Suggested months: March, April, May, June, July.
Combining Australia's two most famous reef systems and the country's best known temperate aquatic playground, this itinerary is a must for travellers wanting close and intimate encounters with the country's most treasured marine creatures.
Lady Elliot on the Great Barrier Reef is one of the premium diving and snorkelling sites with outstanding water clarity and abundance of Manta Rays, turtles, reef sharks, tropical fish and hard and soft corals.
Venturing to the Southern Ocean, the Eyre Peninsula is best known for offering cage-diving with the Great White Shark off the Neptune Islands, where massive females congregate in April to prey on Long-nosed Fur Seals. Outside of the winter season, visitors can also swim with the 'puppy dogs of the sea'; Australia Sea-lions.
The world's largest fringeing reef is the final stop, with the opportunity to dive and snorkel with turtles, rays, tropical fish and the world's largest fish, the glorious Whale Shark.
Minimum Suggested Nights: 13 nights, plus a couple more nights on arrival and departure from Australia if desired.Eyre Peninsula Lady Elliot Island Ningaloo & Exmouth
Duration: 6 days/5 nights
Logistics: Fly into Brisbane Airport (BNE) and overnight in the city. Take a 45 minute transfer to the Redcliffe Aerodrome to connect with a 1 hour 40 minute scenic flight to Lady Elliot Island.
Lady Elliot Island Stay 5 Pay 4
Located within a highly protected ’Green Zone’ of the Great Barrier Reef Marine National Park, the waters surrounding Lady Elliot provide a sanctuary for over 1,200 species, with outstanding water clarity perfect for admire the healthy coral reef, abundance of turtles, Manta Rays, reef sharks and a vast array of tropical fish.
In season guests can also encounter birds nesting, turtle hatchlings or migrating Humpback Whales. Staying at the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, this package offers guests the opportunity to enjoy a myriad activities to learn more about the Island and its unique history, flora, fauna and incredible marine life. This slice of paradise provides an environment that inspires a diversity of exciting daily nature based activities including reef walks, bird watching tours, snorkel safaris, night tours and scuba diving.
Peak season for seeing Manta Rays. Bull Rays, Cowtail Stingrays, White-spotted Guitarfish, Spotted Eagle Ray and Blue-spotted Fantail Ray, Damselfish, Wrasses & Parrotfish, Surgeonfish, Angelfish, Groupers, Trumpetfish and Mooray Eels.
Seasonal Highlights: Peak season for seeing Manta Rays. Bull Rays, Cowtail Stingrays and White-spotted Guitarfish, Spotted Eagle Ray and Blue-spotted Fantail Ray, Damselfish, Wrasses & Parrotfish, Surgeonfish, Angelfish, Groupers, Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Wobbegongs.
Crested, Roseate, Bridled and Black-naped Terns, Black Noddies, Lesser Frigatebirds and Great Frigatebirds, Brown Footed Boobies, Sooty and Pied Oyster-catchers, Eastern Reef Egrets, Pacific Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone and Grey-tailed Tattler.
Black Noddies, Crested, Sooted Terns, Silver Gulls, Lesser Frigatebirds and Great Frigatebirds, Brown Footed Boobies, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Capricorn Silvereyes, Buff-banded Rails, Tawny Grassbirds, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes and the Golden-headed Cisticolas.
Green and Loggerhead Turtles nest on the island’s pristine sandy dunes, hatchlings to emerge between January and May. The critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle can be seen in surrounding waters.
Green Turtles, Loggerhead Turtles and critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles.
Type: Private Charter
Duration: 4 days/4 nights
Logistics: Take a 1 hour 40 minute scenic flight from Lady Elliot Island to Brisbane (Redcliffe Aerodrome). Overnight Brisbane. Take a 2 hour 30 minute flight from Brisbane Airport (BNE) to Adelaide Airport (ADL) and connect with a 50 minute flight to Port Lincoln (PLO).
Port Lincoln Wildlife Encounters
This four day adventures combines the best terrestrial and marine protected areas across the region including Lincoln National Park, Coffin Bay National Park, Neptune Islands Conservation Park and Mount Dutton Bay Conservation Park. Being one of the only places to swim with wild Sea-Lions, 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 will venture out to the Neptune Islands to try and observe the Great White Shark via a cage or 360 degree underwater viewing pod, using a bait and berley free approach to witness the ocean’s most formidable predator.
Great White Shark numbers escalate in April to the Neptune Islands area, with very large mature females preying upon Long-nosed Fur Seal pups.
Peak viewing for large Great White Shark females that feast upon the plentiful Long-nosed Fur Seals.
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.
Nesting season for waterbirds. Black Swans, Grey Teal Ducks, Chestnut Teal Ducks, Pink Eared Ducks, Musk Ducks, Black Winged Stilts, Banded Plovers and Cape Barren Geese at Big Swamp wetlands. Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle breeding, Caspian Terns, Hooded Plovers, Red Capped Plovers, Red Necked Stints, Golden Whistlers, Masked Lapwings, Emus and Wedge-tailed Eagles.
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.
Duration: Full Day - Ningaloo & Exmouth
Logistics: Take an early morning 50 minute flight from Port Lincoln Airport (PLO) to Adelaide Airport (ADL) and connect with a 3 hour 20 minute flight to Perth Airport (PER). Overnight Perth. Take a 2 hour flight to Exmouth (LEA).
The opportunity to swim with the Whaleshark is one of the world’s greatest interactive marine encounters. This fish, the largest of the shark family and the largest fish in the world at an average of 12 meters (40 foot) in length, is a harmless plankton eater, with their graceful and passive nature providing an unforgettable day out on the waters of the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Marine Park.
Educational talks from on-board marine biologists, provide a fascinating insight into the rich biodiversity found in the area. Guests will be entertained by Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins, with a keen eye occasionally spotting Dugongs as they surface to take breath.
Mass spawning of coral 7-10 days after the full moon in March or April causes Whale Sharks to arrive, Parrotfish, Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Damselfish, Scissor Tails, Coral Trout, Cod and Trevally, Whitetip and Blacktip Reef Sharks, Great and Scalloped Hammerheads, Bronze Whaler, Cat Sharks, Manta Rays, Eagle Rays, Bull Rays, Nudibranchs, Manta Rays courtship dances around April.
Coral Spawn & Plankton reaches its highest concentration, Whale Sharks seen until the end of July Manta Rays around Exmouth, Parrotfish, Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Damselfish, Cardinalfish, Scissor Tails, Groper, Coral Trout, Nudibranches, Grey Nurse Sharks congregate around the Navy Pier competing for space with the Whitetip Reef Sharks and Wobbegongs.
Dugong can often spotted coming to the surface with May peak viewing time, plentiful Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins. Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins are also occasionally sighted.
Over 30,000 individual west coast Humpback Whales migrate to the area (opportunity to swim with them from July onwards) with Orcas prevalent. Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins are occasionally sighted whilst Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins are abundant.