Eastern Australia’s Mammals Tour
November 1 - November 16£1294 – £6205
Eastern Australia’s Mammals Tour
Australia seamlessly blends rugged wilderness, rich diverse and unique wildlife with top notch accommodation, first class cuisine and fine wines better than any other country. The country is vast and offers a comfortable and safe environment in which to take a holiday of any sort and in terms of safaris offers the chance to see some of the world’s strangest wildlife.
The country is the size of a continent but is also very sparsely populated with people, making this a mecca for wildlife watchers. But the size of the country is also a problem for anyone wishing to see it all in one trip; so we have produced this itinerary which visits several areas over 3 states and a rich diversity of habitats. By visiting Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria we hope to showcase a vast array of wildlife and many of the species which make this island continent unique.
Australia has been isolated from the rest of the world for around 60 million years. In this time the organisms have evolved into a unique flora and fauna and a staggeringly large number of endemic species. Perhaps the strangest are the monotremes, the world’s only egg-laying mammals, such as Platypus and Short-beaked Echidna (of which we have very good chances of seeing) as well as iconic pouched mammals (marsupials) including Koalas, various species of Kangaroos and Wombats.
Birds too are well represented, from the giant Southern Cassowaries to tiny Little Penguins and vibrant Rosellas and Cockatoos; reptiles are also supersized here with large crocodiles, monitors and snakes found in many places in Australia. All of these and much much more all make Australia a true wildlife enthusiasts dream, as well as being a country that can be visited time and again without repeating the same locations.
Top Animals on Tour
Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo
Hobart / Bruny Island
This morning you will be collected from the airport (an early arrival is needed) and we will head straight away to catch the morning ferry to Bruny Island. The Bruny Island ferry crosses the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The island is in fact two islands, North and South Bruny, joined by a narrow isthmus known as The Neck. Both have the highest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere, all 12 endemic birds and the only wild population of white wallabies in the world which you can easily see at close quarters by taking a walk at dusk to Grass Point. There is much to enjoy here including many beautiful walks through pristine forests and along stunning beaches that look south towards Antarctica. Our accommodation whilst on Bruny Island will be Inala, which has a long and proud history in wildlife rehabilitation, caring for injured and abandoned animals. Together with your guide, you will explore the 1,500 acre property which is home to a variety of threatened species and all the Tasmanian endemic birds and many mammals. After dinner your guide will take you to see the Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwater rookery to view these birds returning after dusk. Penguins can be viewed all year round, in varying numbers, but Shearwaters are only present between September and April. You will then head off to see some more of Bruny’s nocturnal and abundant wildlife such as Tasmanian Pademelons and Eastern Quolls which are now only found in Tasmania, as well as Bennett’s Wallabies and Brush-tailed Possums. You will return to the cottage after the tour.
Today your touring will continue around Bruny Island. Your guiding today will also include the three-hour Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise which departs Adventure Bay on South Bruny. You will cruise alongside some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs, beneath towering crags and drift up close to listen to the awesome ‘Breathing Rock’. Enter deep sea caves, pass through the narrow gap between the coast and ‘The Monument’ and feel the power of nature at the point where the Tasman Sea meets the might of the Southern Ocean. You will join in the search for the abundant coastal wildlife such as seals, dolphins, migrating whales and sea birds. After the cruise returns you will continue your touring on Bruny Island before dinner, after which you will enjoy another evening of nocturnal wildlife spotting.
Bruny Island – Bonorong Sanctuary
This morning is your final chance for watching wildlife on Bruny Island, then after an early lunch you will leave Bruny and retrace your drive back towards Hobart and onward to the east coast via a private tour at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (~2 hours). Bonorong is a sanctuary, not a zoo, and it is a wonderful place to see all Tasmania’s endemic and native species in a natural environment. It also has one of the most important Tasmanian devil sanctuaries in the state, along with the endangered Tasmania tree frog breeding programme. After our tour here we will continue to our accommodation situated at the mouth of the Prosser River, Orford is a little settlement with great views over Maria Island, where you are touring tomorrow.
Today we will catch the ferry to Maria Island and meet our local guide to explore the island. Maria Island is a mountainous island National Park, situated 15km off the East Coast of Tasmania. It is in fact two landmasses joined in the middle by a long sandy isthmus, with stunning beaches on either side. The island is 22km long and 12km wide. The beaches are pure white granite sand. Maria Island is also renowned for its unique geology. You will enjoy viewing volcanic mountains, painted sandstone cliffs, towering limestone cliffs, ancient granite cliffs and beautiful white sandy beaches. Maria Island is a Noah’s Ark for endangered wildlife, including Tasmanian devils, and 11 of the 12 endemic birds. It has no resident human population, just two park rangers. During your day on Maria Island you should be able to spot the many resident Wombats, Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Tasmanian Pademelons, Possums and other species if you keep a sharp eye out. Tasmanian devil numbers state-wide have declined dramatically due to the Facial Tumour Disease. Maria Island was chosen as a site for captive breeding and 15 Tasmanian Devils were introduced to the Island in 2012 which have now bred successfully. (Maria Island had previously been devil-free). You will all return on the 5 pm ferry which arrives back at Triabunna at 530 pm. You will drive back to your B&B where dinner is again being provided for you.
Great Western Tiers
Today we will make the 229km (~3 hour) drive to Forest Walks Lodge in the Great Western Tiers. Along the way we will stop at the historic township of Swansea which is worth a little wander around. Our destination would be the Freycinet Peninsula today (an additional 45 minutes’ drive). The Freycinet Peninsula is regarded as one of the State’s most iconic coastal areas, although these days it is also one of the most intensely visited with little tourism infrastructure to cope with the numbers who flock here. Most people visit the Freycinet Peninsula to bush walk, with a number of options ranging from the several hour trek into Wineglass Bay and around the Hazards to the much easier Sleepy Bay walk, the Cape Tourville Lookout Walk and the Friendly Beaches Walk. Many species of birds live in or stop over at Freycinet and the surrounding area. Birders are often lucky enough to see a white-bellied sea-eagle gliding overhead or large Australasian gannet diving for food in the ocean. In the bushy and forested areas it is often possible to see or hear small nectar-feeding birds such as eastern spinebill and yellow-throated, crescent or New Holland honeyeaters, and the large yellow-tailed black cockatoos, which often feed and fly in raucous groups. After exploring some of Freycinet Peninsula we will continue onward to Jackeys Marsh which is in the Great Western Tiers, and in particular our accommodation at Forest Walks Lodge.
This morning after breakfast you will enjoy a guided forest walk before leaving Forest Walks Lodge and commencing our drive to another wonderful little eco hideaway, Mountain Valley Retreats in the hidden valley of Loongana, near Leven Canyon (~2 hours). In a wide valley at Eugenana, in the hills in northern Tasmanian near Devonport, the wonderful Tasmanian Arboretum can be found. The lake focuses the landscape and there are a many short and long walks. A popular spot for birding, this provides a habitat for Platypus, which can often be easily spotted by eagle-eyed visitors. When we arrive at our accommodation we will settle in and then in the evening we will have a walk around. Deep in the north west of Tasmania, this is one of the only places you may be lucky enough to see Tasmanian Devils and Quolls in the wild, and you are likely to see platypus in the wild too.
Today is a second day at Mountain Valley to further explore Leven Canyon. The walk to the Cruickshank Lookout will take you to an elevated position of 275m above the Leven River. It is only around 45 minutes return with some steep terrain and 697 steps on the Forest Stairs Track. The views are nothing short of breath-taking. There are many other longer walks to enjoy here. Kaydale Gardens, a short drive away, are also worth a visit. The garden imposes itself on the landscape, a stunning garden designed, constructed and maintained by a visionary family. To maximise our chances of seeing wildlife today I recommend spending time on the Fern Walk and the Forest Stairs Walk.
Cradle Mountain National Park
Leave Mountain Valley in the morning and drive to Cradle Mountain (1.5 hours), one of Tasmania’s most iconic landmarks. When entering the park we will head to the accommodation and after checking in we can enjoy one of the many walks around the lodge. Cradle Mountain Wilderness Lodge is nestled in a secluded bush setting in the Cradle Valley on the very edge of the World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair National Park. It is on the right hand side as you drive towards the entrance to the National Park, just towards the grid. There is much to see and do to enjoy the majesty of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park during your short stay here. Opportunities for bush walks are almost limitless, to suit all ages and abilities. Please take careful note of the weather forecast before setting off on any long walks and ensure you sign in at the walkers’ registration booths as the weather can change very quickly and there is no mobile phone reception. Ensure you are well equipped with suitable clothing and water. New regulations imposed by the Parks & Wildlife Service mean that you can no longer drive your car through the boom gate to the national park during the hours of the shuttle bus operation (8am to 4:30pm). The shuttle buses run a very regular operation and your National Parks Pass gives you free use of the buses. However you are very close to the entrance to the National Park and if you wish you can take your car down the road to Dove Lake after 4:30pm and spot wombats. If we arrive at Cradle Mountain in time, you can enjoy the easy walk around Dove Lake (around 2.5 hours) or to get away from the tourists, opt for the longer and slightly more challenging Crater Lake Walk, which is also the start of the famous Overland Track and begins at Ronny Creek. It is a lovely walk. Weather permitting, you can also continue to Marion’s Lookout for incredible views – the last part does involve a bit of a scramble but it is worth it – or keen walkers can even make it to the summit of Cradle Mountain. We will also visit Ronny Creek to watch wombats shuffling out of the gloaming. This is one of the top (but least known) wombat spotting places in Tassie especially since mange has decimated numbers in Narawntapu, and one of the best kept secrets at Cradle Mountain. Look out for their cube shaped poo. They are completely habituated and a few minutes’ patience will invariably reward you with many sightings. You can often get within touching distance and they will even push past your legs to get to their desired grazing spot. This evening you are booked on the 5:30pm ‘After Dark’ Feeding Tour at Devils@Cradle which is an excellent sanctuary dedicated to Tasmanian devils and their cousin the spotted-tail and eastern quoll although you are likely to see wombats and wallabies too. Quolls are especially elusive even in most sanctuaries, and the here are therefore an easy way to see them in a very natural environment. You will also be given a fascinating insight into both species and the challenges faced by the Tasmanian devil as it fights the devastation of the Facial Tumour Disease which has decimated the species.
Launceston / Cairns
This morning we will leave Cradle Mountain early (around 6:30-7am) as we have a 2 hour drive to get to the town of Launceston in time to drop off our hire vehicle and then catch our flight to Melbourne, we will then transfer in Melbourne to our flight to Cairns, arriving in the northern town around 6:10pm and from here we will get a taxi to the guest house for the night.
Cairns / Atherton Tablelands
This morning our local guide will meet us in Cairns and then take us a few wildlife watching destinations today as we make our way towards Atherton Tablelands. Firstly we will visit Centenary Lakes, which is a good location for many bird species including Striated Heron, Little Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth, Black Butcherbird, Yellow Oriole, Brown-backed Honeyeater, Rajah Shelduck. From here we will visit Mareeba where Eastern Grey Kangaroos are our major mammal target and then various birds such as Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Red-winged Parrot, Pale-headed Rosella, Olive-backed Oriole, White-cheeked Honeyeater. We will also visit Granite Gorge, where the Mareeba rock wallaby can be found along with birds such as Squatter Pigeon, Tawny Frogmouth, Great Bowerbird, Yellow Honeyeater, Striated Pardalote and the iconic Australian reptile, the Frilled-neck Lizard. We will then drive across the Atherton Tablelands looking for various wildlife including Whistling Ducks, Sarus Crane, Brolga, Australian Bustard, raptors and then in the evening we will look for the cranes flying to their roost at Bromfield Swamp.
This morning we will rise early and after a light breakfast head to the wonderful Cathedral Fig, as well as the magnificent tree and the possibility of giant white-tailed rat we will try for birds such as Chowchilla, Eastern Whipbird, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Pied Monarch, Spectacled Monarch, Black-faced Monarch, Red-backed Fairy-wren and rainforest pigeons. We will have morning tea at Lake Barrine and look for Victoria’s Riflebird, Tooth-billed Bowerbird and Great-crested Grebe as we have a cruise on the lake. Later we will explore the Mt Hypipamee area and in the day birds will be the major focus with species such as Golden Bowerbird, Fernwren, Atherton Scrubwren, Crimson Rosella, Blue-faced parrot Finch, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Yellow Thornbill, Crested Shrike-tit and Red-backed Fairy-wren and then after dark we will spotlight our way back to Yungaburra. Mammals are the main target and mammal such as Lumholtz tree kangroo, Greater glider, Yellow-bellied glider, Sugar glider, Feather-tailed glider, Common possum, Herbert River possum, Lemuroid possum, Green Ringtail possum, Common Brushtail possum, Striped possum and bandicoots and Giant White-tailed Rat. There are also six species of owls we could see, but the chances not good on this route.
Atherton Tablelands / Cairns
This morning we will head out and early and mop up any of the Tablelands bird species we had missed on the trip and then after breakfast, go looking for platypus before heading to Etty Bay for the amazing Southern Cassowary and other coastal birds around Cairns including Beach Stone Curlew, Great Knot, Terek Sandpiper, Crimson Finch, White-eared Monarch and Large-billed Gerrygone. We will then be dropped at the airport to catch our flight back south to Melbourne. We will arrive in the Victorian capital late and stay at a nearby airport hotel.
Melbourne / East Gippsland
This morning we will be collected from the hotel by our new local guide early and taken towards the coast and the wonderful and internationally acclaimed RAMSAR wetlands of the Lakes District of East Gippsland before travelling by ferry to an island sanctuary in the wetlands with a thriving colony of wild Koalas. We take a walk through the forest spotting these delightful animals in the wild, and learning about their lives. We may also see Echidnas, Wallabies and Kangaroos and many colourful parrots, honeyeaters and seabirds which you can help record for conservation purposes. Dinner tonight is in a local restaurant and our accommodation is a homestead in a small town where you will stay for three nights.
After a relaxing breakfast this morning we travel into the rugged mountain forests of East Gippsland. The diverse forests of East Gippsland are the reason that wildlife is so abundant. Today we will visit both dry and wet mountain forests, visit the famous Snowy River, and walk beside a wilderness creek where the landscape changes dramatically from the sunny, dry slopes to the near-rainforest of the gully. Your local expert guide provides detailed information of the formation of these mighty forests, and helps you search for Lyrebirds, parrots, goannas, wallabies and honeyeaters. Birds and reptiles are abundant, but other human visitors are few. We finish the day with a classic Aussie dinner at the Homestead.
This morning we will first walk into a large lowland (warm temperate) rainforest in search of birds and wallabies. Then we walk through a heathland and along a forest-lined river to its estuary in Australia’s Coastal Wilderness. We search for Sea Eagles, cockatoos, kingfishers, swans and huge goanna lizards. We visit a quiet beach with a complex dune system and frequently see beach and ocean-going birds. After lunch we take a walk on the nearby rocky headland, peering into rock pools, walking past wind-sculpted coastal shrubs looking at the expanse of the 90 mile beach. We spend a little time on a beautiful beach removing old fishing nets – they wash up from the sea, and sometimes wash back out, where they trap and kill sea creatures. Our dinner tonight is a picnic in the bush overlooking the beach (weather permitting). On our way back to our Homestead we search the plains for wallabies, kangaroos and wombats.
Krowathunkoolong / Melbourne / Home
This morning we depart East Gippsland after one last visit to the beach at the Mouth of the Snowy River. On the way back to Melbourne we visit the Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place, an informative Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Bairnsdale. We also search for Grey-headed Flying-foxes in their daytime roosts beside the river at Bairnsdale (a large colony set up there in 2013, and at the time of writing provide great viewing opportunities. They may move on at any time though). We can either drop you off at the airport to catch your return flight home this evening or you can book a hotel for tonight and we can drop you at the hotel instead.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
June is winter time in Australia and as Victoria and Tasmania are in the south of the country it is not your typical red hot weather. The temperature ranges between 10-20 degrees C, However it is not unknown for temperatures to soar above 30 or plummet below freezing during the odd day and night. There is very little rainfall at this time of year in Victoria but Tasmania can suffer down-pores with little warning, but then again it is covered in rainforest.
When up in Queensland June and July is winter in Australia and the temperatures are lower than the summer but they still average between 20-30 degrees C, June – October is the dry season and so rainfall is rare. The evenings and nights can be chilly.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private air conditioned mini-van to be driven by your zoologist escort. You get the services of the zoologist escort included in the fee. As well as the Great Barrier Reef and whale watching trips. All hire costs for snorkelling and diving gear is included.
All our excursions including treks, nocturnal tours, boat trips, ferries, taxis, guided walks, spotlighting and park entrance fees are also included.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be clothes for light and airy, the nights can be chilly so also bring a fleece, woolly hat and scarf as well as normal warm clothing like long trousers and sweaters. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Water proofs and a wind breaker is also recommended. If you want to snorkel at any of the places we stop in Tasmania such as Freycinet you should bring your own snorkel, mask, fins and wetsuit so you are more comfortable with your own gear. Insect repellent is good idea but mosquitoes are not very common. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Etihad and Emirates as good airlines for flights to Melbourne. One of the best websites to search for the best fares to and from Cairns is www.opodo.co.uk; who are an IATA accredited company which provides you with all the securities under ATOL protection. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for Australia. These have to be obtained before you leave for Australia and are issued for 90 days and are valid for use for 12 months. Meaning you can stay in Australia for 90 days and leave any time up to 12 months from when you have been issued the visa. The easiest way to find information is by visiting www.immi.gov.au (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Australia although if you are travelling from Africa a valid Yellow Fever certificate is needed.
Reviews of this Holiday
Lydia Maxwell & Family - Christchurch
Mr. van der Kirken - Holland
Mr. Lidden - Wolverhampton, UK
Ms. Weatherall - Chepstow