Inala’s Top End Tour: Birds and Wildlife of Kakadu and the Kimberley
Day 1. Sat 22 June 2019. Explore Darwin area
Day 2. Sun 23 June 2019. Darwin to South Alligator, Kakadu
Day 3. Mon 24 June 2019. South Alligator to Cooinda, Kakadu
Day 4. Tue 25 June 2019. Kakadu to Pine Creek
Day 5. Wed 26 June 2019. Pine Creek to Timber Creek
Day 6. Thu 27 June 2019. Timber Creek
Day 7. Fri 28 June 2019. Timber Creek to Kununurra
Day 8. Sat 29 June 2019. Kununurra
Day 9. Sun 30 June 2019. Kununurra and depart
This tour concludes in Kunanarra on the 30th June, allowing you plenty of time to make your own way back to Darwin and attend the 2019 Australian Ornithological Conference (AOC) on the 3-5th July. Please get in touch for any further details.
B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner
Day 1. Saturday 22 June 2019. Darwin and surrounds.
The tour will start in Darwin this morning. Darwin is surrounded by a fantastic diversity of habitat types that we will spend the day exploring for a range of interesting birds and mammals. Mangrove and monsoon forests are especially rich, hosting an impressive range of possible highlights includes the elusive Chestnut Rail, Orange-footed Scrub-fowl, Rose-crowned Fruit Dove, the striking Rainbow Pitta, Forest Kingfisher, Red-headed Myzomela (Honeyeater), Mangrove Robin, Green Oriole, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Green-backed Gerygone, Spangled Drongo, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Great Bowerbird, Pheasant Coucal, Pied and Silver-backed Butcherbird and Red-collared Lorikeet. Little Red Flying-fox and Agile Wallaby are possible mammal highlights.
Accommodation: Darwin (en suite hotel room). Meals included: L, D.
Day 2. Sunday 23 June 2019. 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, Restless and Broad-billed Flycatchers. On arrival in Kakadu we will take a short walk to local lagoon to enjoy sunset. After dinner, if time permits, we may do some spotlighting for nocturnal species such as Barking Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Large-tailed Nightjar and Australian Owlet-nightjar.
Accommodation: South Alligator (en suite cabins). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 3. Monday 24 June 2019. 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 highlights. After this there is 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. Species we may enjoy at several other short stops today include Sandstone Shrike-Thrush, Chestnut Quilled Rock Pigeon, Partridge Pigeon (red eyed form) and Rufous-throated Honeyeater.In the afternoon we will enjoy a 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, White-bellied Sea-eagle and Purple Swamphen. The stately Great-billed Heron and Black Bittern may also be seen as might the rare Black Falcon. In the early evening we will check in to our accommodation.
Accommodation: Cooinda (en suite cabins). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 4. Tuesday 25 June 2019. Cooinda to Pine Creek.
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 south west towards the Pine Creek area. We will be sure to stop for any new birds and mammals on the way.
After checking in to our accommodations we will visit a dam where we may see Gouldian Finch. We may also opt for stops at the Water Gardens and the Old Cemetery where Red-winged Parrot, the sought-after Hooded Parrot, Northern Rosella, Red-backed Kingfisher, the delightful Red-backed Fairy-wren, Australian Figbird, Great Bowerbird and Masked, Long-tailed and Double-barred Finches are possible.
Accommodation: Pine Creek (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 5. Wednesday 26 June 2019. Pine Creek to Timber Creek.
Today we begin our journey west across the Top End. En route we have additional chances for Hooded Parrot and, with luck, we may see the uncommon northern race of Crested Shrike-tit. We will explore the cane-grass habitat on the fringes of the Victoria River for the lovely Purple-crowned Fairy-wren and Yellow-rumped Mannikin. Freshwater Crocodiles are common here and, unlike their saltwater cousins, subsist mostly on fish, and thus pose little threat to large mammals (humans included!). Other possible species today include Black-tailed Treecreeper, Rufous-throated, Black-chinned and Banded Honeyeaters and Buff-side Robin. Accommodation: Timber Creek (en suite hotel room). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 6. Thursday 27 June 2019. Timber Creek.
Today will be dedicated to continuing our search for the stunning Gouldian Finch. This area is also home to rich diversity of species and there will be plenty to keep us entertained while we search for our quarry. Highlights may include the sought-after Spinifex Pigeon, Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, Star, Long-tailed and Masked Finches and Chestnut and Yellow-rumped Mannikin. Accommodation: Timber Creek (en suite hotel room). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 7. Friday 28 June 2019. Timber Creek to Kununarra.
This morning we continue our sojourn west, and cross the Western Australia border. We will be on the lookout for the very rare Pictorella Mannikin and raptors as we go, including Square-tailed Kite. While today is a travel day, we will be passing through spectacular countryside and making regular stops to stretch our legs and enjoy any birding highlights. In the late afternoon, we will arrive in Kununurra in the fabled Kimberley area.
Accommodation: Kununurra (en suite hotel room). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 8. Saturday 29 June 2019. Kununurra.
Today we have a full day to explore the riches of the Kimberley in the Kununurra area. A certain highlight is bound to be a boat trip on Lake Argyle, where we will enjoy a wonderful variety of waterbirds, as well as search for two very special birds, the highly sought after Yellow Chat and White-quilled Rock Pigeon. Australian Reed-warbler may be seen in the lakeside vegetation, as might White-browed Crake and Pheasant Coucal. Local conditions will determine where we spend the rest of the day, with additional possible birding highlights including Brolga, Northern Rosella, Silver-crowned Friarbird, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Bar-breasted and Banded Honeyeaters, and Sandstone Shrike-thrush. Mammals in the area include Short-eared Rock-Wallaby and Northern Nail-tail Wallaby. Accommodation: Kununurra (en suite hotel room) Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 10. Sunday 30 June 2019. Kununurra and depart.
Today after breakfast we will transfer to the Kununurra airport where the tour will end. Based on 2018 flight schedule the following possibilities are available for onward travel: Kununurra to Broome 11:00-12:20 (and Broome to Perth 13:05-15:40) or Kununurra to Darwin 15:10-17:35.
Meals included: B
Tour Price: AU $5,250 per person sharing for a minimum group size of 6 people
Single supplement: AU $900
Price includes: 8 nights’ accommodation, specialist guide and transport, meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the itinerary.
Price does not include: International and domestic airfares, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, laundry or other items of a personal nature.
Please note: We would be pleased to arrange accommodation in Darwin on Friday 21 June 2019 so that you will be available to maximise your birding and wildlife viewing experience in Darwin at the start of the tour on day 1 above.
You may also like to consider returning to Darwin at the end of the tour to attend the Australasian Ornithological Conference which will be held from 3-5 July 2019 in Darwin.
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 usually 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.