Kingdom of the Kangaroo

Australia

October 12 - November 4, 2017
Cost: $13,850
Leader: Tonia Cochran
Group Size: 12
Days: 24

Safari Overview

Journey to Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, the Blue Mountains, and the Red Outback in search of Australia’s strange and wonderful wildlife. Explore National Parks and wildlife reserves in these wildlife-rich regions to see echidnas, Koalas, kangaroos, cockatoos, parrots, and rare endemic birds. Learn about marsupials and other strange species. Challenge your senses and sense of adventure with night explorations. Discover the endangered Tasmanian Devil, learn about conservation efforts, and see and hear them in action as they devour a meal. On this Australian adventure, you’ll travel through beautiful valleys in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, see South Australia’s riches regions from the Flinders Ranges of the outback to the wetlands of the Murray River, visit Flinders Chase National Park and other scenic reserves on Kangaroo Island, and finish with eight wildlife-filled days in Tasmania, including Bruny Island and Cradle Mountain and Narawntapu National Parks. Make your dreams come true by experiencing the wondrous wildlife indigenous to the Land Down Under.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Photograph iconic Australian mammals such as kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, echidna, Koala, and the strange egg-laying Platypus.
• See colorful birds such as lyrebirds, parrots, rosellas, honeyeaters, and finches, and search for rare endemics of each region.
• Observe many endangered species, including a visit to a Tasmanian Devil reserve to witness the nocturnal activities of these carnivorous marsupials.
• Experience night spotting for Little Penguin, pademelons, possums, bandicoots, and bettongs.
• Spend eight days in Tasmania for unusual endemic flora and fauna.

Contact us if you’re interested in extensions to the Great Barrier Reef (snorkeling or diving), O’Reilly’s
Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Western Australia, or other
destinations Down Under.

Itinerary updated: December 2016



Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
Oct 12 - 13 Travel to Australia (lose a day if flying west across the International Dateline)
Oct 14 Arrive in Sydney, Australia, for an evening orientation with Tonia Travelodge Phillip Street, Sydney
Oct 15 - 16 Hawkesbury Valley and Capertee Valley in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales Glen Davis Boutique Hotel, Glen Davis B, L, D
Oct 17 Blue Mountains National Park, including night spotting 3 Sisters Motel, Katoomba B, L, D
Oct 18 Drive from the Blue Mountains to Sydney and fly to Adelaide, South Australia Grosvenor Hotel, Adelaide B, L, D
Oct 19 - 20 South Australia’s Samphire Coast and Flinders Ranges National Park for Red Kangaroo Wilpena Pound Resort, Flinders Ranges B, L, D
Oct 21 Wetlands and Uplands of the Murray River Morgan Colonial Motel, Morgan B, L, D
Oct 22 Birdlife Australia’s Gluepot Reserve, night tour for Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat in Mannum Mannum Motel, Mannum B, L, D
Oct 23 Coorong National Park by boat and foot, return to Adelaide Grosvenor Hotel, Adelaide B, L
Oct 24 - 25 Fly to Kangaroo Island, visit Flinders Chase National Park and other reserves for wildlife and coastal scenery Kangaroo Island Lodge, American River B, L, D
Oct 26 Fly to Adelaide, walk through Adelaide Botanical Gardens or explore the city on your own Grosvenor Hotel, Adelaide B, L
Oct 27-28 Fly to Hobart, ferry to Bruny Island for endemics, boat cruise, night spotting for Little Penguin and mammals Cottages on Bruny Island B, L, D
Oct 29 Return to Hobart, night excursion to search for Eastern-barred Bandicoot and Tasmanian Bettong Old Woolstore Hotel, Hobart B, L, D
Oct 30 Travel to Bicheno on east coast for night viewing at Tasmanian Devil reserve Best Western Beachfront, Bicheno B, L, D
Oct 31 - Nov 1 Travel to Cradle Mountain, night spotting for Common Wombat and Short-beaked Echidna Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain B, L, D
Nov 2 - 3 Travel to northern Tasmania, visit reserves for Platypus and Narawntapu National Park for Forrester Kangaroo Hawley House, Hawley Beach B, L, D
Nov 4 Fly home from Tasmania or extend your trip B

Our Trip Leaders

Tonia Cochran

Tonia Cochran is a wonderful guide, naturalist, and conservationist with a wide range of experience in Australian fauna and flora. Armed with a PhD in Zoology, she has had a varied professional career in science, conservation, and tourism. Tonia is a superb leader as proven by the many accolades she receives during our tours to Australia.

Nick Mooney

Nick will help lead in Tasmania only. He has been involved in studying and managing Tasmania’s wildlife for many years. Starting as a raptor specialist, he diversified into sea birds, whales, and marsupial carnivores. He is best known for his work with the Tasmanian Devil, learning about the diseases facing them and educating area farmers about the benefits they provide. Nick is a keen educator and hopes to increase public appreciation of wildlife through training and guiding.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Travel to Australia

Oct 12 - 13

Travelers flying west across the International Dateline will lose one day.

Arrive in Sydney

Oct 14

Arrive in Sydney today and transfer to our hotel in the city’s center. Meet Tonia for an orientation this evening.

Hawkesbury Valley and Capertee Valley in New South Wales

Oct 15 - 16

Red-necked Wallaby by Debbie Thompson

Our four days in New South Wales will cover many habitats with spectacular scenery and the chance to see a great selection of mammals, birds, and reptiles. By concentrating on the World Heritage areas west of Sydney, we have the best opportunity to see and photograph avian specialties, such as Rockwarbler and Satin Bowerbird as well as colorful parrots, cockatoos, and honeyeaters. In the rich flood plain of the Hawkesbury Valley, we’ll find a variety of waterbirds, including spoonbills, harriers, and Whistling Kite. We visit the Blue Mountains Botanical Garden at Mount Tomah then journey into Capertee Valley where we may see kangaroos emerge as the cliffs glow red in the setting sun. Capertee Valley has been called Australia’s Grand Canyon and is famous for its abundant birdlife, with the possibility of seeing species like Diamond Firetail, Red-rumped Parrot, and the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater. It is also a great place to compare the big feet of Australia’s macropods, including Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Euro (Wallaroo), Red-necked Wallaby, and Swamp Wallaby, and search for wombats and reptiles such as Bearded Dragons and Lace Monitors. Our first night spotting experience will give us a chance to see Brushtail Possum and possibly Tawny Frogmouth.

Blue Mountains National Park

Oct 17

During our journey to Blue Mountains National Park, we’ll visit lakes and ponds full of waterfowl such as grebes, Blue-billed Duck, and the remarkable Musk Duck. Explore the rocky escarpments and heathlands of the upper Blue Mountains where we may encounter the Superb Lyrebird, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Flame and Scarlet robins, and Rockwarbler, the only bird endemic to New South Wales. Visit a Satin Bowerbird's bower with its collection of blue decorations and see the architect of this colorful masterpiece if he’s in attendance. Native flora is another highlight, with rare and interesting wildflowers. In the evening, we'll night spot for Greater Gliders.

Return to Sydney, fly to Adelaide

Oct 18

Our last wildlife stop in New South Wales will be in a temperate rainforest to experience a range of different birds and plants before returning to Sydney. After lunch, we’ll take an afternoon flight from Sydney to Adelaide in South Australia and transfer to our hotel in the city center near the River Torrens and Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Samphire Coast and Flinders Ranges in South Australia

Oct 19 - 20

South Australia has a variety of habitats including the dry and red interior outback, the lush and green Mount Lofty Ranges, the wetlands and mangroves around Adelaide, the estuaries in the Coorong, the floodplains of the Murray River, and the vast expanses of the semi-arid, mallee eucalyptus scrub. From Adelaide, we’ll follow the Samphire Coast north through mangrove forests, samphire flats, and inter-tidal seagrass meadows. The Samphire Coast is frequented by thousands of shorebirds, including the enigmatic Banded Stilt, which breeds only when the ephemeral inland lakes fill with water. Visit the Arid Lands Botanical Gardens to examine indigenous plants, shrubs, and flowers adapted to this semi-arid landscape. Amid a backdrop of red sand dunes, flowering plants attract a variety of colorful birds such as White-winged Fairy-wren and Redthroat. Turning inland, we’ll reach the edge of Australia’s outback and the Flinders Ranges with impressively steep hills and rock formations. The ranges are home to Emu and three species of macropod: Red Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo, and Euro (Wallaroo). We’ll watch and photograph as they graze on the natural grasslands, surrounded by ancient native Southern Cypress Pine forests.

Rugged mountain scenery, peaceful gorges, and a huge array of wildlife and flora make the Flinders Ranges National Park one of the finest landscapes in Australia. The centerpiece of the national park is Wilpena Pound, a natural, sickle-shaped amphitheater of mountains. The elusive Short-tailed Grasswren hides in the spinifex grass that covers these slopes and the majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle soars overhead. Search the park for Red Kangaroo and follow streambeds lined with gum trees and inhabited by Elegant Parrot and Grey-fronted Honeyeater. Wind through a narrow gorge to discover an 800-million-year-old stromatolite fossil and watch the rock formations transform into deeper shades of red while we observe and photograph a colony of endangered Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby.

Wetlands and Uplands of the Murray River

Oct 21

This morning we will enjoy the Flinders Ranges for the last time before heading south to encounter Australia’s greatest river: the Murray. Lined with spectacular cliffs, the broad floodplains of the Murray River are home to wetlands teeming with water birds while the upland supports populations of the endangered and localized Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat. Our exploration of the Murray River will also include visiting a breeding colony of the beautiful, endangered Regent Parrot.

Birdlife Australia’s Gluepot Reserve, night tour for wombat

Oct 22

Spend the morning exploring Birdlife Australia’s Gluepot Reserve, home to no less than six endangered bird species. Photograph in the soft light of dawn while the sun rises over centuries-old mallee eucalypts and sand dunes covered in spinifex grass. From one of the bird hides that overlook a watering trough, we have a chance of observing Mulga Parrot and many of Gluepot's ten species of honeyeater. In the afternoon, we’ll travel to Mannum where we have access to a unique property on the banks of the Murray River with superb views of the water lapping against the majestic, orange-colored cliffs. After a sunset dinner in a refurbished, chandelier-lit farm building, we’ll go night spotting for owls, Tawny Frogmouth, and the nocturnal Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.

Coorong National Park by boat and foot, return to Adelaide

Oct 23

After breakfast, walk through a reserve typically teeming with waterfowl including the rare Blue-billed Duck and watch as eagles, harriers, and kites soar over the cliffs. Continue to the Coorong Wetlands, the estuary of the Murray River; Coorong National Park contains a huge freshwater lake, a coastal lagoon, and a tall chain of sand dunes. This range of habitats is important for endangered mammals and is a breeding area for egrets, ibises, cormorants, Australian Pelican, Fairy Tern, and Nankeen Night Heron. Explore the diversity in this region on a three-hour cruise, including landings to explore on foot. We’ll travel through the scenic Mount Lofty Ranges on our way back to Adelaide.

Kangaroo Island, Flinders Chase National Park

Oct 24 - 25

Cape Barren Goose

Kangaroo Island has beautiful coastal scenery and is home to fascinating wildlife, including an abundance of Koala (introduced to the island) and Western Grey Kangaroo. Observe how these large kangaroos use their powerful legs to bound across a field or use their long tails for balance while slowly grazing. We’ll keep an eye out for the solitary Short-beaked Echidna as it forages for ants and termites, and Tammar Wallaby, which are now extinct on the adjacent mainland of South Australia. Flinders Chase National Park is breeding ground for the rare Cape Barren Goose, so we hope for a close encounter. We’ll visit Duck Lagoon for waterbirds, including Black Swan, and seek out the endangered Kangaroo Island subspecies of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo.

Fly to Adelaide, River Torrens and Adelaide Botanical Garden

Oct 26

Fly from Kangaroo Island back to Adelaide, arriving late morning. Enjoy a bit of free time to explore Adelaide on your own this afternoon or join Tonia on an interpretive walk along the River Torrens and through the Adelaide Botanical Garden.

Fly to Tasmania, take ferry to Bruny Island

Oct 27-28

Echidna

Fly from Adelaide to Hobart, Tasmania where we will meet our outstanding local Tasmanian bird and mammal expert, Nick Mooney. Nick previously worked for the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service to increase protection for Tasmanian native species; he specializes in raptors and Dasyurids (the marsupial family that includes Tasmanian Devils). After driving south and taking the vehicle ferry to Bruny Island, we will visit Tonia’s 1,500-acre, private wildlife reserve, which provides habitat for all twelve of Tasmania’s endemic bird species, including the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote, as well as Swift Parrot, Wedge-tailed Eagle, and Grey Goshawk. Explore Bruny Island’s heathland, tall eucalyptus forests, and cool temperate rainforest in search of Short-beaked Echidna, the rare albino form of Bennett’s Wallaby, and a variety of birds. A three-hour eco-cruise (subject to weather conditions) will give us an opportunity to see Bruny’s rugged coastlines and marine life, such as albatross, dolphins, and whales, and an Australian Fur Seal haul-out site. Take a night drive on a quest for Eastern Quoll, Tasmanian Pademelon, and Brushtail Possum, and a short night walk will lead to the beachside burrows of Little Penguins and Short-tailed Shearwaters.

Return to Hobart, night spotting for bandicoots and bettongs

Oct 29

Today we will travel back to Hobart, exploring wildlife reserves en route. Tonight after dinner we will visit a local reserve where there is a good chance of viewing Eastern-barred Bandicoot and Tasmanian (Southern) Bettong.

Travel to Bicheno for night viewing at Tasmanian Devil reserve

Oct 30

Travel to Bicheno on the east coast of Tasmania, with stops en route including Freycinet National Park and the colonial town of Richmond (which has the oldest bridge in Australia). We will visit some spectacular beaches and pass Moulting Lagoon, a wetland of international importance. This evening we have a unique opportunity to observe natural nocturnal behavior of the endangered Tasmanian Devil in a large, free-range enclosure. Our visit to this reserve helps support the Save the Tasmanian Devil program through insuring adequate numbers of healthy devils in captivity and maintaining maximum genetic diversity for release back into the wild.

Cradle Mountain National Park

Oct 31 - Nov 1

Wombat

Head west to Cradle Mountain with several stops en route to view birds such as waterfowl and raptors and also stretch our legs as it is a relatively long travel day. Arrive at our lodge adjacent to the World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park during the afternoon. During our stay in this area we will visit iconic Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake, and night spot for Common Wombat and Short-beaked Echidna. We’ll take short walks throughout the cool temperate rainforest and adjoining grasslands to see a variety of ancient plants, most of which are only found in Tasmania. The grounds around our lodge are home to pademelons and wallabies, as well as a range of wet forest bird species such as Pink Robin and the endemic Scrubtit.

Reserves along Tasmania’s north coast

Nov 2 - 3

Platypus by Debbie Thompson

Spend two days visiting the best wildlife reserves on Tasmania’s northern coast. Warrawee Forest Reserve is a well-protected native gum forest along the Forth River offering not only the chance to see Platypus, but also great birding with Green Rosella, robins, wrens, and honeyeaters. Explore Narawntapu National Park for Forester Kangaroo. At Hawley Beach, we’ll take a night walk to search for Little Penguin, Southern Brown Bandicoot, and Common Ringtail Possum, and enjoy a two-night stay at the exquisite Hawley House luxury ranch-style bed and breakfast with historic antiques and beautiful gardens to explore.

Fly home from Tasmania

Nov 4

We’ll transfer as a group from Hawley House to the airport for your flights home (or contact us about logistics if you’d like to extend your stay in Tasmania). Travelers flying east across the International Dateline will gain one day, arriving home on the same day you depart.

Australia

Journey to Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, the Blue Mountains, and the Red Outback in search of Australia’s strange and wonderful wildlife.

-33.939923, 151.175276

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Trip Cost, double occupancy $13,850
Single Supplement $2,700

We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation or change in exchange rate. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. If we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement fee. Single rooms are subject to availability.


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $500
Second December 1, 2016 $1,000
Final May 1, 2017 Remaining Balance

Payments will be due based on the following schedule. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.


Cancellations

Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.

Included

  • All leaders, transport, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional or not included.
  • Lodging for the nights of October 14 through November 3.
  • Meals from breakfast on October 15 through breakfast on November 4, except two dinners as listed in the Not Included section.
  • Round-trip flights Adelaide/Kangaroo Island on REX (Regional Air Express).
  • The Coorong National Park boat cruise.
  • The Bruny Island boat cruise (weather permitting).
  • Airport transfer as part of our group in Tasmania on November 4.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.

Not Included

  • Airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. International airfare to/from Australia varies by departure point, typically $1,000-$2,500 from the US. Internal group flights on Qantas are expected to be about $420 per person (booked by Cheesemans’, cost subject to change).
  • Airport transfers in Sydney.
  • Individual or separate airport transfers in Tasmania.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • Dinners on October 23 and 26 in Adelaide.
  • Gratuities: Tipping is, of course, discretionary and is earned, not expected. We suggest budgeting a total of about $285-$380 per participant to be distributed among the resident naturalist guides.
  • Emergency medical and evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance. Read more about travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other bottled beverages, and items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation/Release Form.

Climate

Expect daytime temperatures to range from 60˚F to 80˚F, with nighttime temperatures usually around 45˚F to 55˚F, with occasional colder nights in the southernmost regions. There should be plenty of sunshine, but be prepared for the occasional rainstorm.

Fitness Level

You should be able to get in and out of the bus reasonably well and carry all of your own luggage, although a guide may be able to assist you at times. Walks are typically no more than one or two miles and will be at slow pace with frequent stops to observe and photograph.

Flights

Airfare (except for flights listed as included) is not included in the tour cost. Detailed flight information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Sydney, Australia by October 14. For those flying west across the International Dateline, you will lose a day, so you’ll need to leave home by October 12. Depart from Tasmania on November 4, unless you prefer to extend your stay. For those going back east across the International Dateline, you’ll gain a day and arrive home on the same day. There are two airport departure options in Tasmania and we will provide logistical details after registration.

Flights we book for you: Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris will arrange all group flights during the safari. The cost of the domestic flights on Qantas from Sydney to Adelaide and Adelaide to Hobart will be added to your final balance. The round-trip flights Adelaide/Kangaroo Island are included in the tour cost.

FAQ

Accommodations

Our lodging ranges from basic motel to historic house with breathtaking views, depending on what is available in the remote locations we travel to for the best wildlife. Rooms will have private baths with possible exceptions at Glen Davis and Bruny Island where there may be shared baths, depending on the makeup of the group.

Seasickness

Transportation

Conditions

  • 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 the field: We try to spend as much time in the field as possible to observe wildlife behavior, 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).
  • 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 we 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/Release 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.