Tasmania Endemic Birds and Mammals Tour - 28 January to 6 February 2023
(includes Southern Ocean pelagic, Maria Island excursion and Tasmanian Devils)
Also available with optional pre-tour flight to Melaleuca for Orange-Bellied Parrots
Fri 27 Jan -Optional - Arrive Hobart
1. Sat 28 Jan -Optional extra day - Melaleuca flight Start of tour with dinner and orientation
2. Sun 29 Jan -Bird in Hobart - travel Eaglehawk Neck.
3. Mon 30 Jan -Pelagic birding.
4. Tue 31 Jan -Maria Island excursion
5. Wed 1 Feb -Hobart to Bruny Island.
6. Thur 2 Feb -Full day Bruny Island.
7. Fri 3 Feb -Bruny Island to Mt Field area.
8. Sat 4 Feb -Mt Field area to Cradle Mountain area.
9. Sun 5 Feb -Cradle Mountain area.
10. Mon 6 Feb -Cradle to Launceston and depart.
B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner.
OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR EXCURSION ( only available if joining main tour )
Arrive in Hobart – Friday 27th Jan 2023
In order to join the Melaleuca excursion tomorrow, you will need to make your way to Hobart today and so you are free to arrive at any time that suits your travel plans. Please make your own way to your hotel (please see notes at the end of this itinerary) You may wish to book into the same hotel that the remainder of the participants will be staying at, so please discuss this with the office, who will be able to help you. Please note that no activities have been planned for today, but if you plan to arrive early and would like advice on options for the day, please contact our office.
Meals Included: None.
Day 1. Pre-tour excursion Saturday 28th Jan 2023 - Orange-bellied Parrot flight to South West Wilderness.
Today, in a pre-tour excursion, we will leave civilisation behind us and embark on a spectacular flight (weather dependant) to Tasmania’s remote South West World Heritage area. Inaccessible by road and breathtakingly scenic, this is one of the most remote areas in Australia and is famed, not only for its unspoilt wilderness and clean air (arguably the cleanest in the world), but also for its birdlife.
At Melaleuca, we have a chance to see one of Australia’s rarest birds, the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot. With less than 50 individuals left in the wild, this vivid parrot is teetering on the brink of extinction. Other specialties we hope to see are the elusive Eastern Ground Parrot, Striated Fieldwren, the delightful Southern Emu-wren, and the aptly named Beautiful Firetail. The area is also rich in history and we will learn of the fabled adventurers who braved this region in a bygone era. When we return from Melaleuca, we will join the other tour participants at 6:30pm for a welcome dinner and orientation.
Please note that this flight is weather dependent and if cancelled, you will have a free unguided day to explore Hobart, or we can organise some additional guided touring around the Hobart area for an additional price of $300 per person. We will be unable to reschedule the Melaleuca trip within the main timeframe of the tour unless everyone elects to take this as an optional extra.
Accommodation: Hobart Hotel (en suite rooms). Meals Included: L, D.
MAIN TOUR ITINERARY BEGINS HERE
Saturday 28 January 2023 Arrive Hobart.
Today has been set aside as an arrival day so you are free to arrive at any time that suits your travel plans. Please make your own way to the hotel in the city (please see notes at the end of this itinerary) and we will meet at the hotel at 18:30 for a brief orientation and welcome dinner. Please note that no activities have been planned for today, but the tour has been designed to start on a Saturday to afford the opportunity for you to visit the renowned Salamanca market, which operates between 8am and 3pm. If you plan to arrive early and would like advice on other options for the day, please do contact our office.
Accommodation: Hobart Hotel (en suite rooms). Meals Included: D.
Day 2. Sunday 29 January 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 Blackfaced Cormorant.
Accommodation: Hotel on Tasman Peninsula (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 3. Monday 30 January 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 as well as our first albatross species. This is one of the finest places on the planet to see a diversity of albatross and Wandering, Royal, Shy, Black-browed, Campbell 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. There are often surprises in store, and with 30 plus species possible in these waters, there is bound to be something to delight everyone. 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 (en suite rooms) Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 4 Tuesday 31 January 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 trip across the Mercury Passage (named after the ship carrying the explorers that landed on the Island), we shall look out for seals, dolphins, orcas and also for whales that sometimes use the passage on their migration. Maria is a fascinating island with a wide variety of bird and mammal species, several of which were introduced in the 1960s. Of the mammals, we can expect to see Forester Kangaroo, Tasmanian Pademelon and Bennett’s Wallaby, Common Wombat and possibly Tasmanian Devil as the island was chosen as home for an insurance population of Devils that are free from the devastating Devil Facial Tumour Disease. 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. We shall enjoy a picnic lunch on the island. 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. In our searching we may also encounter Tawny Frogmouth.
Accommodation: Hobart Hotel (en suite rooms). Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 5. Wednesday 1 February 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 (montreme) 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 (en suite cabins) Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 6 Thursday 2 February 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. Friday 3 February 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 (en suite rooms). Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 8. Saturday 4 February 2023 Mt Field area to Cradle Mountain area.
This morning we will leave the Mt Field area and travel north to Cradle Mountain National Park. While today is largely a travel day, we will enjoy some 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 and at close range. Having become increasingly rare 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 (en suite cabins). Meals Included: B, L, D.
Day 9 Sunday 5 February 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 retrain 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. Monday 6 February 2023 Launceston and depart.
This morning we travel to Launceston after breakfast where you will be able to connect with a flight of your choice to one of the capital cities. If time permits, we will visit some wetlands en route where there is a chance to view several wetland species including Purple Swamphen, Spotless Crake, Australian Shelduck, Black-fronted Dotterel and Little Grassbird.
Please note that flights from Launceston should be made from around 13:00 as the guide will deliver those clients there around midday. Alternatively, we can organise an additional night in Launceston for you at the end of the tour at an additional cost if that is your preferred option.
Meals Included: B.
Group size: 6-8 participants and 1 Inala guide.
2023 Tour Price: AUD$ 5,885 per person twin share. Single supplement: AUD$1,050
Tour Price with pre-tour excursion: AUD$ 6,385 per person twin share. Single supplement: AUD$1,050
(Pre-tour excursion only available if joining main tour)
These prices are based on the current rate of GST and may need to be adjusted if there are significant changes.
Inclusions: 9 nights en-suite accommodation, specialist guiding and transport for day and night tours as outlined above, all meals as outlined in the itinerary, activities outlined in the itinerary (including the pelagic cruise and Maria Island excursion), National Park entry fees, Bruny Island ferry fares, GST (=VAT).
Exclusions: international or domestic Australian airfares, airport transfers on arrival, accommodation on the night before the Melaleuca excursion and breakfast on day 1, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and expenses of a personal nature (snacks, travel insurance, internet, laundry, tips etc).
Please note: Additional services: We are able to arrange either self-guided or guided extensions to other parts of Tasmania or Australia to compliment this tour. Please enquire at the Inala office and we will happily cater for you through our licensed travel agency.
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 South West flight and the pelagic: Both activities are weather dependant and there is no guarantee that we will be able to do either. Please see specific notes on alternatives should the flight be cancelled.