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Featured Wildlife Journeys

  • Tammar Wallaby

  • Australian Sea-lion

  • Short-beaked Echidna

  • Kangaroo Island Kangaroo

  • Glossy Black Cockatoo

Exceptional Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Birding Tour

Duration: 3 days/2 nights

Type: Groups, Private Charter.

Departs: Daily

Interests: Birds.

Kangaroo Island is a birdwatcher's paradise, with the opportunity to spot over 260 birds, almost one-third of Australia's bird count. Over 90% of the Island is mallee and woodland, with beautiful Eucalyptus groves, shrublands, fernlands and forests. The island is blessed with amazing protected coves and beaches through to rugged cliffs, providing abudant opportunities to spot seabirds, waterbirds and waders.

This three day birdwatching and wildlife tour is presented with an indicative itinerary. Opportunities vary throughout the year and each season is slightly different in terms of natural cycles. The experience delivered is customised according to the season and fine-tuned to meet the interests of guests once they arrive on the Island. Please note this tour is only available as a private charter.

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. 

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Itinerary

Tour day-by-day

  • Day 1:

    Upon flying into Kangaroo Island, guests will be greeted by an Island guide. The first stop is Duck Lagoon – a freshwater billabong where typical encounters include: White-eared, White-naped and Brown-headed Honeyeaters; Crimson Rosellas; Superb Fairy-wrens; Black Swans; Grey and Chestnut Teals; Yellow-billed Spoonbills; Pacific Black Ducks; Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes; Chestnut-breasted Shelducks; Little Pied Cormorants; and (seasonally) Freckled Ducks.

    After enjoying a delicious morning tea, guests will venture to Roper’s Gums – a tall Eucalyptus forest where guests will learn about the the endemic Glossy Black Cockatoo recovery plan. After viewing the beautiful headwaters of Cygnet River, guests will arrive at a private lunch site and a seafood barbeque lunch. This area is home to Koalas; Crescent & New Holland Honeyeaters; Eastern Spinebills; Grey Fantails; Rainbow and Purple-crowned Lorikeets; Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos and a selection of smaller bush birds. After lunch, travellers will explore Lathami Conservation Park, which protects the habitat of the Glossy Black Cockatoo.

    In this area, it is common to encounter Kangaroo Island Kangaroos; Tammar Wallabies; Scarlet Robins; Brown Thornbills; Grey Shrike Thrush; Short-beaked Echidnas; Golden Whistlers; and Beautiful Firetails. Ending the day at the gorgeous Stokes Bay, guests will enjoy the opportunity to spot Australian Pelicans; Eastern Reef Herons, Hooded Plovers and White-bellied Sea-eagles, before arriving to American River.

    Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge (dinner/bed/breakfast)

  • Day 2:

    Guests will have the option of an early morning birding excursion in the bush adjacent to the hotel or along the American River shoreline. Glossy Black Cockatoos are frequent encounters, as are Grey Currawongs, Little Corellas, Galahs and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes. Along the shorelines, there are often Pied Oystercatchers, Royal Spoonbills, Black Swans, Grey Teals, Australian White Ibis and Australian Pelicans. Rufous Night Herons often roost in the large pines opposite the fire station. Guests will arrive back to the hotel for breakfast before departing at 8:30am.

    During the drive to Seal Bay, the first main destination for the day, guests should look out for Raptors. Possibilities include Wedge-tailed Eagles, Swamp Harriers, Australian Kestrels, Black-shouldered Kites and Brown Falcons. At Seal Bay, guests will enjoy a private guided Australian sea-lion experience. The sea-lions share the beach with Caspian and Crested Tern, Sooty Oystercatchers and Hooded Plovers. Overhead, it is common to see White-bellied Sea Eagles and Ospreys. The headland to the west is a prime habitat for Great and Pied Cormorants.

    Next is Point Ellen where seasonal encounters include Rock Parrots, Fairy Terns and Little Penguins can sometimes be found in burrows near the beacon. During morning tea, guests will keep an ear out for Southern Emu-wrens, Purple-gaped Honeyeaters and Western Whipbirds in the heath and mallee. The massive wilderness expanses of Flinders Chase National Park is the focus for the rest of the day, starting with the Rocky River precinct. Encounters here can include Cape Barren Geese, Crescent Honeyeaters, Little and Red Wattlebirds, Striated and Spotted Pardalotes, Australian Ravens, Koalas, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Short-beaked Echidnas, Rosenberg’s Goanna (seasonal) and Tammar Wallabies.

    Next is the iconic Remarkable Rocks, a spectacular natural sculpture on the clifftops. Here the group can have a picnic lunch – looking out for Australian Kestrels, Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters, and another chance to try for Southern Emu-wren and the elusive Western Whipbird. Nearby on the cape is Admiral’s Arch – a sea cave which often turns up Australian Ravens, Sooty Oystercatchers, Crested Terns (which have had Antarctic terns amongst them in 2006 and 2007), Pacific Gulls.

    If a south-westerly wind is blowing, there is a chance to see some pelagic species. If time permits, guests will have the option to visit “Grassdale” in Kelly Hill Conservation Park, providing abundant opportunities to see kangaroos in the wild, plus a range of bird habitats. On return to American River, world echidna expert Dr Peggy Rismiller will join guests for dinner and an after dinner presentation on the field-based research programme she and her partner have been undertaking for almost 30 years.

    Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge (dinner/bed/breakfast)

  • Day 3:

    There is an option to take another early morning birding walk as per the previous day, with a 8:15am departure from American River. This morning, guests will go out on the ocean on a boat to get a close look at the Busby Islet. The group will observe numerous birds from the sea, as this is a prohibited area to protect breeding Australian Pelicans, Royal Spoonbills, Black-faced and Pied cormorants, Australian White Ibis and potentially many other species including international migratory species seasonally (Nov – Mar). White-bellied Sea Eagles constantly harass the nesting birds, providing an excellent chance to see Black Swans and chance encounters with Bottle-nosed Dolphins.

    Guests will have lunch at Reeves Point, providing a chance to learn about the settlement history of the island and often turns up quite a few birds – depending on the season. After lunch, a visit the Kingscote Oxidation Pond provides the opportunity to spot a good cross-section of waterfowl on the ponds and the adjacent Cygnet River Estuary is always worth a look. The afternoon includes a visit to D’Estrees Bay (Hooded Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones (seasonally), Ospreys, Rock Parrots (seasonally) and a quick look at one of the MacGillivray Wetlands on the way back to the airport if time permits.

    Key Details

    Private Charter Pricing: from $4,022 per person (based on 2 adults, twin share including touring, meals & accommodation).
    Private Group Size: Maximum of 4 guests
    Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Kingscote Airport or accommodations.
    Pick-up and Drop-off Time: Approximately 9:00am day one and 6:00pm day three.
    Languages: Translation services private tours available for French, German, Italian and Spanish (must be a private tour)

    Responsible Tourism

    As part of our commitment to sustainability we have developed a Code Of Practice relating to our wildlife interactions which is available for your reference. We have also sought independent verification of our practices through Ecotourism Australia. Our Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation is awarded to a select number of Australia's leading and most innovative ecotourism products, providing an opportunity to learn about the environment with an operator who is committed to achieving best practice when using resources wisely, contributing to the conservation of the environment and helping local communities.

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    Recent Awards

    WINNER TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015 • 2014 • 2013
    LISTED Top 5 Wildlife Guides by Outside Go Magazine 2015
    WINNER Outstanding Contribution to the Tourism Export Industry 2015 by the Australian Tourism Export Council 

    Enquiries & Bookings

    The Kangaroo Island Birding tour is not available to be booked online, as our team customises the itinerary according to your interests, accommodation preferences and transport/logistics to Kangaroo Island. Please contact our friendly team via the Enquire Now button below - there are some essential details to help us provide the best options for you. We will be in touch via your preferred contact method.

    Enquire Now

    Recent Testimonials

    "Amazing tour that exceeded all expectations. The guide was unbelievably knowledgeable and showed us some of the great parts of KI. Best day of our honeymoon, just because of this tour. Thanks!" - David and Lucy, UK

    "My trip got me to visit six states, albeit briefly in some. The two days of Kangaroo Island were the highlights. The very high quality of the tour for small groups, riding in backroads with knowledgable guides who are also competent chefs in a unique setting is a memorable experience." - Myron, Ontario

    "This family owned tour operator is the best I have ever taken a tour with! The guide was enthusiastic, humorous and very informed about every question asked– considering wildlife, culture and geographical situation. As it was a small tour - he made me (and the fellow couple on the tour) feel very special. Exceptional Kangaroo Island truly kept their promise – good food (delicious whiting cooked on the barbeque), good wine (beautiful sauvignon blanc from the island) and wildlife in the wild (we saw a wide range of animals from kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, an echidna, wedge-tailed eagles to ants, butterflies, and all sorts of insects). I can only highly recommend this business. I will be back to take another tour with you – maybe next year?! Thanks Janet & Craig and the exceptional friendly office staff." - Manja, Berlin

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