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Australian Wildlife Overview Tour


wild koalakangaroo&jey















little red flying fox
Silver gull on
                        Dreamtime Beach

             
  • Get close enough to wild kangaroos and wallabies for some great photos
  • See koalas, platypus,kookaburras and other iconic Australian animals as well as others you may never have heard of. 
  • Spotlight for possums, owls, frogs nocturnal creatures
  • Explore mountain rainforest, eucalypt forest, wetlands, quiet beaches and other  habitats seeking birds, reptiles, butterflies and other wildife and absorbing the atmosphere of the ecosystems they are part of
  • Visit a wildlife park specialising conservation breeding of threatened species (and a chance to see northern species such as crocodiles, tree kangaroos and cassowaries)
  • Deepen your understanding of what makes Australia so different to other world regions, through your take-home book or CD on Australia's wildlife groups, our Wildlife Ecology Centre and commentary and discussions throughout our tour

Tour departs 9.00am Wednesday (BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL!)
from Brisbane Transit Centre (Roma Street), or your city or south-side accommodation (other by arrangement with sufficient advance notice)
, arriving back after dark on Friday (exact timing depends on flight of flying foxes, which changes with day-length and weather).

We can, for an additional $44 per group, pick up from the airport, but it is better to arrive in Brisbane at least the night before and get a good sleep. Our itinerary is designed to give you the best chance of seeing a variety of wildlife, and it is a pity if you are so tired by mid-day after an international flight that you miss out on seeing the  animals we won't see on the other two days.


Click here for Prices of our tours (in Australian dollars)



OUR REGION: South-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales harbour the third highest diversity of species in Australia, including many icons such as kangaroos, koalas, platypus, wedge-tailed eagle, lyrebird and laughing kookaburra. It is also has wonderful scenery, many different habitat types, and a good climate throughout the year. We seek many animals in the wild and also introduce you to some rare and threatened species in a wildlife park dedicated to conservation breeding.

NOTE: We cannot guarantee any particular species on any particular day, but there are some  species we rwould be very surprised to miss out on, and we always see a variety.

Accommodation:  choose from a beautiful secluded bed-and-breakfast, or a 'primitive' campground (all camping gear provided).

Like a 4-day tour with more marine life included (and maybe an Aboriginal experience)? Click here to find out more.







Daisy
                        Hill State ForestDaisy Hill Koala Centre koala at Daisy Hillred-necked wallabyDAY ONE of the wildlife tour

We leave the city and head straight to the eucalypt forests (typical 'Aussie bushland') of the Daisy Hill State Forest. Here you are introduced to some of the important families of bushland plants and what they mean to wildlife, as well as some of the local birds, arboreal and terrestrial termite mounds,  and - if we are in luck - koalas. 
In the winter months, and sometimes in warmer parts of the year, we also see wallabies still out grazing on the grassy stretches (they will soon stretch out to sleep during the day under the shelter of the forest.
After a cuppa under the gumtrees (during which you will be given your Australian wildlife book) we will enter the Koala Information Centre for a close-up look at captive koalas in a walk-through enclosure (no touching), a native beehive and  interpretive displays.

lunch in
                      Beaudesert Eagleby WetlandsIf time permits we'll have a quick look for waterbirds at the Eagleby Wetlands (ducks, swamphens, swans, egrets, often kingfishers, grebes, stilts, spoonbills, herons, occasionally glossy ibis, magpie goose, black-necked stork, avocet)  before heading on for a tasty and filling lunch in Beaudesert.

Kangaroos, wallabies and waterbirds are the focus of our next search, in Kooralbyn (an Aboriginal name for a local snake). No matter if it's raining - the kangaroos don't seem to mind much and we can usually get closer to them and to the red-necked and whip-tail wallabies anyway by staying in the vehicle and quietly cruising nearer (some excellent photo opportunities here). If we do leave the vehicle we either watch them from afar, or gradually approach by walking not directly towards them but as though we're going straight past, and backing off if they show any signs of nervousness.
photographing
                        kangaroos walking past roos Kooralbyn
  eastern grey kangaroo and joey  jacana whiptail wallaby

 

platypusWildlifeEcologyCentremarine habitatOn to the Araucaria property to visit the Scenic Rim Wildlife Ecology Centre, have a cup of tea/coffee and sit and wait by the creek just before dusk in the hope of seeing wild platypus.  While waiting, we often see turtles, catfish, cuckoodoves, honeyeaters, kingfishers and other wildlife. The platypus are more predictable in the latter half of the year, when they are breeding and don't stray far from their nests, but they are around throughout the year.
If you are camping you will now help to erect the tet that will be your home for the next two nights.


bobuckspotlighting Now we head off  to the forsts looking for possums, owls and other nocturnal wildlife  in the eucalypt forests and rainforests.  Some nights we don't see much at all, other times we see and hear a vaiety, with possibilities including red-necked wallaby, red-necked pademelon, koala, common brushtail possum, mountain brushtail possum, greater glider, squirrel glider, sugar glider, fruitbats, barn owl, boobook owl, sooty owl, tawny frog-mouth, owlet nightjar, carpet python, various frogs and king cricket (Australia's largest - and carnivorous - cricket). Guests staying at the Bed and Breakfast can then settle into their rooms at Cougal Park and enjoy a delicious home-cooked dinner Campers also join in for dinner here if there are B&B guests on the tour: otherwise we  head to Rathdowney Hotel, a typical Aussie pub, for a hearty country meal. Click here for more details on your accommodation/camping.

Cougal Park

camping at Andrew
                        Drynan Reserve




Antarctic Beech TreeDAY TWO of the wildlife tour

World HeritageRise early if you wish to do some birdwatching in the forests at Cougal Park or birding and platypus-spotting along the creek next to the campground. After breakfast we head to the wonderful Border Ranges National Park (continuous with the Lamington NP on the Queensland side of the border). where we spend the day exploring the World Heritage rainforests.  Don't expect to see mammals - they are mostly nocturnal, although do very occasionally make an appearance), but we always hear and usually see a good variety of birds, and very often goannas, skinks and carpet pythons in the warmer months.

We visit both a warm subtropical rainforest with giant trees, palm groves and a waterfall, and a small area verging on cool temperate rainforest with the Gondwanan-linked Antarctic beech trees, the tallest moss we've ever seen, tall Araucaria trees  (hoop pines) and  massed treeferns along the creek. Nearby there is also a magnificent specimen of one of the few remaining large red cedars. We also get our first view of Mt Warning, the centre of the gigantic shield volcano that form the mountain range we are standing on.

Border Ranges
                        National Park

Springtime (September to November) is an especially good time here, with the reptiles getting more active and many birds breeding and calling. Summer and autumn can be good for seeing fruit-eating birds and reptiles, and late autumn to winter is the time to listen for Albert's Lyrebird males performing their extraordinary repertoire of mimicry.

viewing wild koalagreat barred frogWe sometimes also see koalas in the tall eucalypt forests near the rainforest.

It's now time to head back to. Cougal Park and/or Andrew Drynan Reserve. If there is time before dinner you may like another go at platypus-viewing or exploring the Scenic Rim Wildlife Ecology Centre and nature trails at the Araucaria property, or otherwise just relax and freshen up for dinner.  Let us know if you would now like an early night or if you would like to do a bit more spotlighting for frogs, possums and other nocturnal creatures.




DAY THREE of the wildlife tour

Mt
                      WarningAfter breakfast we skirt around the southern side of the ranges formed by the Tweed volcano (the centre of which is now  known as Mt Warning), stopping along the way to look  for freshwater turtles and  see a large grove of  grass-trees, some of which  must have been here since before white settlement, and finally get a further view of Mt Warning.

We stop briefly at the  Rainforest Information Centre in Murwillumbah ( "place of many possums")
to view the interpretive displays, and continue on towards the coast.

At Fingal we walk through coastal banksia woodland, to a natural  sandy beach with pounding surf, which we follow to the basalt cliffs, the easternmost flows of ancient lava. From the cliff-tops we often see dolphins and sometimes turtles and stingrays. We usually see terns, and sometimes gannets, ospreys or sea eagles. We also view basalt columns similar to the Giant's Causeway of Ireland.

 The
                        beach at Fingal

Fingal Heads

The Wildlife Park we now visit was started by the zoologist David Fleay in the 1950'2.  David was the first to ever breed the platypus in captivity, and one of the last people to interact with a living thylacine. He was successful in breeding many rare species and when in his 80's he handed his precious property over to National Parks for a low sum, and they have continued to breed rare and endangered species to ultimately be returned to the wild, which some of them, such as the Proserpine rock-wallaby  now have been.  Here we see animals you will not see in captivity anywhere else in the world, such as the mahogany glider, the Julia Creek Dunnart and Lumholtz tree kangaroo, and it is also an opportunity to see northern species such as cassowaries and both Australian species of crocodile. It is one of the few places we can watch the platypus swimming under water, using its rubbery bill to seek vibrations and electrical impulses from its prey. There are also animals that bring themselves in from the surrounding bush and make the park  their home, from eastern water dragons to nankeen night herons and magpie geese.

platypus at David
                        Fleay Wildlife Park mahogany glider cassowary at David Felay Wildlife Park brolgas courting black-necked stork
  croc0dile_in_water eastern water dragon nankeen night heron

Hundreds of thousands of large and noisy fruitbats ('flying foxes') have usually begun to get very restless with the approaching dusk by the time we arrive at their colony in an outer Brisbane suburb. We watch as more and more summon up their courage (no one seems to want to be first in case it is still light enough for an eagle to be watching) and finally they all head off for a night of foraging on fruit and nectar.

little red flying
                        fox flight
                        of the fruitbats

Then it's time for farewells at your accommodation or transport (remember to take your new wildlife booklet with you).




Like a 4-day tour with more marine life included? And an introduction to local Aboriginal culture?

Extra day, extra wildlife

whale-watchingIf booking far enough in advance, we may be able to start on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, and add in a fourth day which includes a full morning of either snorkelling (November to May - often  seeing turtles underwater and dolphins near the boat) or whale-watching (June - November, during the migrations of the humpback whales to and from Antarctica). Allow an additional $330.00 for adults or $220 for children, which covers the marine tour as well as additional accommodation, meals etc.
There is also an Aboriginal museum nearby, run by Aboriginals and including an indoor section and a walk including mangroves, a plant use trail and a ceremonial bora ring (entry $15.00).
We can also run this tour Wednesday - Saturday (instead of Tuesday-Friday) but then we miss out on the Aboriginal Museum.






family
                                                          viewing
                                                          waterbirdsWith small group sizes (usual maximum is ten), this is not a hurried herding of tourists on and off buses, into souvenir shops, etc. Our emphasis is on spending time in a variety of scenic natural habitats at the times of day that maximise our chances of seeing native mammals, birds, reptiles and other wildlife.You will have ample opportunity to tell us your interests, and although we can't fulfil every wish (for instance, when seeking wild animals , we can't guarantee  particular species, and we can't ask them to change their daily schedules to fit with conventional human mealtimes) we will try to make your days as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. You can let us know any time you want to stop for photos or anything else of interest, and ask as many questions as you like - if we don't know the answers we will suggest ways of finding out.

We uphold the ideals of ecotourism: environmentally sound, quality information, nature-based and supporting local communities. All our tours  have achieved advanced eco-accreditation


We are members of Ecotourism Australia, Wildlife Tourism Australia (Ronda is vice-chair), Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (Ronda is  chair of the Scenic Rim group), Scenic Rim Escapes, and Brisbane Marketing