At the present time EcoQuest Travel does not have a trip to Australia scheduled. The following itinerary is an example of trips we have conducted in the past and is similar to trips we intend to offer in the future. Please keep in mind that Australia is a vast continent and EcoQuest Travel offers many different itineraries to The Land Down Under – the trip listed below is just one example. If you are interested in Australia as a destination please contact us for further information.

Australian Adventure

Rainforests, the Outback and the Great Barrier Reef

14-Day Natural History Trip – With Optional 6-Day Extension to Tasmania

ITINERARY

Day 1 and 2 – Friday and Saturday, October 10 & 11: Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia

We will depart from Los Angeles on our overnight Qantas flight to Sydney, Australia. We will not depart for Australia until late in the evening on the 10th, so there will be plenty of time to reach Los Angeles from your home cities. Please be at our departure gate no later than two hours prior to our scheduled departure time. When we cross the International Dateline we will lose a day and will arrive in Sydney on the morning of October 12th.

Day 3 – Sunday, October 12: Sydney to Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands

After our arrival in Sydney we transfer to the domestic terminal for our two hour flight to Cairns in the far north of Queensland. On arrival we will be met by our guide and begin our travel to the Atherton Tablelands by taking the Skyrail gondola up over the Kuranda Range to Kuranda township. The gondolas are enclosed and offer exceptional views of Cairns, the ocean and the mountains. The gondolas make two stops along the way, one at Red Peak Station where we will take a short walk in the rainforest. The second stop is at Baron Falls Station where there is a small but informative interpretation center. Arriving in Kuranda we will meet our private coach, have lunch and have a brief visit to the Butterfly Sanctuary. After lunch we will travel to Yungaburra to settle into our accommodations at Eden House. The afternoon will be spent bird watching and we will visit a local creek to look for platypus at dusk. We will return to Eden House for dinner and overnight. Eden House is a beautiful place with lush gardens, fantastic food and sumptuously appointed rooms. (L,D)

Day 4 – Monday, October 13: Atherton Tablelands

We will arise early this morning in an effort to reset our biological clocks. If we did not see a platypus yesterday we will look for it again and do a bit of birding. If we did see a platypus then we will visit the Cathedral Fig Tree. Situated in the midst of a spectacular patch of forest the Fig Tree is a great place to see birds and possibly mammals. If enough time permits we could do both before breakfast at Lake Barrine.  After breakfast we will explore Lake Barrine on our private cruise around this volcanic lake. We will look for birds and for the small musky rat kangaroo as it forages in the undergrowth. The lake is a great place for reptiles as well and if we’re lucky we could see saw-shelled turtles and maybe an amethystine python. After our cruise we will continue across the tablelands with lunch at the Tolga Woodworks. While our lunch is being prepared we will have a woodworking demonstration and have a chance to browse through the incredible carvings in the gift shop. After lunch we will visit an ancient crater filled with water of unknown depth. The crater is in Hypipamee National Park and is a good wildlife and birding area. After an enjoyable picnic dinner we will spotlight for possums, bandicoots and other small nocturnal mammals and also look for Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo. After a full day we will return to Yungaburra for overnight at Eden House. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Tuesday, October 14: Atherton Tablelands to Daintree/Cape Tribulation

After an early breakfast we will cross the tablelands as we drive to Daintree National Park. On the way we will stop at Granite Gorge for a chance to see the resident rock wallabies and visit Lake Mitchell for waterbirds such as comb-crested jacana, black-necked stork, green pygmy goose, black swan, radjah shelduck and white-faced heron. We will also stop to have lunch at Mt. Molloy before driving on to the small sugar-mill town of Mossman where we will cross the Daintree River by barge. Once across the river we will visit the Daintree Environmental Center before continuing on to our accommodations at the Daintree Heritage Lodge. The Daintree Environmental Center is set in the rainforests of Daintree National Park and has several interpretive trails and a four story canopy tower. Heritage eco-lodge is set in the rainforest with beautiful cabins along Little Cooper Creek. It also has a swimming pool and all manner of modern conveniences. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Wednesday, October 15: Daintree/Cape Tribulation

We will arise early this morning for our boat cruise on the Daintree River. This trip should offer great views of saltwater crocodiles as well as some more elusive bird species such as great-billed heron, white-bellied sea-eagle, pied imperial pigeon, channel-billed cuckoo, double-eyed fig-parrot and little kingfisher. After our cruise we will have breakfast at the Daintree Café before heading to the Jindalba section of Daintree NP. Jindalba is a great spot for rainforest birds and the best area to try to spot the elusive cassowary. We will spend the morning in the Jindalba section and then have lunch at a local restaurant.  After lunch we will visit Cape Tribulation to hike the Marja Boardwalk that takes us out through the mangroves to the sea. Our guide, Ellen Terrell, will introduce us to some of the ancient plant life of the area. Ellen has lived in the Daintree area for many years, is an excellent birder and specializes in local plants. We can take a walk along the beach (swimming is not advised, as you will see from the notices at this time of the year due to the deadly box jellyfish). We will overnight at Heritage Lodge. We will probably spotlight again after dark. We are not likely to see much in the way of mammals, but possibly a snake or two and lizards like the Boyd’s forest dragons should be present. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Thursday, October 16: Daintree/Cape Tribulation to Julatten

We will depart early this morning back across the Daintree River and through Mossman to Julatten and Kingfisher Park Lodge. We will spend the morning bird watching around the rainforest area of Mt. Lewis. In the afternoon we will travel to the dry outback area around Mt. Carbine to look for wildlife. We will arrive back at Kingfisher Park Lodge in time for dinner. We will overnight at Kingfisher Park Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Friday, October 17: Great Barrier Reef

We will pack up early, and have an early breakfast, before departing at 7:00am for Port Douglas to board our boat, the Quicksmart, bound for the Great Barrier Reef. This is a fast boat that stops at 2 or 3 different sites on the reef for snorkeling and diving and should provide an excellent opportunity to explore the wonders of the largest reef system in the world. The sheer number of species of tropical marine fish is mind boggling and the array of colors on the reef is incredible. No trip to Australia would be complete without at least a day on the Great Barrier Reef. Lunch aboard the boat is included. On our return to Port Douglas we join the Quicksilver coach to travel to Cairns and settle into the Matson Plaza Hotel for overnight.  Dinner will be provided at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Saturday, October 18: Cairns and Flight to Darwin

This morning there will be an option for some early birding in the vicinity of the hotel with breakfast by 8:00 a.m. After breakfast we will pack up our luggage, storing it at the hotel, and leave by10:00 a.m. Our coach and guide will take us to the Botanical Gardens and after lunch to the Cairns Crocodile Farm (not for the crocodiles but one of the best places for birding!). After our stop at the Croc Farm we will head to the airport for our flight to Darwin. On arrival in Darwin we will be met and transferred to our hotel. We will eat supper on the flight. (B,L,D)

Days 10 & 11 – Sunday & Monday, October 19 & 20: Kakadu National Park

We will leave Darwin at 6:30 a.m. to travel to Kakadu National Park. Our first stop will be at Fogg Dam for sunrise and the birds including magpie geese, black-necked storks, galahs, cockatoos and jacanas. Fogg Dam started out as a rice-growing project that became ill fated because the magpie geese fed on the rice plants. Over the years Fogg Dam has been transformed into a sanctuary for birds and other native fauna. After our stop at Fogg Dam we continue on to Corroboree Park Tavern for breakfast. After breakfast we travel through the park stopping for lunch. After lunch we will travel into the northern end of the Park to visit Obirr Aboriginal Rock Art site and the East Alligator River. Accommodation tonight and tomorrow night will be in the Park at Cooinda Gagadaju Lodge. (B,L,D)

On Monday we rise early for a private morning sunrise cruise on Yellow Waters. At most times the adjoining flood plains and mangroves are filled with birds such as great-billed herons, nankeen night herons, plumbed whistling ducks, shelducks, mangrove kingfishers and others. Look out for saltwater crocodiles that may be sunning themselves on the banks or cruising along the billabong.  We return to Cooinda for a late breakfast. Next we visit Nourlangie Rock Site a site set in towering cliffs and galleries tucked away under large overhanging rock ledges. The rock art is mainly stick drawings of men and animals with some depicting internal organs. Late afternoon is reserved for those who wish to bird and look for other wildlife near our lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Tuesday, October 21: Darwin

We will arise early for breakfast as we leave by 7:30am to drive back to Darwin. Once we arrive in Darwin we will head straight to the airport for our flight back to Sydney. Lunch will take place in transit – perhaps on our flight. Upon arrival in Sydney we will transfer to the Corus Hotel located in the city center. If enough time permits we could do a bit of exploring on our own this afternoon. The Taronga Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, the Sydney Aquarium or shopping are just some of the many possibilities. Dinner will be on our own tonight to allow for some personal choice among the many fantastic restaurants Sydney has to offer. (B)

Day 13 – Wednesday, October 22: Sydney

This morning we will visit Sydney’s Olympic and Bi-centennial Park. This park consists of 430 hectares of remnant woodlands and fresh and saltwater wetlands, making it one of the largest urban parks in the world. We will spend the morning exploring this park concentrating on the many birds that inhabit the diversity of habitats found in the park. There is even a bird blind to aid in getting closer to the waterbirds. If we are lucky we may also encounter large roosting colonies of flying foxes. These enormous fruit bats have wingspans of up to six feet and constantly squabble over the best roosting branches. We will have lunch at a local restaurant before we travel to the Circular Quay for our afternoon cruise around Sydney’s famous harbor. This cruise will provide a great chance to view Sydney’s landmark sights such as the famed Opera House. After the cruise we will have a chance to explore the oldest part of Sydney, The Rocks, before returning to our hotel. Our farewell dinner tonight will take place at Lillipilli’s Aboriginal Restaurant. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Thursday, October 23: Departure for the US or the Extension to Tasmania

After breakfast we will pack up before transferring to the airport for our flight back to the US and home, or on to the Tasmania extension. For those departing for the US you will arrive in Los Angeles on the same day and around the same time you left Australia – the magic of crossing the international dateline. Once in Los Angeles you will clear immigration and customs before transferring to your flights home. (B)

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.

TASMANIA

Optional 6-Day Extension

Day 14 – Thursday, October 23: Sydney to Launceston, Tasmania

After breakfast we will pack up before transferring to the airport for our flight to Launceston, Tasmania. We should arrive in Launceston in the early afternoon and after checking into the Launceston Hotel we will have a quick lunch before we explore Cataract Gorge. Located just 10 minutes from Launceston’s city center, Cataract Gorge is protected as a wildlife reserve and has towering granite cliffs that line the banks of the South Esk River. The gorge is home to a wide variety of wildlife and we will begin our search for Tasmania’s 13 endemic bird species here. In addition to the endemic birds, Tasmania is home to many birds found in the southern regions of Australia that we will not have encountered previously on this trip. After our explorations we will have dinner and return to our hotel for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 1 – Friday, October 24: Trowunna Wildlife Park

After breakfast we will travel west through the countryside to Trowunna Wildlife Park. This park is home to much of the wildlife for which Tasmania is famous including Tasmanian devils, wombats and quolls. Although we hope to see some of these nocturnal mammals in the wild, encounters with many of them are uncommon and this visit will afford the opportunity to see and photograph these animals close-up. We will also meet Trowunna’s director Androo Kelly who will discuss the Park’s breeding and rehabilitation programs. After our visit to the park we will have lunch at the Mole Creek Hotel before driving back to Launceston. In the late afternoon we will tour a local winery, have a tasting and enjoy a sumptuous dinner before settling into our hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 2 – Saturday, October 25: Launceston to Bicheno on Tasmania’s East Coast

After breakfast we will depart for Tasmania’s East Coast, following the picturesque Fingal Valley with the Ben Lomond Mountain Range as our backdrop. We will stop along the way to hike in the Evercreech Forest to observe the last remnants of the coastal rainforests and view ancient eucalyptus trees that stretch 200 feet skyward. This forest should give us another opportunity to look for birds including many of Tasmania’s endemics like the brown scrubwren, Tasmanian thornbill, black-headed honeyeater and yellow wattlebird. Of Tasmania’s 13 endemics we should see at least 10. We will have to be lucky to see the other 3; the Tasmanian masked owl, forty-spotted pardalote and Tasmanian native-hen. Mammals are also prevalent in the park with echidnas and Tasmanian pademelons commonly seen. After a picnic lunch we will travel on to Bicheno and our accommodations at the Diamond Island Resort Hotel. This hotel is situated on the Tasman Sea and is where the world’s smallest penguin, the 15-inch fairy penguin, nests in burrows in the dunes in front of the hotel. At dusk we will make our way down to the beach to sit quietly and watch for them to come ashore. Dinner is at the hotel tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Sunday, October 26: Bicheno to Hobart

After breakfast we will leave Bicheno and travel down the coast to Hobart arriving about midday. We will settle in to the Grand Chancellor Hotel and the rest of the day is free with lunch on our own. Hobart is a beautiful city and you can wander through the Salamanca Shops along the wharves, visit the Botanical Gardens or go birding at Mount Wellington Park. Your guides will be going to Wellington Park in search of more of Tasmania’s endemic birds like black currawong, green rosella, scrubtit, yellow-throated honeyeater, strong-billed honeyeater and dusky robin. Dinner tonight is at Mures Upper Deck Seafood Restaurant, one of Hobart’s most famous eateries. (B,D)

Day 4 – Monday, October 27: Bruny Island

Today we will travel south of Hobart to visit Bruny Island. This scenic island is home to 12 of Tasmania’s endemic birds including Tasmanian native-hen, green rosella, brown scrubwren, scrubtit, Tasmanian thornbill, yellow-throated, black-headed and strong-billed honeyeaters, yellow wattlebird, dusky robin, black currawong and the very rare forty-spotted pardalote. We spend a full day on the island searching for these endemics as well as a host of other birds and mammals. Red-necked wallabies and short-beaked echidnas are common on the island and if we are lucky we could spot an eastern quoll. After a full day on the island we will head back to Hobart for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Tuesday, October 28: Flight from Hobart to Sydney

After breakfast we will pack up and travel to the airport for our flight to Sydney. We will arrive in Sydney in the early afternoon and will check into the Corus Hotel and have lunch. The rest of the afternoon is free and dinner this evening is on our own. (B,L)

Day 6 – Wednesday, October 29: Departure for the US

We will have breakfast and a chance to pack up before transferring to airport for our flight back to the US. We will arrive in Los Angeles on the same day and around the same time we left Australia – the magic of crossing the international dateline. Once in Los Angeles we will clear immigration and customs before transferring to our flights home. (B)

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.