Tasmania Endemic Birds and Mammals Tour - 11- 21 Sept 2023
(includes Southern Ocean pelagic, Maria Island excursion and Tasmanian Devils)
Overview: This tour has been designed as a best of Tasmania’s wildlife and birdwatching tour; it also includes some iconic and spectacularly scenic destinations and a rarely offered chance to take a boat trip out to the continental shelf in the Southern Ocean to see a range of seabirds that very seldom visit land. We are running this tour in collaboration with our colleagues at Golden Gate Audubon in California, USA.
Highlights: We have the chance to see all 12 Tasmanian endemic and other specialty birds, iconic animals such as the Platypus, Echidna, Wombat and Tasmanian Devil and a variety of seabirds.
Day 1. Mon 11 Sept 23. Arrive Hobart.
Day 2. Tue 12 Sept 23. Hobart area and travel to the Tasman Peninsula.
Day 3. Wed 13 Sept 23. Pelagic boat cruise (seabirds and cetaceans).
Day 4. Thu 14 Sept 23. Maria Island day tour.
Day 5. Fri 15 Sept 23. Hobart to Bruny Island.
Day 6. Sat 16 Sept 23. Bruny Island.
Day 7. Sun 17 Sept 23. Bruny Island to Mt Field area.
Day 8. Mon 18 Sept 23. Mt Field to Cradle Mountain.
Day 9. Tue 19 Sept 23. Cradle Mountain area.
Day 10. Wed 20 Sept 23. Cradle Mountain to northern Tasmania
Day 11. Thu 21 Sept 23. Depart Tasmania
B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner.
Day 1. Monday 11 September 2023.
Today has been set aside as an arrival day so you are free to arrive at any time that suits your travel plans. We will meet at the hotel at 18:30 for a brief orientation and welcome dinner.
Accommodation: Hobart Hotel (ensuite rooms). Meals Included: D.
Day 2. Tuesday 12 September 2023. Hobart reserves and drive to Eaglehawk Neck.
Today we begin our explorations of spectacular Tasmania by visiting several reserves in the Hobart area including Mount Wellington. This mountain, at a height of 1270m (around 4,150 feet), affords spectacular views of the city and surrounding landscape on a clear day. Here we will also take a walk through a fern glade with towering tree ferns where we have our first chance to see the endemic and rather shy Scrubtit as well as Tasmanian Scrubwren and the stunning Pink Robin. Further endemic highlights we will look for today include Green Rosella, Tasmanian Native Hen, Black Currawong and Yellow Wattlebird. In the early afternoon we will enjoy the scenic drive to Eaglehawk Neck. On arrival we will bird some of the areas of interest enjoying the spectacular sea cliffs and breathtaking scenery typical of the area. We may well see Yellow-throated Honeyeater as well as a range of more widely distributed species including White-bellied Sea Eagle and Black-faced Cormorant.
Accommodation: Hotel on Tasman Peninsula (ensuite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 3. Wednesday 13 September 2023. Southern Ocean Pelagic.
This morning we will board a charter vessel (weather permitting), making our way into the vastness of the Southern Ocean in our quest for pelagic birds. High species diversity and the nearness of the continental shelf have earned Tasmania an international reputation as an excellent place to see pelagic species. Not long after we depart Pirate’s Bay, we will encounter Short-tailed Shearwater in considerable number. This is one of the finest places on the planet to see a diversity of albatross and Wandering, Royal, Shy, Black-browed, and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross are all possible. With land still in sight we will reach the continental shelf and begin to lay a berley trail from the back of the boat. Possible petrels include White-chinned, Great-winged, Grey-faced, the striking White-headed, Gould’s, Cook’s and Mottled. Shearwater diversity is also good with Hutton’s, Fluttering, Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwater all possible. Wilson’s, Grey-backed and White-faced Storm Petrels and Fairy Prion are also regularly seen. Mammals we may encounter include Australian Fur-seals, Hump-backed Whale, Common and Bottlenose Dolphin. There will also be a chance to visit some nearby geological formations and if time permits explore Tasman National park before heading to our hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel on Tasman Peninsula (ensuite rooms). Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 4. Thursday 14 September 2023. Maria Island excursion:
We leave this morning to travel up the East Coast to Triabunna, where we shall take the short 30-minute ferry ride across to Maria Island, an island with a rich history, a World Heritage Listed Probation Station, fossil cliffs and a great array of wildlife. On the way across to Maria Island, we shall look out for seals, dolphins, orcas and whales. Maria is a fascinating island with a wide variety of bird and mammal species. Of the mammals, we can expect to see Forester Kangaroo, Tasmanian Pademelon, Bennett’s Wallaby and Common Wombat. Maria Island has an abundant bird assemblage, with 11 of the 12 Tasmanian endemics occurring here. We shall use our time to stroll slowly around the northern part of the island, with the chance of seeing some outstanding scenery, and a large number of bird species including Cape Barren Geese, Australasian Pipit and Skylarks on the grazed grasslands and Forty-spotted Pardalote, Swift Parrot, Black Currawongs and several species of honeyeaters in the wooded areas. In the late afternoon, we will head back on the ferry and return to Hobart. Depending on the mood and weather we may opt for some spotlighting after dinner in a Hobart reserve to search for Southern (Tasmanian) Bettong, Tasmanian Pademelon, Bennett’s Wallaby and Brush Tailed Possum.
Accommodation: Hobart Hotel (ensuite rooms). Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 5. Friday 15 September 2023. Hobart and Bruny Island.
Depending on our timing and conditions we may opt to start our day in reserves around Hobart or alternatively venture directly down to Bruny Island. Situated 40km south of Hobart, Bruny Island is separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and accessed by a vehicle ferry. The ferry trip takes approximately 15 minutes where one can enjoy some wonderful scenery and possibly Little Penguins or dolphins alongside the ferry. This afternoon we will visit Bruny’s southern coastline to view the second oldest lighthouse in Australia, and search for species such as Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Olive Whistler and Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo. Here we also have a chance to see the Tasmanian subspecies of Short-beaked Echidna, one of Australia’s two egg-laying mammal (monotreme) species. After dinner tonight, we will visit the Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwater colony to view these species at their burrows.
Accommodation: Cottage style accommodation near and at Inala, south Bruny Island (ensuite cabins) Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 6. Saturday 16 September 2023. Bruny Island.
Today we have a full day to explore Bruny Island. We will start the day birding at ‘Inala’, a privately owned 1,500-acre wildlife sanctuary which is home to all 12 Tasmanian endemic bird species, including one of the largest known colonies of endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote. Strong-billed, Yellow-throated and Black-headed Honeyeaters, Dusky Robin and Green Rosella are also regulars here. Several hides and platforms have also been built around the property which provide close views of some very special species, including a variety of raptors. At this time of year, we can expect to see the endangered white colour morph of Grey Goshawk, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Brown Goshawk, Brown Falcon and if we are lucky, Wedge-tailed Eagle. We will also visit a variety of habitats on the island, from coastal beaches for Hooded Plover, Pied and Sooty Oystercatcher, Pacific and Kelp Gull, to rainforest areas in search of Pink Robin and the endemic Scrubtit, Tasmanian Scrubwren and Tasmanian Thornbill. Tonight, we will take an evening drive in search of Tasmania’s nocturnal marsupials. We are likely to see some species which are now restricted to Tasmania including Eastern Quoll (a relative of the Tasmanian Devil) and Tasmanian Pademelon. Bennett’s Wallaby and Brush-tailed Possum are also common here and rare golden/white colour morphs of both these species can sometimes be found. If we are lucky, we may also see Long-nosed Potoroo and some nocturnal birds like Tawny Frogmouth and Tasmanian Boobook.
Accommodation: Cottages at and near Inala, south Bruny Island as above. Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 7. Sunday 17 September 2023. Bruny Island to Mt Field area.
This morning we will depart Bruny early for Mount Field National Park. This area is an excellent back up site for our endemic target species, notably Scrubtit and Black Currawong, and is also a great place to experience a range of habitats from fern gullies with waterfalls, to alpine heathland and cool temperate rainforest boasting some of the tallest Eucalyptus in Australia. Today we have our first chance of seeing the bizarre Platypus, the other species of Australian monotreme. In the late afternoon we will make our way out of the park to a nearby settlement where we will overnight.
Accommodation: Mount Field/New Norfolk area (ensuite rooms). Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 8. Monday 18 September 2023. Mt Field area to Cradle Mountain area.
This morning we will travel north to Cradle Mountain National Park. While today is largely a travel day, we will enjoy lovely scenery and stop en route to bird and stretch our legs. We will arrive at our accommodation near the National Park in the late afternoon. This accommodation has been chosen as it offers a chance of seeing one of Australia’s most threatened and charismatic mammals in the wild. This is one of the only places left where one has a reasonable chance of seeing Tasmanian Devils. Here the owner places meat down for the devils at dusk and, with any luck, they will come in to feed after dark. Spotted-tailed Quolls also come to the verandas to feed, and this is an excellent opportunity to view and photograph these elusive creatures.
Accommodation: Lodge near Cradle Mountain (ensuite cabins). Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 9. Tuesday 19 September 2023. Cradle Mountain area.
Today we have a full day to explore the area around Cradle Mountain and parts of northern Tasmania. This should provide a good chance to see more of Tasmania’s endemic bird species which we may have missed previously, such as Black Currawong and Yellow Wattlebird. In addition to the great birding, we can view endemic Tasmanian rainforest flora with ancient Gondwanan connections such as Pencil and King Billy Pines, Myrtle and the famous Fagus (Nothofagus gunnii) which is Tasmania’s only deciduous tree. This is also a good area to view Common Wombat. We will also have a good chance of viewing Platypus, one of Australia’s most bizarre mammals. We will return to our small lodge for another opportunity to view Tasmanian Devils and Spotted-tailed Quoll from our cabins.
Accommodation: Lodge near Cradle Mountain (en suite cabins). Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 10. Wednesday 20 September 2023. Cradle area to northern coast of Tasmania.
This morning we will explore the wild area around our small lodge. This includes visiting a canyon where the mighty river has carved a path through the forest toward the sea. We will also visit a reserve where we will have excellent chances of seeing and photographing Platypus, usually at quite close range. This afternoon we will visit Narawntapu National Park. The Park was created as a refuge for the Tasmanian form of Eastern Grey Kangaroo (known locally as Forester Kangaroo) which can usually be seen grazing during the late afternoon. This area boasts some impressive marsupial lawns (well grazed areas frequented by marsupials) that also hold some of the highest densities of Tasmanian Pademelons and Red-necked Wallabies in Tasmania and is often referred to as the “Serengeti of Tasmania”. We will then settle into our B&B for a relaxing dinner.
Accommodation: B&B at Hawley Beach near Devonport (ensuite room). Meals Included: B,L,D.
Day 11. Thursday 21 September 2023. Northern Tasmania and depart Tasmania.
This morning we will transfer to an airport of your choice for your departure. Choices are Launceston (LST-around 1.5 hours drive from last night’s accommodation) or return to Hobart (HBA-around 3.5 hours drive from last night’s accommodation) with your guide-own arrangements and flights not included in price). Please note that flights from Launceston should be made from around 13:00 as the guide will deliver those clients there around midday. The guide will then be traveling back to Hobart and there is therefore scope to deliver clients to Hobart airport around 15:00 for flights from 16:00 onwards for domestic flights and from 17:00 for international flights. Alternatively, we can organise an additional night in Hobart for you at the end of the tour at an additional cost if that is your preferred option. If time allows with the Launceston or Hobart airport options, we will visit some wetlands en route where there is a chance to view several wetland species including Purple Swamphen, Australian Shelduck, Black-fronted Dotterel and Little Grassbird.
Accommodation: None. Meals Included: B.
Tour price $AUD: $6,250 per person twin share and $1,200.
Group size: 6-8 people + Inala guide.
Price includes: 10 nights’ accommodation, specialist guide and transport, meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the itinerary (including the pelagic cruise and Maria Island excursion), National Park entry fees, Bruny Island ferry fares and GST (=VAT).
Price does not include: International and domestic airfares, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, laundry, other items of a personal nature.
Additional services: We would be pleased to arrange additional accommodation before or after this tour as required.
• Arrival in Hobart: There is a regular shuttle bus service between Hobart airport and the main hotels in the city. Details on the costs and timing of the shuttle can be found on the Skybus website. Alternatively, you may wish to take a taxi to the city – there is no need to pre book these, they are readily available outside the terminal building.
• Meals and drinks: Breakfast generally consists of a continental style breakfast with cereal, fruit and yoghurt and tea/coffee. Full cooked breakfast is not generally offered at most locations. Lunch will generally consist of a packed lunch style meal eaten in the field, with sandwich/filled roll, fruit, and a drink. Dinner is usually two course and consists of several options for main with the choice of either an appetiser or dessert. Drinks (soft and alcoholic) are generally not included but at lunches and breakfasts juice may be made available.
• The itinerary: 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.
• The pelagic: This activity is weather dependant and if cancelled we will arrange some land-based touring in the Tasman peninsula that day.