No fancy hotels but plenty of genuine Australian outback experience

Currawinya
                                                          NP in the
                                                          Australian
                                                          outback
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Araucaria
                                                          Ecotours

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 Outback wildlife tour (6 days 5 nights - can be extended)

RATES: please click here for prices  of our tours (in Australian dollars)

Tours depart from Brisbane (we can advise you of the best locations to stay the night before)
One night of camping included  (all gear provided by us), other nights possible on request

Up to four tours per year: two in each of autumn and spring




OUTBACK TOURS 2012:


April 19, 2012 will be our most likely starting date for the next tour

Also see
the Araucaria Blog  for previous trip reports


Let us know when asking about our tours
if you'd like extra days, and what your main interests are - e.g. birds, photography ..

driving
                                                          into
                                                          Currawinya
                                                          National Park




Come along  with us way out west to the land of red sands, red kangaroos, emus and Major Mitchell cockatoos ... Mulga country. Coolibah country (remember the jolly swagman?), semi-arid shrublands, and  also waterholes, the Paroo River, and vast inland lakes (Ramsar-listed because of their importance to inland bird breeding)

Warning: this is not a luxury tour. There are no five star or even four-star hotels out where we're traveling., and apart from the first and last nights you will not have an ensuite bathroom (mostly you'll need to go to a separate small building out the back - basic and possibly occupied by frogs but quite adequate and safe, and very typical Aussie Outback) 
Our vehicle is not a luxury coach either, but a Toyota 'troopie', favoured by many outback residents because of its reliability, so riding in one is in itself a real outback experience, and of course we  carry plenty of water, 2-way radios and spares of all essentials just in case we do have problems in a remote place.

AUstralian
                outback: Currawinya National PArk

major mitchell
              cockatooThe Granites, Currawinya National Park
galahs on an outback
          treeIt's not an endurance test though - we do our walking in the cool early mornings and late afternoons, and our purpose  is not to cross wide distances but to feel the atmosphere of the outback and see the animals that live there. While driving we make plenty of 'comfort stops' as well as pausing to look at anything of interest along the way.  We sleep in comfortable beds (and for camping comfortable air-mattresses or hammocks) and enjoy some great meals, and you really get a taste of the 'dinkum' (genuine) Australian Outback, meet the locals (both human and otherwise)  and absorb the vastness of the outdoors without crowds around you trying to do the same. If you would like a little pampering as well, try soaking in a mudbath while sipping wine and nibbling nuts and dry fruit at the Eulo date farm (additional cost).

The first day's travel takes us to St George.  There are different definitions of 'outback' but this is where we feel it really begins - we leave behind cotton, wheat and other crops and head out into long stretches of free-range grazing country and natural semi-arid woodlands, and of course red sandy soils.  We've usually seen a few emus, apostlebirds, black kites and outback parrots long before reaching St George, and we take a few breaks to
stretch our legs and stroll around some ineresting places.

Our main destination is the Currawinya National Park.  Here we will be right away from the  forests of the coast and into red sands and outback vegetation such as mulga (Acacia aneura) and poplar box (Eucalyptus populnea), gidgee (Acacia cambagei), semi-arid shrublands  and other outback plant communities.
Currawinya
                National Park in Australia's Outback


Being genuine outback, this is dry country, some of it bordering on semi-desert, yet it has a great variety of watered areas. The Paroo River, on the banks of which we spend one night camping,  is lined with eucalypts that teem with birds when they are in flower. Two vast lakes - one saltwater ( Lake Wyara ) and one freshwater (Lake Numalla) are collectively one of the most important Ramsar-listed sites in Australia  for outback waterbird breeding.  Added to this are various waterholes which are great for sitting quietly nearby waiting for kangaroos and birds to come for a drink at dusk or dawn.

Much of the land is fairly flat or gently undulating, so the outcrop at the Granites, consisting of granite dating from 230 and 310 million years ago, provides a dramatic contrast.

outback scenes from
                Currawinya National Park

We tend not to see many mammals other than kangaroos, but there are emus in abundance, many other birds (brolgas, waterbirds, parrots, honeyeaters, woodswallows ...) and a number of reptiles (sand goanna, shingleback skink, Central Australian bearded dragon, carpet python and others) that we come across fairly frequently.

Currawinya National Park is also the site of release of the captive-bred, cutely 'odd', and sadly endangered bilby. One lady at the David Fleay WIldlife Park, watching one of their bilbies, was heard to say "it sort of looks like ... like... no, there's nothing that looks like!" The lesser bilby became extinct after white settlement, and the greater bilby has been rapidly heading in the same direction, but the marvellous efforts of the Bilby Brothers and their supporters might just save it. The release site is off-limits to the public, but
we can view a sample of the cat-proof, fox-proof, rabbit-proof fence that surrounds their home. 

On some of our visits we cmp by the Paroo River. We bring tents, but we ourselves prefer sleeping in comfortable hammocks, from which we can note the movements of the stars, hear animal voices through the night, see pelicans sail down the river by moonlight, watch the sun rising over the Paroo and be ready for the dawn chorus.

caming by the Paroo RIver in
                the Australian outback

One or possibly two nights will be spent at Bowra, a former cattle station now owned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and regarded as a birdwatching 'hotspot', with over 200 species sighted, including several very rare ones. Kangaroos and other wildlife live there also in the many different habitats on this vast property, and we've also seen Burton's legless lizard there.

We pass through (and sometimes stay overnight at) Eulo, a small town you can easily walk from the cetre of to watch kangaroos, eagles, cockatoos, woodswallows and many waterbirds. Here you can also pay $60 to indulge in a mudbath and locally-produced moisturiser that really does make your skin feel wonderful, or buy some delicious home-made sticky date liqueur and other goodies. Near Eulo also is a waterhole sometimes frequented by Halls babbler and Bourke's parrot. We've managed to see the parrot on previous trips, but have yet to spot the babbler.

Eulo

The small border town of Hungerford (population at our last visit was eight) is just to the south of the national park, and we often spend a night at the Royal Mail Hotel, where the Cobb and Co. Coach used to call.

What to bring: sunhat, sunscreen, torch (flashlight), sensible footwear (at least one pair of covered shoes - sneakers are fine if they have grip-soles), sandals or thongs for relaxing,  raincoat (not likely to need it but anything can happen), cool lightweight clothes, preferably at least one shirt/blouse with long sleeves for sun protection, something warm for night time (shorts are okay for most days), something to swim in, personal items (toothbrush etc.) and any medications (we have a firstaid kit but cannot legally give you pharmaceuticals - even aspirin or paracetamol - and  we'll mostly be a long way from pharmacists).

 


outback