explore a number of different habitats, from coastal beaches to rainforest, for Hooded Plover, Scrubtit and Tasmanian Thornbill. After dinner, we will make a nocturnal excursion to look for Tawny Frogmouth, Southern Bookbook and Masked Owl, although finding these birds requires a slice of luck, and a range of Tasmania's nocturnal marsupials including Eastern Quoll and Golden Bennett's Wallaby and Brush-tailed Possums.
Day 20 Today we will leave Bruny Island after breakfast and travel to a National Park near Hobart. This area will give us another chance of species such as Black Currawong, Scrubtit, Yellow Wattlebird, Pink Robin and Crescent Honeyeater. There is also a chance of seeing Platypus in the wild. We will then take a late afternoon flight back to Melbourne to connect with our international flight back to the UK.
Day 21 Arrival back in the UK at the end of the tour.
General information The climate can vary from cool to mild with some rain to be expected. There will be a moderate amount of walking, mainly on good terrain. There are no special medical requirements and insects are not a major problem. Visas are required. Distances are quite long but the roads are good and driving is relaxed, with plenty of opportunities to stop. Accommodation standards are good with most motel and lodge rooms having en-suite facilities. Expect to see around 200 species.
Group size Minimum number for tour to go ahead: 8; maximum group size: 10 with 1 leader or 16 with 2 leaders.