Inala & Cheesemans Northern Australia Tour 1-15th Sept 2021

Rainbow Bee Eater - Bob Lewis - Inala Nature Tours
Rainbow Bee Eater - Bob Lewis - Inala Nature Tours
Tour date: 
Wednesday, 1 September 2021 to Wednesday, 15 September 2021
Duration: 
15 days
Price: 
Price per person twin share: $13,875. Single supplement: $3,300.
Highlights: 
This Northern Australian sector covers iconic areas such as Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Watarrka (King’s Canyon) in central Australia, Darwin and Kakadu in the Top End and the Wet Tropics area of north Queensland including a reef trip and rainforest experience.
Overview: 

This Northern Australian sector covers iconic areas such as Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Watarrka (King’s Canyon) in central Australia, Darwin and Kakadu in the Top End and the Wet Tropics area of north Queensland including a reef trip and rainforest experience. It has been designed to adjoin a Southern Australian sector (15-28 September 2021).

 

We are partnering with our long-term friends and fellow travel company Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris (USA) to co-promote a ‘best of Australian Wildlife’ Tour which we are offering either as a separate northern and southern Australian sectors, or as a combined 28-day megatour which we are offering at a discounted price.  

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

Inala & Cheesemans Northern Australia Tour 1-15th Sept 2021

We are partnering with our long-term friends and fellow travel company Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris (USA) to co-promote a ‘best of Australian Wildlife’ Tour which we are offering either as a separate northern and southern Australian sectors, or as a combined 28-day megatour which we are offering at a discounted price.  

This Northern Australian sector covers iconic areas such as Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Watarrka (King’s Canyon) in central Australia, Darwin and Kakadu in the Top End and the Wet Tropics area of north Queensland including a reef trip and rainforest experience. It has been designed to adjoin a Southern Australian sector (15-28 September 2021).

The tour will be led by Inala’s Dr Tonia Cochran with local guides in each location.

ITINERARY OUTLINE:

Day 1. Wed 1 Sept 21. Arrive Uluru. Accom: Ayers Rock Resort
Day 2. Thu 2 Sept 21. Kata Tjuta to Kings Canyon. Accom: Kings Canyon.
Day 3. Fri 3 Sept 21. Kings Canyon-Watarrka NP. Accom: Kings Canyon.
Day 4. Sat 4 Sept 21.  Kings Canyon to Alice Springs, Accom: Alice Springs.
Day 5. Sun 5 Sept 21. Fly Alice Springs to Darwin. Accom: Darwin.
Day 6. Mon 6 Sept 21. Darwin to South Alligator, Kakadu. Accom: South Alligator.
Day 7. Tue 7 Sept 21. South Alligator to Cooinda, Kakadu. Accom: Cooinda.
Day 8. Wed 8 Sept 21. Cooinda to Darwin. Accom: Darwin.
Day 9. Thu 9 Sept 21. Fly Darwin to Cairns. Accommodation: Cairns.
Day 10. Fri 10 Sept 21. Cairns to Atherton Tablelands. Accom: Atherton Tablelands.
Day 11. Sat 11 Sept 21. Atherton Tablelands. Accom: Atherton Tablelands.
Day 12. Sun 12 Sept 21. Atherton Tablelands to Daintree. Accom: Daintree.
Day 13. Mon 13 Sept 21. Daintree River Cruise return Cairns. Accom: Cairns.
Day 14. Tue 14 Sept 21. Great Barrier Reef -Michaelmas Cay. Accom: Cairns.
Day 15. Wed 15 Sept 21. Depart Cairns (= Day 1. Fly Cairns-Brisbane for those joining the Sthn Australian tour).

DETAILED ITINERARY:

B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner

Day 1. Wednesday 1 September 2021. Arrive Uluru.  
Today is set aside as an arrival day (direct flights are available from most capital cities including Sydney and Melbourne and there are free transfers to the hotel. Meet as a group in the foyer of the hotel at 16:00 for a pre-departure briefing, before traveling to the famous Uluru (Ayers Rock) to watch the sunset change the remarkable monolith to spectacular and enjoy an Australian barbeque dinner. We will return to our hotel around 21:30.
Accommodation: Ayers Rock Resort -Outback Pioneer (en suite rooms). Meals included: D.

Day 2. Thursday 2 September 2021. Kata Tjuta to Kings Canyon.
This morning we will leave at around 06:00 and travel to Kata Tjuta (formerly known as the Olgas) to eat our picnic breakfast and watch the sunrise before taking a stroll around this sacred where the remarkable domed geological formations tower 1,500 feet over the flat surrounding landscape. We will then travel to Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park where we will settle into our cabins on arrival.  
Accommodation: Kings Canyon Resort (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 3.  Friday 3 September 2021. Kings Canyon-Watarrka National Park.
We will spend the day exploring Kings Canyon and the Watarrka National Park today. The scenic landscape of rugged ranges, rock holes and gorges act as a refuge for many plants and animals. With over 600 species of plants, Kings Canyon is botanically the richest region in arid Australia, making the park an important conservation area and a major attraction of central Australia. Kings Canyon features ancient sandstone walls sculpted by the elements over the millennia and rising 300 feet to a plateau of rocky domes. There will be an opportunity to walk around the rim of the canyon and take some other shorter walks in the area. There is also an option of taking a helicopter flight over the canyon (price not included).
Accommodation: Kings Canyon Resort (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 4. Saturday 4 September 2021. Watarrka to Alice Springs.  
Today will be mostly a day of travel towards Alice Springs with stops en route to explore the amazing Australian Outback scenery. One stop will include an area of waterholes off the Stuart Highway on the Hugh River. This fruitful area is usually home to a few patches of water and these, along with the fabled River Red Gums, attract a range of species. This is an excellent area for parrots, including Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Little Corella, Budgerigar, Galah and Cockatiel.  On our arrival in Alice Springs we will visit the local botanic gardens which is home to a multitude of resident birds including Australian Ringneck Parrot and Western Bowerbird (the male bowerbird is often seen around his bower trying to attract a mate). Euros and Black-flanked Rock Wallaby can also be found here in the late afternoon. Our hotel is situated on one side by the (usually dry) Todd River and on the other by a pedestrian mall where Indigenous art can be purchased.
Accommodation: Aurora Alice Springs (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 5. Sunday 5 September 2021. Fly Alice Springs to Darwin:
This morning after breakfast we will make our way to the airport for our onward flight to Darwin. The best flight option is a Qantas flight ASP-DRW 11:40-13:40 (based on 2019 schedule and flight time of 2 hours). On our arrival, we will check into our accommodation before spending the afternoon in the Botanical Gardens where we will enjoy our first views of the birds and flora of the area. Possibilities include Red-collared Lorikeet, Orange-footed Scrub-fowl, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Little Bronze-cuckoo, White-breasted Woodswallow, Magpie Goose, Torresian Imperial Pigeon, Rainbow Bee-eater, Sacred Kingfisher and Brown Honeyeater.
Accommodation: Travelodge Resort Darwin (en suite hotel room) Meals included: B, L, D.   

Day 6. Monday 6 September 2021. Darwin to South Alligator (Kakadu).
This morning we start the day with a visit to Fogg Dam. This well-known site is an excellent area for waterbirds including Magpie Goose, Green Pygmy-goose, Pied Heron, Glossy Ibis, the stately Brolga, White-browed Crake and the quirky Comb-crested Jacana. En route to Kakadu we will enjoy a stop at the Adelaide River crossing for lunch where we may see Mangrove Golden Whistler and a variety of flycatchers like Shining, Leaden, Restless and Broad-billed Flycatchers. On arrival in Kakadu we will enjoy a short walk to local lagoon not far from out cabins to enjoy sunset.  After dinner, we may enjoy some spotlighting for nocturnal species such as Barking Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Large-tailed Nightjar and Australian Owlet-nightjar.
Accommodation: Aurora Kakadu, South Alligator (en suite cabins). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 7. Tuesday 7 September 2021. South Alligator to Cooinda (Kakadu).
This morning we will make a stop at the impressive Mamukala Wetlands where, if conditions are right, we can enjoy thousands of birds of many species. Plumed and Wandering Whistling Ducks, Radjah Shelduck, Black-necked Stork, Magpie Goose and Green Pygmy-goose are possible bird highlights and File snakes and Long-necked Turtles can also be found here, a traditional hunting ground for the local indigenous people. There will also be an option to visit Ubirr, a site of rock outcrops in Kakadu that is home to some impressive aboriginal rock art. The art depicts creation ancestors and animals of the area, including several fish and turtle species, wallabies and possums. In the late afternoon, Short-eared Rock Wallabies may be seen emerging from their shelters. Bird specialties found here include Sandstone Shrike-Thrush, Chestnut Quilled Rock Pigeon, Partridge Pigeon (red eyed form) and Rufous-throated Honeyeater. In the late afternoon, we will enjoy a rewarding sunset cruise on the Yellow Waters Billabong, Kakadu’s best-known wetland. This impressive wetland of channels, swamps and floodplains is a delight to explore and is home to crocodiles a-plenty and a variety of waterbirds including Nankeen Night-heron, Black-necked Stork, Little Kingfisher and Purple Swamphen. Raptors such as White-bellied Sea-eagle, Whistling and Black Kites are also commonly seen here and we will see plenty of Crocodiles in the water and on the banks.  
Accommodation: Cooinda Lodge Kakadu (en suite cabin).  Meals included: B, L, D. 

Day 8. Wednesday 8 September 2021. Cooinda to Darwin.
This morning we will make an early visit to Nourlangie Rock where we have a reasonable chance of seeing the range-restricted Black Wallaroo, Banded Fruit-dove, White-lined Honeyeater, Little Woodswallow, Black-tailed Treecreeper and Helmeted Friarbird. We will then enjoy a last look around Kakadu before making our way out of the park and heading back to Darwin. On the way back we will visit Howard Springs Nature Park where large fish such as (delicious!) Barramundi as reptiles like Yellow-faced Turtle can be easily viewed. We will also be searching for the elusive Rainbow Pitta. We will return to Darwin late afternoon.
Accommodation: Travelodge Resort Darwin (en suite rooms).  Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 9. Thursday 9 September 2021. Fly Darwin to Cairns.
If time allows before our flight this morning, we will take an opportunity to visit a few local parks and beaches around the Darwin area before heading to the airport for our flight to Cairns. The best flight option is a Jetstar flight DRW-CNS 12:05-15:05 (based on 2019 schedule and flight time of 2.5 hours). On our arrival in Cairns, we will transfer to our hotel on the Esplanade overlooking the Coral Sea. There will be an option of visiting the intertidal sand flats which are famous for migratory waders and nearby mangroves to see a variety of birds like Mangrove Robin, Shining Flycatcher and Beach Stone-curlew.
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Harbourside, Cairns (en suite harbour view room).  Meals included: B, L, D. 

Day 10. Friday 10 September 2021. Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands.
Today we will leave coastal Cairns and make our way to the Atherton Tablelands, stopping at several sites on the way. In areas of farmland we may see Brolga and Sarus Crane. In the afternoon, we will arrive at our accommodation for the next two nights. The lodge, set in lush rainforest brimming with birds and wildlife, is adjacent to Crater Lake National Park, and is a fantastic base from which to explore the riches of the area. The lodge grounds are home to an abundance of birdlife including Wompoo and Superb Fruit Dove, Spotted Catbird, Tooth-billed Bowerbird, White-throated Treecreeper, Macleay’s and Bridled Honeyeater, Yellow-breasted Boatbill and Victoria’s Riflebird (a member of the Bird of Paradise family) Several mammals may also be seen here in the evening including Long-nosed Bandicoot, Sugar Glider, Northern Striped Possum and Red-legged Pademelon.  
Accommodation: Chambers Rainforest Lodge in the Atherton Tablelands (en suite cabins).  Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 11. Saturday 11 September 2021. Atherton Tablelands.
Today we will explore the tapestry of farmland, woodland and rainforest for a wonderful cross-section of wildlife, which will include several national Parks: Crater Lakes National Park (comprising 2 volcanic lakes: Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham), Mt. Hypipamee NP and Curtain Fig NP. We will search for a range of bird species, including several bowerbirds, Victoria's Riflebird and Chowchillas and most importantly, Southern Cassowary! There will also be an opportunity to take an evening tour in search of more of the range-restricted endemic mammals in the area which include Green, Lemuroid and Herbert River Ringtail Possums, Coppery-tailed Possums as well as Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo. We may also see Platypus!
Accommodation: Chambers Rainforest Lodge in the Atherton Tablelands (en suite hotel cabins) as for last night.  Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 12. Sunday 12 September 2021. Atherton Tablelands to the Daintree.
This morning we will travel northwards, stopping en route at some wetlands where a multitude of waterbirds may be seen. We will also visit Granite Gorge where we hope to enjoy encounters with Squatter Pigeon and the Mareeba Rock Wallaby. Additional species we may see on our journey today include Red-winged Parrot, Red-tailed Black-cockatoo and Australian Bustard which prefer the dry savannah country in this region, and which makes a stark contrast to the rainforest areas of the Tablelands and the coast. In the late afternoon, we will arrive at our accommodation set on the banks of the fabled Daintree River.
Accommodation: Daintree Riverview Cabins (en suite cabins). Meals included: B, L, D. 

Day 13. Monday 13 September 2021. Daintree to Cairns.
This morning we will enjoy an early morning boat cruise on the Daintree River where we may enjoy sightings of Azure and Little Kingfisher, Large-billed Gerygone, Varied Triller, Shining Flycatcher and Fairy Martin, as well as a chance of the rare & localised Great-billed Heron.  Additional species we may see in the area include Bar-shouldered Dove, Pacific Koel, Papuan Frogmouth, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Helmeted Friarbird, Dusky Myzomela and White-breasted Woodswallow. We will then make our way back to Cairns where we will spend the afternoon visiting the Botanic Gardens and adjoining wetlands and conservation areas which offer a fine mix of water and bush birds. Australian Brush Turkey, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Australasian Figbird, Black Butcherbird, Green Oriole, the stunning Noisy Pitta and Lovely Fairy-wren may all been seen here as might Spectacled Flying Fox. In the wetlands we will search for Comb-crested Jacana, Radjah Shelduck, Green Pygmy Geese, White-browed Crake and the handsome Crimson Finch.  
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Harbourside, Cairns (en suite harbour view room).  Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 14. Tuesday 14 September 2021. Great Barrier Reef -Michaelmas Cay.
This morning we will transfer to the Cairns wharf to start our day trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We will cruise towards to stunning Michaelmas Cay which is situated on the Outer reef about 25 miles offshore from Cairns. This coral cay is an important nesting area for an array of tropical seabirds, including Brown Booby, Sooty, Bridled and Black-naped Tern, Common and Black Noddy, Lesser Frigatebird, Pacific Golden Plover and Ruddy Turnstone. More uncommonly Masked Booby, Wandering Tattler, Roseate Tern and Great Frigatebird are seen. The cay is also surrounded by tropical coral reef where we will have the opportunity to snorkel. We will return to our hotel late afternoon and join a farewell dinner for those who are only joining this section of the tour.
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Harbourside, Cairns (en suite harbour view room).  Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 15. Wednesday 15 September 2021. Depart Cairns (= Day 1. Fly Cairns to Brisbane for those joining the Southern Australian tour).
This morning the tour will end after breakfast at our hotel. Those guests linking up with the Southern Australian tour will travel to Cairns airport to fly to Brisbane to continue our adventures. The best flight option is a Qantas flight CNS-BNE 10:40-12:45 (based on 2019 schedule and flight time of 2 hours).  
Meals included: B.

PRICING AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (AUD$)
Price per person twin share: $13,875. Single supplement: $3,300.
10% discount for taking both sectors ($24,750 reduced from $27,500 per person twin share) and $6,630 single supplement.
Price based on a group size of 12 people + Dr Tonia Cochran with local guides in each location.

Inclusions: 14 nights’ accommodation, transport and specialist guiding for day and night tours as outlined above, including airport transfers from Ayers Rock airport to Ayers Rock Resort (free shuttle) on 1 September and transfer from Cairns hotel to Cairns airport on 15 September for those continuing onto the Southern Australian sector or wishing to travel out with the group on finishing their tour. Also includes all meals, entrance fees and activities including the trip to the Great Barrier Reef as outlined in the itinerary, transport, National Park entry fees and activities and Goods and Services Tax (=VAT).

Exclusions: alcoholic beverages, gratuities, laundry service, personal expenditure or international/domestic flights. Also does not include helicopter flight at Kings Canyon or airport transfers on 15 September in addition to main group transfer.

Flights not included in price but are best options based on 2019 flight schedules. We will provide final flight details closer to the time of departure.

Please note:  
Non-smoking policy: We have a strict non-smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our tours.

Maximum time in nature: We try to spend as much time in nature as possible, sometimes resulting in long days, but giving you a more in-depth experience.

Itinerary route: The itinerary route, stops, and plans are subject to change by unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as weather or road conditions.

Additional forms: For some of our tours, you may be asked to fill out additional forms (e.g., medical questionnaire).

Medical conditions and travel risks: Travel to remote places is exciting, but it is important to understand and accept the risks, both medical and logistical. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but because you are often far from medical facilities, there can be no expectation for immediate medical treatment or evacuation, even in cases of trauma. Anyone with health problems needing close medical supervision should not consider going on this tour. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your deposit and signed Reservation Form, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for other trip participants.

Use of drones/UAVs on tours: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), AKA drones, are not suitable for use on most tours due to logistical constraints and in many cases, local and national laws or regulations. In some cases we operate under environmental regulations that ban the use of recreational drones. Do not bring a drone on safari without contacting us first.

Conservation: Both Inala Nature Tours and Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris are passionate about conserving the precious regions that we travel to and support many conservation efforts. By visiting these areas, we contribute to sustainable conservation of these valuable wildlife habitats. We urge you to support conservation organizations that protect and restore natural habitats and write letters to tourism and government agencies to promote work in preserving wildlife.

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