After The Rain - Gulf Country / Outback Queensland Tour 21 July - 4 Aug 2020

Tour date: 
Tuesday, 21 July 2020 to Tuesday, 4 August 2020
Duration: 
13 days
Price: 
AU $9065 per person twin share based on a minimum of 4 pax / Single supplement: AU $1175
Overview: 

Exciting News
We are offering a brand new tour to take advantage of the recent rain in Outback Queensland!

You may have heard of the widespread rain that has fallen in Western Queensland in recent weeks after years of drought. Where there was dust there are now lakes, and there is already evidence of life exploding. Check out this article which will give you a sense of some of the changes that are already occurring, such as Shield Shrimps incredibly appearing from the mud. The current initial increase of insects will then lead to a boom for birds and mammal populations in a few months’ time as the whole wonderful web regenerates.

We already fortuitously have a group tour scheduled in this area which is already fully booked. But we have now managed to secure accommodation in iconic areas which has enabled us to offer another 4WD tour in the Gulf Country of Outback Queensland in July-August this year to take full advantage of the predicted boom in wildlife numbers.

 Please let us know soon if you would be interested in taking advantage of this seldom-offered opportunity to see the very best of Outback Queensland’s birds and wildlife. We can take up to 4 people in one vehicle or up to 8 people in 2 vehicles. Places are limited and we expect this tour to be filled quickly.

This itinerary has been designed to adjoin our Cape York Tour 3rd Aug - 12 Aug 2020

Start Location: 
Cairns VIC
Australia
Finish location: 
Cairns VIC
Australia

Inala -After the Rain - Gulf Country / Outback Queensland Tour

Exciting News
We are offering a brand new tour to take advantage of the recent rain in Outback Queensland!

You may have heard of the widespread rain that has fallen in Western Queensland in recent weeks after years of drought. Where there was dust there are now lakes, and there is already evidence of life exploding. Check out this article which will give you a sense of some of the changes that are already occurring, such as Shield Shrimps incredibly appearing from the mud. The current initial increase of insects will then lead to a boom for birds and mammal populations in a few months’ time as the whole wonderful web regenerates.

We already fortuitously have a group tour scheduled in this area which is already fully booked. But we have now managed to secure accommodation in iconic areas which has enabled us to offer another 4WD tour in the Gulf Country of Outback Queensland in July-August this year to take full advantage of the predicted boom in wildlife numbers. Here is a link to the full itinerary with all details and costs. We have also added a Cape York extension in case you are interested in continuing on while you are up that way.

 Please let us know soon if you would be interested in taking advantage of this seldom-offered opportunity to see the very best of Outback Queensland’s birds and wildlife. We can take up to 4 people in one vehicle or up to 8 people in 2 vehicles. Places are limited and we expect this tour to be filled quickly.

ITINERARY OUTLINE:

GULF COUNTRY  (21 July – 4 August 2020):

Day 1. Tue 21 Jul 20. Arrive Cairns.
Day 2. Wed 22 Jul 20. Cairns to Georgetown.
Day 3.  Thu 23 Jul 20. Georgetown to Karumba.
Day 4.  Fri 24 Jul 20. Karumba.
Day 5. Sat 25 Jul 20. Kurumba to Burketown.
Day 6. Sun 26 Jul 20. Burketown to Boodjamulla National Park.
Day 7.  Mon 27 Jul 20. Boodjamulla National Park.
Day 8.  Tue 28 Jul 20. Boodjamulla National Park to Mount Isa.
Day 9.  Wed 29 Jul 20. Mount Isa area.
Day 10.  Thu 30 Jul 20. Mount Isa area.
Day 11. Fri 31 Jul 20. Mount Isa to Winton.
Day 12. Sat 1 Aug 20. Winton area.
Day 13. Sun 2 Aug 20. Winton to Charters Towers.
Day 14. Mon 3 Aug 20. Charters Towers to Cairns.
Day 15. Tue 4 Aug 20. Depart Cairns.

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner.

GULF COUNTRY SECTOR:

Day 1. Tuesday 21 July 2020. Arrive Cairns.
Arrive Cairns and own transfer to the Cairns waterfront hotel situated on Cairns Esplanade.  We shall meet at 18:00 for the group welcome dinner.
Accommodation: Cairns (en suite waterfront hotel rooms). Meals included: D.

Day 2. Wednesday 22 July 2020. Cairns to Georgetown.   
This morning we will depart Cairns and head west out into the drier country towards Georgetown. Birds we’ll hope to see en route include Red-tailed Black-cockatoo, Apostlebird, Cockatiel, Spotted Harrier, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Emu, Brown-backed Honeyeater, Dollarbird, Brown Treecreeper and White-throated Honeyeater.
Accommodation: Georgetown (en suite motel rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 3. Thursday 23 July 2020. Georgetown to Karumba.
This morning we’ll have a look around a dam near Georgetown which is famous for the finches that come to drink early morning. Here we hope to connect with Black-throated, Masked, Plum-headed (rare), Zebra and Double-barred Finches, as well as Pictorella & Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and the very rare Gouldian Finch if we’re really lucky.  Other woodland birds here include Rufous-throated, Yellow-tinted, Banded, Bar-breasted, Grey-fronted and Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Varied Lorikeet, Pale-headed Rosella, Red-browed Pardalote, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Brown Treecreeper, Spinifex Pigeon, Diamond Dove, Paperbark Flycatcher and Black-chinned Honeyeater. Waterbirds may include Black Bittern, Comb-crested Jacana, Green Pygmy-goose, Hardhead, Plumed Whistling-duck and Australasian Grebe. From here we will drive west from Georgetown along the Savannah Way, looking to see birds like Sarus Crane, Brolga, Black-necked Stork, Australian Pratincole, Emu, Weebill and White-browed & Masked Woodswallows.
Accommodation: Karumba (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 4. Friday 24 July 2020. Karumba.
We’ll explore the extensive mangroves and swampy grasslands in Karumba today.  The habitat here holds a few species we won’t have connected with yet including White-breasted Whistler, Mangrove Golden Whistler, Broad-billed Flycatcher, Yellow White-eye, Mangrove Gerygone, Mangrove Grey Fantail, Arafura Fantail, Red-headed Honeyeater, Mangrove Robin and Rufous-throated Honeyeater. In adjacent grassland flats there are Sarus Crane, Tawny Grassbird, the rare Zitting Cisticola, and the difficult to find Star Finch, which is more tied to freshwater environments around Karumba. Along roadsides and in wetlands and open habitats between Karumba and Normanton we have the chance of Australian Bustard, Australian Pratincole, Radjah Shelduck, Glossy Ibis and the possibility of an over-wintering Oriental Plover or two. At night we’ll try to locate one of the resident pairs of Barking Owl.
Accommodation:  Karumba (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 5. Saturday 25 July 2020. Karumba. Karumba to Burketown.
After a morning birding around Karumba we'll set off again, this time heading for Burketown, and of course we will stop to bird along the way. Birds: Brolga, Sarus Crane, Red-backed Fairy-Wren, Black-breasted Buzzard, Red-browed Pardalote, Striated Pardalote (black-headed race uropygialis), Ground Cuckoo-shrike, Little Woodswallow, White-throated Gerygone.
Accommodation: Burketown (en suite cabins). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 6. Sunday 26 July 2020. Burketown to Boodjamulla National Park (Lawn Hill).
It's only 207 km from Burketown to Adel's Grove but it will probably take at least 5-6 hrs to travel as it's fairly rough. Along this section we'll see similar birds to yesterday, but there will be a range of soughtafter specialties at Boodjamulla NP, and we'll base ourselves here for the next two nights. Birds we will aim to see here include Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, Buff-sided Robin, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, Long-tailed & Crimson Finch, Silver-crowned Friarbird, White-gaped Honeyeater, Pictorella Mannikin, Varied & Red-collared Lorikeet, Northern Fantail, Azure Kingfisher, Little Woodswallow and Paperbark Flycatcher.
Accommodation: near Boodjamulla National Park (en suite cabins). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 7. Monday 27 July 2020. Boodjamulla National Park.
We will spend a full day of birding around this prime location, looking for the aforementioned species, plus others like Northern Rosella, Red-winged Parrot, Great Bowerbird, White-throated, Grey-fronted, Grey-headed, Black-chinned (Golden-backed race laetior), Brown and Yellow-tinted Honeyeaters, Variegated & Red-backed Fairy-Wrens, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike and the possibility of the very rare Grey Falcon.
Accommodation: near Boodjamulla National Park (en suite cabins). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 8. Tuesday 28 July 2020. Boodjamulla National Park to Mt Isa.
After a final morning's birding in Boodjamulla NP we'll commence our journey to the somewhat more arid country around the mining town of Mt Isa, where we'll be based for the next three nights. We'll need a bit more time here to search for the regional specialties, the hardest of which are the Kalkadoon and Carpentarian Grasswrens. 
Accommodation: Mount Isa (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 9. Wednesday 29 July 2020. Mount Isa area.
Today we'll commence our search for the region's specialties with one of the harder to find birds - the Kalkadoon Grasswren. This is a tough and possibly arduous task, so we will need to set out early before the heat of the day kicks in. The Kalkadoon Grasswren occurs in Spinifex-clad hillsides strewn with large boulders so some nimble-footedness will help here. With some luck we can see them singing from atop a boulder. Also here, may be Grey-headed Honeyeater, Diamond Dove, Red-backed Kingfisher and Little Woodswallow. At around midday we'll head back to town for lunch, after which we will drive to a nearby Lake to look for a range of aquatic and woodland birds like Wandering Whistling-Duck, Glossy Ibis, Black-necked Stork, Intermediate Egret, Pacific Black Duck, White-eyed Duck, Black-tailed Treecreeper, Painted & Long-tailed Finch, Pictorella Mannikin, Bar-breasted Honeyeater, Varied Lorikeet, Little Friarbird and Rainbow Bee-eater.
Accommodation: Mount Isa (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 10. Thursday 30 July 2020. Mount Isa area.
Our target today will be the critically endangered Carpentarian Grasswren, and in order to see this bird we'll need to drive north west of Mount Isa for this increasingly difficult to find species. We'll try in several locations along the route and with some good fortune will have found the bird before the heat of the day kicks in. Other species here include Grey-headed Honeyeater, Painted Finch, Hooded Robin and Square-tailed Kite. Travel back to Mt Isa for lunch plus some more birding in the region. Additional chance of Kalkadoon Grasswren if needed.
Accommodation: Mount Isa (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 11. Friday 31 July 2020. Mount Isa to Winton.
With a bit of time up our sleeves we can bird the morning around Mt Isa to look for any birds we may be missing, and after lunch will head towards Cloncurry. Birds we can expect to see today include Australian Ringneck (local race macgillivrayi, "Cloncurry Parrot"), Varied Lorikeet, Cockatiel, Little Corella, Galah, Budgerigar, Ground Cuckoo-shrike, Emu, Little Crow, Apostlebird, Spotted Bowerbird, White-plumed Honeyeater and Black Falcon.
Accommodation: Winton (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 12. Saturday 1 August 2020. Winton area. 
We will visit a nearby National Park and have the whole day to look for a few species associated with Spinifex grasslands. We are on the edge of a range of species here that rely on this habitat type. Birds we are searching for today include Spinifexbird, Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, Spinifex Pigeon, Hall’s Babbler, Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, Painted Finch, Black Honeyeater, Pink-eared Duck, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Yellow-throated Miner, Mistletoebird, Black-tailed Native Hen and Red-browed Pardalote.
Accommodation: Winton (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 13. Sunday 2 August 2020. Winton to Charters Towers.
Today will involve a bit of travelling as we make our way back towards Cairns; we can stop for birding en route.
Accommodation: Charters Towers (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 14 (=Day 1 Cape York tour). Monday 3 August 2020. Charters Towers to Cairns.
Today we will continue our journey back to Cairns, stopping for birds en route. Tonight at dinner, we will farewell those who are departing after the Gulf Country section of the trip and welcome those arriving on the Cape York tour.
Accommodation: Cairns (en suite waterfront hotel rooms). Meals included: B L D.

Day 15. Tuesday 4 August 2020. Depart Cairns.
For those taking only the Gulf Country tour. Depart Cairns-no activities. No airport transfers are factored in.  
Accommodation: none. Meals Included: B

GULF COUNTRY / OUTBACK QLD
Cost: AU $9065 per person twin share  AU $1175  single supplement
Starting with a group size of 4 pax ( 1 driver/guides ) If interest is strong, then we shall run a group max of 8 pax ( 2 driver/guides )

This itinerary has been designed to adjoin our Cape York Tour 3rd Aug - 12 Aug 2020

CAPE YORK
Cost: AU $6560 per person twin share  AU $750  single supplement

BOTH TOURS
Normally AU $15,625 – Now with a HUGE $1000 discount for taking both tours = $14,625

Inclusions: accommodation and specialist guiding for day and night tours as outlined above, all meals as outlined in the itinerary, land transport and National Park entry fees. 

Exclusions: Airport-hotel transfers, alcoholic beverages, personal expenditure, all international and domestic flights.

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