Suggested months: January, February, March, April, October, November, December.
You will discover the best aquatic and land encounters across the south-eastern region of the continent, commencing in Melbourne and the beautiful East Gippsland region, renowned for its magnificent lush rainforests, coastal heathlands, giant eucalypt groves, white sandy beaches and pristine rivers, providing access to almost half of Australia's bird count, many shy forest-dwelling species and iconic marsupials including wombats, Koalas, wallabies, kangaroos and echidnas.
Next stop is the aquatic playground of the Eyre Peninsula, where you will swim with Australian Sea Lions, Bottlenose Dolphins and an optional cage-dive with the Great White Shark. Following this, a visit to Kangaroo Island awaits, known for its rich marsupial life, followed by a visit to Maria Island, otherwise known as Tasmania's 'Noahs Ark'. This epic adventure concludes in the beautiful harbour city of Sydney, with a visit to the Southern Highlands, to look for one of the animal kingdom's most fascinating species, the Platypus.
Highlights of this wildlife vacation include:
Minimum Suggested Nights: 21 days - 4 days Melbourne, 4 days Eyre Peninsula, 3 days Kangaroo Island, 1 night Adelaide, 5 days Maria Island/Hobart, 4 days Sydney
Price Guideline: Typically, the budget for small group touring packages across Australia excluding flights is:
5-star: AUD $500 - $1,400+ per person per day (USD $350-$1,000+)
4-star: Minimum AUD $400 per person per day (USD $300)
3-star: Minimum AUD $250 per person per day (USD $170)
Duration: 4 days/3 nights - East Gippsland
Logistics: Fly into Melbourne (MEL)
East Gippsland Wildlife Journey
Venturing across East Gippsland’s magnificent lush rainforests, coastal heathlands, giant eucalypt groves, white sandy beaches and pristine rivers and estuaries, this four day immersive adventure offers encounters with a diverse array of species.
It is especially attractive to enthusiasts looking to spot some of the more shy forest dwellers including Yellow-bellied and Greater Gliders, Swamp Wallabies, King Parrots and the piercing call of the Eastern Whipbird. Other highlights include walking with Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Echidnas on Raymond Island, searching for koalas in eucalypt forests, spotting Lace Monitors lazing beside secluded rivers and listening for Superb Lyrebirds mimicking other birds on the fertile rainforest floor.
Guests also spend a little time helping nature on a remote beach by removing disused fishing nets, preventing injury to local fish, marine mammals or birds. Charming lodge-style, owner-operated boutique accommodation ensures a comfortable sleep across the journey.
About Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours was founded by Roger Smith and Janine Duffy in 1993, with the vision to bring people and wildlife together for mutual benefit. The award-winning team believes that observing and connecting with wildlife is a key element in enriching the lives for people of all backgrounds; whether this interaction is for pleasure, new experiences and learning, for connection to the land or the basic needs for humans to breathe clean air and drink clean water via healthy ecosystems.
When guests travel with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, part of the trip involves travellers contributing to a project that actively helps wildlife.
Scarlet Honeyeaters and Black-faced Monarchs migrate to the area, Satin Bowerbird nesting, Red & Little Wattlebirds, Eastern Spinebills, Tawny-crowned, Blue-faced and Crescent Honeyeaters, King Parrots, Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, Golden Whistler, Eastern Whipbirds and Flame Robins.
The Superb Lyrebird is in full voice at this time, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, Crimson Rosellas, Golden Whistlers, Pied Currawongs, Eastern Whipbirds, Eastern-yellow Robins, Jacky Winters, Rose Robins, Beautiful Firetails, Powerful Owls.
Migrant Shining Bronze, Fan-tailed Brush and Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoos, Yellow-faced, Tawny-crowned, Blue-faced and Crescent Honeyeaters, Eastern-yellow Robins, King Parrots, Crimson, Eastern Rosellas, Rainbow & Musk Lorikeets, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Beautiful Firetail, Mistletoebird, Fairy Wren and Spotted Pardalotes.
Grey-headed Flying Foxes roost in camps of thousands of individuals with juveniles clinging under their mothers arm, Swamp Wallabies, Yellow-bellied and Greater Gliders in the mature eucalypt forests.
Common Wombats, Echidnas are active and breeding with November being the peak viewing time, Swamp Wallabies, Red-necked Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos.
Type: Private Charter,Shared
Duration: 3 days/3 nights
Logistics: Take a 1 hour flight to Adelaide (ADL) and connect to a 50 minute flight to Port Lincoln Airport (PLO).
Port Lincoln Hotel (4 star) or
South Point Private Beach House (Luxury)
Eyre Peninsula Wildlife & Ocean Encounters
This three-day adventure combines the best terrestrial and marine protected areas across the region including Lincoln National Park, Coffin Bay National Park and Baird Bay. Being one of the only places to swim with wild Sea-Lions and Bottlenose Dolphins, visitors will be mesmerised by the agility, curiosity and playful interaction from these ‘puppy dogs of the sea’.
On shore, there is an abundance of seabirds, shorebirds, songbirds, parrots (including the beautiful Port Lincoln Parrot) and raptors including Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagles, with Western Grey Kangaroos, Emus, Koalas and Rosenberg’s Goannas a delight for visitors.
For an adrenaline rush, guests can choose an optional extra day, to venture out to the Neptune Islands to try and observe the Great White Shark via a cage or 360-degree underwater viewing pod, to witness the ocean’s most formidable predator.
About Australian Coastal Safaris: Australian Coastal Safaris started operations in 2005 when David Doudle, a fourth-generation local farmer, started showcasing many of the activities that he and his family grew up doing across the Eyre Peninsula’s stunning landscapes; from amazing deserted beaches, pristine colours of the ocean, the abundance of fresh seafood, the friendliness of the local people, the vast open spaces and the interaction with native wildlife.
The team is very emotional about preserving the region and are ambassadors in keeping the environments pure, pristine and sparsely populated, to ensure that guests are able to enjoy the unique experiences and habitats well into the future.
Male Great White Sharks are seen around the Neptune Islands.
Great White Shark numbers escalate in April to the Neptune Islands area, with very large mature females preying upon Long-nosed Fur Seal pups.
Male Great White Sharks around the Neptune Islands. Water visibility reaches its peak around September and October, whilst late November is the start of the Long-nosed Fur Seal pupping season.
Nesting season for Pied Oystercatchers, Hooded Dotterels, Red-capped Plovers. Common Greenshanks are migratory visitors. Big Swamp provides sanctuary for Black Swans, Grey Teal Ducks, Chestnut Teal Ducks, Pink Eared Ducks, Musk Ducks and Black Winged Stilts. Port Lincoln (Australian Ringneck) Parrots, Common Bronzewings, Striated Pardalotes, Spiney-Cheeked Honeyeaters and White-Browed Scrubwrens abundant. Pallid Cuckoos migrate to the area.
Osprey and White Bellied Sea-Eagles, Black-shouldered Kites, Swamp Harriers, Purple-Gaped Honeyeaters, Striated Pardalotes, Spiney-Cheeked Honeyeaters, Dusky Woodswallows, Western Yellow Robins, Blue-breasted Fairy-wrens, and White-Browed Scrubwrens, Port Lincoln (Australian Ringneck) Parrots, Black-Faced Cuckoo-shrikes, Australian Magpies, Red Wattlebirds and Golden Whistlers.
White-bellied Sea Eagles and Osprey nesting and fledging, Striated Pardalotes, Western Yellow Robins, Golden Whistlers, Superb Blue Wrens, White-Browed Babblers, Red Wattlebirds, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes, New Holland Honeyeaters, Brown-Headed Honey Eaters along with Port Lincoln and Rock Parrots, Eastern Reef Egrets, Australiasian Shovelers, Cape Barren Geese.
Australian Sea-lions haul out at Hopkins Island eager to swim with snorkellers, Long-nosed and Australian Fur Seals congregate to breed with 3,500 pups born at this time, Bottle-nosed Dolphins are common encounters in the region.
Australian Sea-lion juveniles bound towards visiting boats waiting for snorkelers to join them, Long-nosed Fur Seal pups play around the Neptune Islands with Great White Sharks arriving to prey upon unsuspecting newborns.
Male bull Long-nosed Fur Seals claim their territory with fierce territorial battles in anticipation of the breeding season, Bottle-nosed Dolphins are common encounters across the bays and coves of Coffin Bay and Port Lincoln National Parks.
Type: Groups,Private Charter,Shared
Duration: 2 days/1 night
Logistics: Fly to Adelaide and connect with a 30 minute flight to Kingscote (KGC).
Various levels of accommodation available:
(3-5 star, farmstay, B&Bs).
Kangaroo Island In Style
This tour combines the two most popular full day landscape and wildlife experiences; Island Life and Flinders Chase Focus. Guests will be exposed to a broad range of elements that make this island so celebrated, including the the Island's history, ecology, wildlife, landscape and contemporary lifestyle. Regions visited include the Cygnet Valley, north coast landscape at Stokes Bay, central plateau, south coast landscape at Seal Bay to walk on the beach with Australian Sea-lions and the spectacular wilderness and the dramatic coastline of Flinders Chase National Park.
Iconic landscapes in the southwest corner will deliver endless photographic opportunities especially at Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch and Cape du Couedic. Key species regularly encountered are Koalas, Tammar Wallabies, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, endangered Glossy Black Cockatoos, Short-beaked Echidnas, Australian Sea-lions, Long-nosed Fur-seals and a variety of bush birds and shorebirds and seabirds.
About Exceptional Kangaroo Island: Craig and Janet Wickham and their enthusiastic team have been sharing Kangaroo Island's secrets with guests since 1990 and have won numerous national and international awards for their tours. The family-owned operator specialises in deluxe wildlife tours which create an atmosphere where guests find themselves treated as friends, with tours run as a conversation not a commentary, promising good food, good wine and wildlife in the wild.
Hooded Dotterels nest upon sandy beaches, aggregations of waterbirds such as Black Swans, Royal Spoonbills, migrant Common Greenshanks, Crested Terns, Caspian Terns, Freckled Ducks, Elegant Parrots, Rock Parrots, Crimson Rosellas and occasionally Budgerigars.
Glossy Black Cockatoos nest in large hollows, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos aggregate post breeding (they breed in summer), Red Wattlebirds abundant, Black Swans, Royal Spoonbills, Crested Terns, Caspian Terns, Crimson Rosellas.
Short-tailed Shearwaters migrate to the area, Superb Fairy-wrens breed and the spectacular blue males are a stunning splash of colour, New Holland, White-eared Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills. Rainbow Lorikeets, Purple-crowned Lorikeets. Chestnut-breasted Shelducks, Yellow-billed Spoonbills, Australian White Ibis and White-headed Stilts abundant.
Kangaroo Island Kangaroos switch to being more active in cooler mornings and later in the day, Koalas are active across the island as it is breeding season, Echidnas can be seen across the island.
Young Tammar Wallabies are weaned off their mothers and form their own social groups, Kangaroo Island Kangaroo joeys following their mothers around, Short-beaked Echidnas, Common Brushtail Possums usually have one joey at a time in Autumn.
Kangaroo and wallaby joeys emerge from pouches for the first time, Koala mating begins to occur from September onwards until March, Short-beaked Echidnas will feast upon eat large amounts insects and larvae during Spring.
Long-nosed and Australian Fur Seals congregate to breed, Australian Sea-lions bask on sandy beaches at Seal Bay, Bottle-nosed Dolphins around bays and coves.
Australian Sea-lions bask on the sand in-between fishing trips to the continental shelf, Long-nosed Fur Seal pups can be seen playing around the rock ledges and pools at Cape du Couedic.
Duration: 4 days/3 nights
Logistics: Fly to Adelaide and connect with a 2 hour flight to Hobart (HBA)
The Maria Island Walk
This four day guided walk across magnificent Maria Island, combines intimate wildlife encounters, fascinating history, pristine white sand beaches, and locally sourced gourmet food. Small groups of maximum 10 guests and 2 guides, will explore the World Heritage Listed island with gentle walks by day and enjoy elegant private accommodation and candle lit gourmet dining each night.
As a vital location for numerous threatened and endangered species, Maria is now an island sanctuary and one of the best places in Australia to observe Common Wombats, Tasmanian Devils, Cape Barren Geese, Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies and 125 species of birds; including all of Tasmania’s endemics, the beautiful Swift Parrot and the endangered 40 Spotted Pardalote.
About The Maria Island Walk: Ian and Bronwyn Johnstone developed their dream to start The Maria Island Walk in 2002, showcasing this magical island to a new band of travellers that valued natural wildlife encounters in remote and tranquil settings, combined with world-class hospitality. Central to the company’s philosophy is the importance of creating connection between walkers and guides, with a maximum of ten guests led by two professional guides. Working closely with Parks and Wildlife Tasmania, the walk has received widespread acclaim for its environmentally friendly practices, contribution to conservation projects as well as leadership in the ecotourism and walking sectors.
Forty-spotted Pardalote, Yellow Wattlebird, Black-headed and Strong-billed Honeyeaters are common. Migrants nesting include Swift Parrots, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Satin Flycatchers, Yellow-rumped Thornbills. Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, Crested Terns, Pacific Gulls, Hooded Plovers and Short-tailed Shearwaters, Cape Barren Geese and Tasmanian Native Hens abundant.
Pacific, Kelp and Silver Gulls, Crested Terns, Little Pied and Great Cormorants and Australian Pelicans, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, Cape Barren Geese, Tasmanian Native Hens, Green Rosellas, Grey Fantails, Flame Robins, Golden Whistlers, Eastern Spinebills and the Beautiful Firetail, Wedge-tailed Eagles.
Swift Parrots, Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Welcome Swallows, Tree Martins, Dusky Woodswallows migrate to nest. Hooded Plovers, Sooty & Pied Oyster Catchers nest on Maria’s pristine beaches, White-bellied Sea Eagles and Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles fledge. Forty-spotted Pardalotes, Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, Scarlet Robins, Silvereyes, Green Rosellas, Yellow-rumped Thornbills and Strong-billed, Yellow-throated, Black-headed, Crescent and New Holland Honeyeaters.
Common Wombats, Bennett’s Wallaby breeding typically commences late in the summer, Tasmanian Pademelons, Young Tasmanian Devils as they become more independent from their parents.
Tasmanian Devils typically breed in March with young born in April, Common Wombats abundant, Tasmanian Pademelons, Forester Kangaroos, Red-necked Wallabies abundant and occasionally Short-beaked Echidnas.
Peak season for seeing the numerous baby marsupials including Forester Kangaroos, Tasmanian Pademelons, Bennett’s Wallabies. Tasmanian Devils emerge from their dens with imps (baby devils) often seen on their backs towards the start of Spring.
Duration: Full Day - Sydney
Logistics: Take a 2 hour flight to Sydney (SYD)
Various options in Sydney City Centre
Southern Highlands Wildlife Day Tour
Just 90 minutes south of Sydney, guests will venture to the pristine bushland of the Southern Highlands, to observe several of Australia's most iconic species in the afternoon and evening. With the help of a knowledgeable and passionate Naturalist Guide, travellers will have the opportunity to spot Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Koalas, Red-necked Wallabies, Platypus and some of the 260 bird species that call the area home.
Travelling in a luxury 4WD vehicle to private farmland and bushland locations, the specialist guides will share information on this importance of the Great Western Wildlife Corridor, a key migration route between the southern Blue Mountains World Heritage area and Morton National Park further south.
After a hearty country-style dinner in one of Australia’s oldest country inns, the group will go night-spotting for some of the region's most curious crepuscular and nocturnal species, including Common Wombats, Sugar Gliders, Brush-tailed Possums and Tawny Frogmouths.
About Boutique Wildlife Tours: This family owned business has been offering unique wildlife viewing experiences since 2010 in the Southern Highlands, just South West of Sydney. The company has a strong focus on quality interpretation from guides, allowing for a high degree of customisation depending on guest interests, with the team committed to preserving the environments visited and supporting local and responsible businesses to maximise benefit to the regional communities.