Inala's King Island Bass Strait Small Group Tour 6th - 9th Nov 2023

Pradeep Pandiyan Californian Quail King Island - Inala Nature Tours
Pradeep Pandiyan Californian Quail King Island - Inala Nature Tours
Tour date: 
Monday, 6 November 2023 to Thursday, 9 November 2023
4 days
AUD $2,555 per person twin share. AU$285 single supplement, based on a group size of 4-8pax + 1 guide
King Island subspecies – Brown Thornbill, Scrubtit, Green Rosella, Black Currawong, Dusky Robin, Yellow Wattlebird and superb Fairy-wren.

Situated in the Bass Strait, midway between Victoria and Tasmania, King Island is surrounded by shipwrecks and long sandy beaches, with some of the freshest air and friendliest locals anywhere. The island is home to 10 of the 12 Tasmanian endemic bird species, 5 of which are considered endemic subspecies of King Island. We will also seek out the critically endangered King Island Brown Thornbill, with its enormous bill and beautiful voice. Flocks of wild American Turkeys, Indian Peafowl, Common Pheasant, California Quail and migratory shorebirds complete the set for this eclectic island. 

A trip to King Island is not just about the wildlife, we will also visit the islands most famous sites such as Sea Elephant River, the calcified forest and of course indulge in a King Island Cheese tasting.  

This tour has been designed to adjoin the Tasmanian Endemic birds and mammals tour 28th Oct - 6th Nov 2023

Start Location: 
Currie TAS
Finish location: 
Currie TAS

Inala’s King Island Bass Strait Small Group Tour 
6th - 9th Nov 2023

This tour has been designed to adjoin the Tasmanian Endemic birds and mammals tour 28th Oct - 6th Nov 2023


Day 1.  Arrive King Island. Accom: King Island. 
Day 2.  King Is: West coast, fromagerie & bird specialities. Accom: King Island.
Day 3.  King Is: Pegarah State Forest & Sea Elephant Conservation Area. Accom: King Island.
Day 4.  King Is: Lavinia State Reserve, Cape Wickham shore/seabirds. Depart pm. Accom: none.

DETAILED ITINERARY:                
B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner

Day 1. 
For those who are also joining the Inala Tasmanian endemics tour: This morning we travel to Launceston after breakfast. If time permits, we will visit some wetlands en route where there is a chance toview several wetland species including Purple Swamphen, Spotless Crake, Australian Shelduck, Black-fronted Dotterel and Little Grassbird. The main tour will conclude around midday. Those participants who are continuing from the Tas endemics tour to King Island will stay at Launceston airport and connect with Sharp Airlines flight SH894 to King Island (15:05-16:40).

Sharp Airlines also offers a flight from Essendon Airport, Melbourne this afternoon for participants wishing to join the tour from here (SH926 16:00-16:45. flight costs from Launceston or Melbourne are not included in tour package.

The guide will transport you from the airport to your accommodation only 10 minutes away and we shall all will meet together this evening at 18:30 for a welcome dinner.
Accommodation:Currie (en suite rooms). Meals included:D.

Day 2. 
Today we will start exploring the island. Our first stop will be the main town of Currie where you can start to get a feel for island life. We will spend most of the day exploring the west coast, primarily looking for shorebirds and searching out the first of the King Island specialties. Echidnas can also be found here. A tasting at the fromagerie, King Island Dairy is a must this afternoon.
Accommodation:Currie (en suite rooms). Meals included:B, L, D.

Day 3. 
Today we will continue to explore the southern half of the island as this is where we will see most of our target bird species. We will spend time walking and driving through Pegarah State Forest and Sea Elephant Conservation Area. Pegarah contains some of the oldest forest on the island and is home to the critically endangered King Island subspecies of the Brown Thornbill and Scrubtit. While the RAMSAR site at Sea Elephant Conservation Reserve is a stunning estuary, rich in birdlife. After dinner tonight, we will take a night excursion to visit the Little Penguin colony at Grassy Point and spotlight for mammals (Bennett’s Wallaby, Tasmanian Pademelon, Long-nosed Potoroos and Brush-tailed Possums).
Accommodation:Currie (en suite rooms). Meals included:B, L, D.

Day 4. 
For our final day on the island, we will head north, visit some key birdwatching sites such as Lavinia State reserve, and visiting some of King Islands most famous sights. At the impressive Cape Wickham lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the southern hemisphere, we will look for Nankeen Kestrel, Richards Pipit and the flocks of Wild Turkeys and California Quail for which King Island is well known. Disappointment Bay and Yellow Rock Beach promise further excellent opportunities for seabirds, shorebirds, bush-birds and stunning views. This afternoon we will head back to the airport for our afternoon flights back to Launceston 2021 flights (SH89515:40-16:30) or Melbourne 2021 flights (SH92717:15-18:00). (airfares not included in tour cost).
Accommodation:none (we can arrange additional accommodation in King Island, Launceston or Melbourne tonight as required). Meals included: B, L.

Tour Price: AUD $2,555 per person twin share.  AU$285 single supplement  (own en suite room throughout) based on a group size of 4-8pax + 1 guide.

Inclusions:3 nights en suite accommodation, specialist guiding and land transport on King Island for day and night tours as outlined above including airport transfers, all meals and activities as outlined in the itinerary. Also includes entry fees and GST.

Exclusions:Airfares, activities and meals not mentioned above, alcoholic beverages and expenses of a personal nature (snacks, travel insurance, internet, laundry, tips etc).

Please note:  Whilst we aim to follow the itinerary as planned, please note that the itinerary provided should only be used as a guideline. Depending on individual trip circumstances, weather, and local information, the exact itinerary may not be strictly adhered to. The guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as they see fit.

Trip Report – King Island November 2022

Guided by Catherine Davidson

Day One - 8th Nov
Our first morning on beautiful King Island dawned bright and sunny. We grabbed some breakfast from the busy wee Currie Bakehouse and took it down to the wonderfully quirky ‘Restaurant with no food’ boat shed to eat next to the harbour.

After our breakfast we started birding along the shore front of Currie and started off with Australian Pipit, European Goldfinch & Greenfinch, Chestnut Teal, Pied Oystercatcher and the King Island endemic Superb Fairywren subspecies.

We drove out past the Kelp processing farms and started towards Pegarah Forest, passing a large flock of wild Turkeys on route.  At the forest, we made several explorations through the beautiful trees, spotting a great selection of birds including Flame Robin females, King Island endemic subspecies Yellow Wattlebird & Green Rosella, Black-headed Honeyeater, Satin Flycatcher, Tasmanian Thornbill and Golden Whistler.

Departing the forest after we could go no further due to a fallen tree, we spotted a White-bellied Sea Eagle high in a Eucalypt.

As we went through the lovely west coast township of Naracoopa the sea fog had rolled in in thick clouds which was wonderfully atmospheric, but did make looking for birds along the coast impossible. The cuckoos compensated by putting on a great show and we spotted both Fan-tailed and Pallid Cuckoos several times throughout the afternoon, both on power lines and close to the road on trees.

Sea Elephant was beautiful and after lunch overlooking the inlet, we walked the trail yet could only spot Black Swans out amongst the mist on the waters.

Driving back out from the lagoon there were several buff Wallabies beside the road and a Nankeen Kestrel sitting high in a tree.

Making our way back to the East we dropped in to Little Porkies Beach and had great views of White-fronted Chat along the seafront and a pair of Red-capped Plover on the beach. After dinner at the Currie Hotel we had another fabulous King Island sunset.

Day Two - 9th Nov
Today we headed south. Our first shop was Millers Bay where we saw a large group of well camouflaged Australian Shelducks on the beach, Little Pied Cormorants on the rocks and a flock of Hooded Plovers that unfortunately took off and hid behind the rocky outcrops where we could not see them.

Walking to the bridge where the river entered the bay, we had a fantastic view of a male Olive Whistler. Next stop was the calcified forest, a remarkable landscape where calcium carbonate has over centuries built up around the roots of trees and plants, then when the trees had died and the sand had eroded, the wonderful and unique structures remain upon the surface. The temperature was by now very hot for birds and while a few were calling, very little was showing with only a few brief glimpses of Crescent Honeyeater, Tasmanian Thornbill, Superb Fairywrena and Grey-shrike Thrush. We did get to see a lovely Blotched Blue-tongue Lizard as he departed the track up in front of us.

Morning tea at the little pavilion was followed by a trip to the view point at Seal Rocks with utterly spectacular views in both directions along the cliffs and a stunning blue and white swirling ocean as it pounded the rocks below us and whirled the bull kelp into spirals. An Australasian Pipit gave us great views and was on track to become one of our most seen birds on King Island.

Driving back north we made our destination the King Island Cheese Factory where the lovely lady provided us all with a tasting platter which was enormously enjoyed by all and many purchases were made in the gift shop. With appetites whetted we had lunch down on Little Porkies Beach and spotted our friend the Red-capped Plover. Walking round to Porkies Beach was beautiful and we were rewarded with a Hooded Plover close by on the waters edge. Heading a little further north we stopped at Shag Lagoon which was mostly full of Black Swans, but we did also see Cape Barren Geese, a single Great Cormorant and some Chestnut Teal.

After an unsuccessful hunt for banded Lapwings we returned to our rooms for an hour before making the drive to Grassy for dinner. We had pushed the boat out and had booked a five course degustation menu at Wild Harvest, where each delicious course was introduced by the chef and the ingredients were explained and we were told if it was grown on the island, caught in the waters around the island or foraged from the land. Between courses we enjoyed watching several Wallabies on the front grass of the restaurant, one of whom had a wee joey poking out of the pouch.

After a delicious and memorable meal, we went down to the foreshore to spot some Little Penguins coming ashore and were immediately rewarded with several groups popping out of the ocean and making their way up the boat ramp to their burrows. We sat in the van with the door open, using it as a hide and getting excellent views as the groups waddled past us.

Traveling the 45 minute journey back to Currie in the dark we saw possibly hundreds of Bennett's Wallaby, one Tasmanian Pademelon and one Brush-tailed Possum before we tumbled into bed after a big day.

Day Three - 10th Nov
Knowing that the rain was coming today we set off with great efficiency after a lovely breakfast out in front of Boomerang Motel and headed north making our first stop for the day the reed beds where Golden-headed Cisticola are known to live. We could hear several calls as soon as we got out of the van and eventually one came to check us out and perched up on top of a bush giving us great views of its beautiful golden plumage.

Heading further north we went to Yellow-Rock and walked alongside the lovely inlet down to the beach. Brown thornbill and Grey-shrike thrush called to us on the way down and on the windy beach itself there was a small posse of Great Crested Terns. Hunting the water edges on our return to the carpark and we spotted amongst the Black Swan and The Cape Barren Geese, one wee Black-fronted Dotterel. And a Nankeen Kestrel rose in front of us and hovered overhead.

As the sky got progressively darker and more foreboding, we travelled the final northern stretch to Cape Wickham lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere. Perhaps half a dozen Swamp Harriers were seen as we drove north, often being chased by Ravens or Lapwings and at the lighthouse itself two were hunting in the grasslands around the golfcourse. We enjoyed the views and walked up to above the lighthouse to look over the expanse of land and sea and imagine what it must have been like to live there in isolation in the 1800’s.

The rain began as we made our way to Martha Lavinia Lake , sadly the water was too high for shorebirds to be found on the edges, but we did get a fantastic view of a stunning male Flame Robin. A little further round to Penny's Lagoon were we had a late morning tea / early lunch and several Grey Shrike Thrush, Yellow Wattle birds and Black Currawong passed by throughout. Stepping out to look at the Lake itself we had fabulous close views of a male Musk Duck floating low in the water.

With our final hour while it was now pouring rain we tried a few back roads to look for Califorian Quail and the elusive Dusky Robin. Sadly not much was showing in the weather conditions, but we stopped for an Olive Whistler who was singing loudly and mournfully from a bush but refused to give us more than glimpses as he moved around.

Swinging past Currie for fuel we then went down to the harbour for a final view of the picturesque scene before heading for the airport.

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