Gulf Country - Outback Queensland Tour 25 Aug - 8 Sept 2022

Zebra Finch - Dennis Braddy - Inala Nature Tours
Zebra Finch - Dennis Braddy - Inala Nature Tours
Tour date: 
Thursday, 25 August 2022 to Thursday, 8 September 2022
Duration: 
15 days
Price: 
2022 TBC ( 2021 Price = AU$ 9,065 per person sharing (based on a min of 4 paying participants). Single supplement: AU$1,175 )
Overview: 

Join Inala Nature Tours for an unforgettable excursion into the many and varied habitats of Queensland’s Gulf Country and arid north-west. We expect the region will be crawling with life, and out on the spinifex plains and eucalypt-lined creeks we can expect to see big flocks of Budgerigar and Cockatiel, mixed flocks of finches like Long-tailed, Masked, Zebra and Plum-headed Finch as well as Pictorella Mannikin and Painted Firetail. In pandanus-fringed riparian waterways and rocky, sandstone gorges we’ll look for Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, Buff-sided Robin and Sandstone Shrike-thrush, plus the added possibility of Grey Falcon. Mangrove forests along the Gulf Coast should yield Red-headed Honeyeater, Broad-billed Flycatcher, White-breasted & Mangrove Golden Whistlers & Arafura Fantail. And that’s not mentioning the grasswrens, the likes of which include Kalkadoon, Carpentarian and Rusty Grasswren on this itinerary. Add to that a good chance of Rufous-crowned Emu-wren as well as White-winged, Red-backed and Purple-backed Fairywrens, and this tour certainly delivers a fair punch in terms of an amazing variety of birds and wildlife.

Start Location: 
Cairns QLD
Australia
Finish location: 
Cairns QLD
Australia

Inala Gulf Country - Outback Queensland Tour 25 Aug - 8 Sept 2022

This tour has been designed to link with our Inala Cape York Queensland tour 8 - 15 Sept 2022

Join Inala Nature Tours for an unforgettable excursion into the many and varied habitats of Queensland’s Gulf Country and arid north-west. We expect the region will be crawling with life, and out on the spinifex plains and eucalypt-lined creeks we can expect to see big flocks of Budgerigar and Cockatiel, mixed flocks of finches like Long-tailed, Masked, Zebra and Plum-headed Finch as well as Pictorella Mannikin and Painted Firetail. In pandanus-fringed riparian waterways and rocky, sandstone gorges we’ll look for Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, Buff-sided Robin and Sandstone Shrike-thrush, plus the added possibility of Grey Falcon. Mangrove forests along the Gulf Coast should yield Red-headed Honeyeater, Broad-billed Flycatcher, White-breasted & Mangrove Golden Whistlers & Arafura Fantail. And that’s not mentioning the grasswrens, the likes of which include Kalkadoon, Carpentarian and Rusty Grasswren on this itinerary. Add to that a good chance of Rufous-crowned Emu-wren as well as White-winged, Red-backed and Purple-backed Fairywrens, and this tour certainly delivers a fair punch in terms of an amazing variety of birds and wildlife.

ITINERARY OUTLINE:

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

DETAILED ITINERARY

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

Day 1. Thursday 25 August 2022. Arrive Cairns.
Arrive Cairns and own transfer to the Cairns airport hotel by 18:00 for group welcome dinner.
Accommodation: Cairns (en suite motel rooms). Meals included: D.

Day 2. Friday 26 August 2022. 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. Saturday 27 August 2022. 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. Sunday 28 August 2022. 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. Monday 29 August 2022. 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. Tuesday 30 August 2022. 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 sought after 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. Wednesday 31 August 2022. 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. Thursday 1 September 2022. 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. Friday 2 September 2022. 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. Saturday 3 September 2022. 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 to a well-known location 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. Sunday 4 September 2022. 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. Monday 5 September 2022. 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. Tuesday 6 September 2022. Winton to Charters Towers.
Today will involve a bit of travelling as we make our way back towards Cairns; however we can stop for birding en route.
Accommodation: Charters Towers (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 14. Wednesday 7 September 2022. Charters Towers to Cairns.
Today we will continue our journey back to Cairns, stopping for birds en route.
Accommodation: Cairns (en suite rooms). Meals included: B L D.

Day 15 (= Day 1 of Cape York Queensland Tour) Thursday 8 September 2022. Depart Cairns. Depart Cairns this morning or for those joining the Cape York Tour, you will meet the rest of the group at the welcome dinner tonight in Cairns.  
Accommodation: none. Meals Included: B

Tour Price: 2022 tour price TBA, (2021 price AU$ 9,065 per person sharing based on a minimum of 4 paying participants with one specialist guide/driver in one vehicle and 8 to 9 people with 2 guides in 2 x 4WD vehicles.)

Single supplement: 2022 price TBA, (2021 single supp AU$1,175)

We would be pleased to offer a discounted price for participants who choose to join both Cape York and Outback Queensland sections.

Price includes: All accommodation as per the itinerary, specialist guide and transport, meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the above itinerary. (These prices are based on the current rate of GST and may need to be adjusted if there are significant changes)

Price does not include: International and domestic airfares except the Cairns to Lockhart River flight ( Cape York Tour Section ), airport transfers, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, gratuities, laundry or other items of a personal nature.

Please note:

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.

Remoteness: Please note that for much of this tour we will be birding in a wonderful yet remote part of Australia. Most of the roads are unsealed and rough and travel will be in 4WD vehicles. If you have medical conditions or health concerns, it is important you make us aware of these in advance of this tour.

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