Grand Australia Part I: Oct 01—17, 2015

New South Wales & the Northern Territory

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Price: $7,395
Internal flights not included
Departs: Sydney
Ends: Ayers Rock
Tour Limit: 10
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (115.3 KB)

Route Map

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Tour Leaders

Hobcroftdion

Dion Hobcroft

Dion Hobcroft has been working for VENT since 2001. He has led many tours (more than 160) to...


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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

A Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove posed beautifully in Darwin.

Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove— Photo: Dion Hobcroft

A highly varied tour that explores all of the very best the island continent has to offer. We will see an extensive cross section of all of the special birds of Down Under, enjoying great hospitality and scenery, and very unusual wildlife.

This is our finest, most comprehensive tour of Australia—a grand Australian tour de force. We will travel the entire continent, searching out birds from the common to the rare and most elusive. We expect the trip list from this tour to represent over 80% of the species of Australia. Australia is a vast, ancient, timeless land of special beauty and infinite wonder, and yet it is one of the easiest, most comfortable, and intriguing places to explore on our planet. Fine roads, superb accommodations, and a fabulous assortment of books and guides on every aspect of Australia’s natural, cultural, and historical heritage ensure that the birder in Australia can truly enjoy a holiday.

Australia’s geographic isolation has resulted in the evolution of a remarkable array of endemic birds and other wildlife. Of the 76 indigenous Australian bird families, eight are endemic to Australia, and a further seven are shared only with nearby New Guinea. Approximately 300+ of the recorded 760 species are found nowhere else on our planet. More than 80% of Australia’s mammals are endemic and include two of the world’s three egg-laying monotremes: the short-beaked echidna and the platypus. There is an extraordinary variety of marsupials, including gliders, possums, miniature carnivores, burrow-dwelling macropods, and huge plains-dwelling red kangaroos. Australia also hosts the most diverse reptile fauna in the world, including such striking creatures as the thorny devil, frilled dragon, and 24 species of highly predatory goannas (monitor lizards).

Little Kingfisher

Little Kingfisher— Photo: Dion Hobcroft

We begin in Sydney, considered by many to be one of the finest cities in the world. Here we explore rainforests, woodlands, and heathlands with a day spent on the ocean with the albatross. From Australia’s east coast we wing our way northwest across the heart of this sun-burnt land to Darwin, the capital of the vast Northern Territory. The territory is enormously rich in birds and aboriginal art, and we will see the best of these in Kakadu National Park: waterbirds (Magpie Geese, Black-necked Storks, and Brolgas), gigantic saltwater crocodiles, and a host of neat kangaroo species. The Arnhem Land Escarpment is one of the great natural wonders of the world, highlighted by exquisite prehistoric rock paintings and such localized specialties as Banded Fruit-Dove, Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon, and Sandstone Shrike-thrush. Further to the south we will seek out such localized rarities as Hooded Parrot, Purple-crowned Fairywren, and the spectacular and endangered Gouldian Finch.

We continue to Australia’s “Red Center” and the Alice (Alice Springs). Amidst starkly beautiful red sandstone gorges, hidden waterholes, mulga woodlands, and spinifex plains we will search for some of Australia’s true “Outback” birds: gorgeous Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos, confiding Spinifex Pigeons, elusive mice-like Dusky Grasswrens, and a host of nifty parrots and honeyeaters. Our last two days will be spent in and around Uluru (Ayers Rock) where, in addition to viewing this huge, red rock monolith at sunset, we will have the opportunity to see yet more of Australia’s elusive desert dwellers.

Very good accommodations with many two- and even three-night stays; excellent food; easy terrain; good roads, comfortable vehicles; many superb wildlife photographic opportunities; time to swim, shop, and explore on your own; climate varies from hot and humid in the tropics, dry and hot in the deserts, to cool and pleasant in the southern temperate regions.