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Australia - A Naturalists Dream


This is a tour of some of the natural wonders of Australia. Western Australia boasts more species of wild flowers than any comparable area on Earth. Banksias, Lechanaultias, and Darwinias celebrate famous naturalist/botanist from the past while countless genera from fringed lilies to everlasting daisies are remembered by names totally foreign to North American naturalists. Most of the families are even different. Southwest Australia is truly one of the World’s most remarkable areas of botanical diversity.

While not as remarkable, the bird and mammal life of Western Australia is still impressive. Where there are plants there are birds and during our frequent stops, we will be distracted by both. This part of Australian landmass is perhaps the oldest landscape on earth. We will visit the Pinnacle Desert and go underground into one or two of the most impressive cave systems near Margaret River.

The northern limit of our tour will be Shark Bay at Monkey Mia, a World Heritage Site noted for dugongs (the Australian equivalent of Florida’s manatee) and a pod of resident dolphins that have been known to come inshore to be fed from the beach. Nearby Hamelin Pool is one of the very few places where living stromatolites are found. One of the most ancient of all life forms; they are widely distributed and better known as fossils.

The Southern limit of the Western Australian portion of our tour is Albany. In 1792, before he arrived in British Columbia, Captain George Vancouver RN, visited and chartered this area. We will visit the spring (if your tour leader can find it again!) where he watered his ships “Discovery” and “Chatham”.

The Middle leg of your Australian odyssey will be our visit to the dry red centre –“ The Outback”. Ayers Rock, now officially known by its aboriginal name, Uluru, and Alice Springs (have you read Neville Shute’s “A Town Like Alice”?) will be our destinations. After a flight to Adelaide and a short hop the following day we will have three nights on Kangaroo Island. This will bring us face to face with Australian sealions and fur seals, and walk on pristine sandy beaches.

The final leg of the tour will be by bus along one of the most spectacular coastal roads in the world, The Great Ocean Road to Melbourne. The Coorong (a coastal saltwater lagoon0, incredibly tall gum trees, impressive coastal scenery and the unique bird and fauna of honeyeaters, fairy wrens and thornbills will tax our identification skills. Our last full day in Australia will be in the Yarra Ranges National Park listening and hopefully seeing the superb Lyrebird (the largest of songbirds with incredible singing abilities) This day will end with a visit to Phillip Island to see the parade of Fairy (little) Penguins to their nesting burrows.

Daily Program:
Our daily routine will generally include the following: Early morning, optional pre-breakfast, walk of our overnight environs with the focus on local bird life. While on tour, there will be many stops of interest along the route, lunch stops will consist of a sandwich (Aussie meat pie?) with beverage (beer available) at a park or picnic grounds. Many of these lunches are included as part of your tour cost. The locations chosen are intended to maximize “outdoor time”. After dinner we will have a wrap up/question session covering the days events, sightings etc. along with a preview of the next days activities. During bus travel, and as opportunity affords, there will be short talks given on unique aspects of local natural history.

 


 

Days 1 - 2

Depart Home, Cross International Dateline

Day 2 will be regained when returning home.

Day 3

Arrive Perth

Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of your afternoon is free to relax. This evening get to know your fellow travellers at an informal cocktail Party.

Meal Plan Inflight Meals
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Holiday Inn Perth City Centre

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    Holiday Inn Perth City Centre



    Holiday Inn Perth City Centre is centrally located in the heart of Perth, within easy walking distance of the city's fashionable boutiques, theatres, galleries and the financial hub. Refreshingly unpretentious and friendly, Holiday Inn is a welcoming iconic hotel in a modern and exciting city. ...

    Holiday Inn Perth City Centre is centrally located in the heart of Perth, within easy walking distance of the city's fashionable boutiques, theatres, galleries and the financial hub. Refreshingly unpretentious and friendly, Holiday Inn is a welcoming iconic hotel in a modern and exciting city. The hotel offers 181 rooms.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Bellman/Porters
    • Business Centre
    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Parking (Valet)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 4

Rottnest Island

A 1 ½ hour ferry ride from Perth takes you to Rottnest Island, where cars are prohibited and a rolling countryside and spectacular beaches invite exploration on bicycle or foot. Offshore islands like Rottnest, are often “sanctuaries” where species gain a degree of protection from mainland predators. Quokkas, a small kangaroo-like marsupial, Rock Parrots and the Banded Stilt find Rottnest Island just such a refuge.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Pinnacle Deset

We leave Perth and travel north to Nambung National Park to the haunting, most unusual Pinnacle Desert. The flat sandy desert is punctured with peculiar limestone pillars, some only a few cms high, some towering up to five meters. This time of year the desert comes alive with an impressive display of wildflowers. Continue along the Brand Highway, along spectacular stretches of coast to Western Australia’s main lobster-catching centre of Geraldton. We frequently stop enroute at sites of natural history interest.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hospitality Inn Port Hedland

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    Hospitality Inn Port Hedland



    The Hospitality Inn Port Hedland is a moderately sized resort ideal for business or leisure. The hotel is located just 5 kilometres from the centre of Port Hedland where there are many cultural and historical sites to see. This 40 room hotel is well appointed ...

    The Hospitality Inn Port Hedland is a moderately sized resort ideal for business or leisure. The hotel is located just 5 kilometres from the centre of Port Hedland where there are many cultural and historical sites to see. This 40 room hotel is well appointed and is a perfect place to explore this area.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Barbeques (BBQ)
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Playground
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

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Day 6

To Shark Bay

We continue north to an area known as Shark Bay. Enroute we stop at Hamelin Pool, a marine reserve which has the world’s best known colony of Stromatolites – an ancient and rare form of “living rock”. We visit Shell Beach, this 100 km stretch of beach is solid shells nearly 10 metres deep. At Eagle Bluff, halfway between Nanga and Denham, we take in some of the superb views over Shark Bay. We may encounter emus enroute today!

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Travancore Heritage Sea Side Resort

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    Travancore Heritage Sea Side Resort



    The Travancore Heritage is a sea side resort in 15 acres of lush green coconut garden and landscaped environs located at Chowara - south of Kovalam, near Trivandrum, Kerala. The resort stands on a high cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea and a long wide beach ...

    The Travancore Heritage is a sea side resort in 15 acres of lush green coconut garden and landscaped environs located at Chowara - south of Kovalam, near Trivandrum, Kerala. The resort stands on a high cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea and a long wide beach of powdery white sand. The hotel features 50 rooms with traditional architecture featuring smooth interior lighting and spacious bathrooms.

    Facilities

    • Gift Shop
    • Internet Access
    • Library
    • Massage Treatments
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)

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Day 7

Wildlife Cruise

A pre-breakfast bird walk to see the Striated Grasswren, a member of a small group of rare and difficult birds to locate. Later in the morning, we have a special visit with the dolphins of Monkey Mia. Since the 1960’s dolphins have been coming here to visit humans. They swim right into the knee deep water and will nudge up against you, even take a fish if it is offered. Later enjoy an interesting talk on CALM’s “Project Eden” – a rare native animal re- introduction program for the Peron Peninsula. After lunch, we board a wildlife sailing cruise to look for Dugongs, dolphins, rays, turtles, and sharks.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Shark Bay

Free day to explore.

Day 9

To Kalbarri National Park

From Shark Bay we travel south again to Kalbarri National Park to spend some time exploring , birding and flower seeking the heathlands and gorges. Kalbarri National Park has over 1000 sq kilometres of bushland including some of the state’s most spectacular gorges on the Murchison River.

Meal Plan Breakfast an Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Kalbarri Beach Resort

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    Kalbarri Beach Resort



    Guests at Kalbarri Beach Resort have all the attractions of Kalbarri at their fingertips - they could be on a Fishing Charter, Scenic Flight, Tour of the Murchison Gorge, Horse or Camel Ride, Windsurfing or any one of Kalbarri's many features. Or more likely they ...

    Guests at Kalbarri Beach Resort have all the attractions of Kalbarri at their fingertips - they could be on a Fishing Charter, Scenic Flight, Tour of the Murchison Gorge, Horse or Camel Ride, Windsurfing or any one of Kalbarri's many features. Or more likely they will be relaxing in one of the Resorts many attractions.

    Kalbarri, undeniably West Australian, undeniably unique. The perfect setting for the perfect family holiday. Settle into Kalbarri Beach Resort and prepare yourself to explore the attractions of this endless stretch of unspoiled coastline, or the majesty of the rugged Murchison Gorge.

    All apartments contain all the comforts of home including a kitchen. Resort facilities include 3 spa baths, games room, tennis courts, children's pool, 25m pool, poolside BBQ area, Volleyball court and fully licensed restaurant.

    Facilities

    • Barbeques (BBQ)
    • Children's Activities
    • Games Room
    • Laundry facilities
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Tennis
    • Volleyball

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Day 10

Kalbari to Morawa

Enjoy a morning walk in Kalbarri National Park, Murchison River and heath plains famous for their diversity an concentration of plantlife, as well as beautiful sea cliffs. Continue to Morawa and Coal Seam Conservation Park, an excellent wildflower area and wreath leschenaultia habitat. Our accommodation this evening is a typical Aussie country pub.

Accommodation: Morawa Motel

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Day 11

To Kattanning

Leave Morawa, travel through wildflower country to Northam where we stop for lunch. This busy farming centre is on the railway line to Kargoorlie. At one time, the line from Perth ended here abruptly and miners had to make the weary trek to the gold fields by road.. Via Narrogin through farming country, we continue to Katanning. The wide road verges often with colourful displays of wild flowers including many varieties of Kangaroo Paws. 

Accommodation: New Lodge Motel

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Day 12

To the Stirling Ranges

Travel via Cranbrook, Red Gum Pass and Stirling Range Drive into and through the Stirling Ranges. Although we will not be able to climb to the summits of these mountain peaks, each peak is noted for its distinctive species of Darwinia (Mountain Bells), a genus of shrubs honouring Charles Darwin. Enjoy a diverse range of wildflowers, walks and scenery, spending most of the day in this area, before travelling to Albany late afternoon.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Comfort Inn Albany

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    Comfort Inn Albany



    Comfort Inn Albany is a neat and quaint motel located 1.5 kms from the town centre. All of its 59 rooms are ground floor with parking at the door. Shell's restaurant is open 7 nights.

    Comfort Inn Albany is a neat and quaint motel located 1.5 kms from the town centre. All of its 59 rooms are ground floor with parking at the door. Shell's restaurant is open 7 nights.

    Facilities

    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)

    More Details

Day 13

Albany

At the crack of dawn we travel to Two People’s Bay, a nature reserve. If we are lucky we may see a small colony of Noisy Scrub Birds who were thought extinct until rediscovered in 1961 as well as Western Whipbirds, Southern Emuwrens and Western Bristlebirds. This is also the domain of the Western Grey Kangaroo. Then it’s on to scenic Oyster Harbour, The Gap and Natural Bridge in Toondirup National Park. This afternoon a special visit to the residency museum of Captain Vancouver is planned.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 14

Albany

Free day to explore Albany.

Day 15

Giant Karri Trees

Travel via Denmark to William Bay National Park, Green Pool, Valley of the Giants and the Treetop Walk amongst the giant Red Tingle and Karri trees, enjoy a boat cruise on Walpole Inlet, travel via Nuyts Wilderness to Perup. After BBQ dinner, spotlight for rare native animals of the forest such as Phascogale (a squirrel-like, arboreal marsupial), Woylies (a rare rat kangaroo), and Tammar Wallabies.

Accommodation: Perup Wilderness Lodge

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Day 16

To Busselton

Travel down to the Great Forest Trees Drive and “Big Grove” in the Shannon National Park, a new CALM route through some magnificent forest country. Try the climb to the top of Diamond Tree Lookout (one of the fire lookout trees) before a lunch of fresh marron (a freshwater crayfish). From here we travel across to Busselton.

Accommodation:  Broadwater Beach Resort

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration2 Nights
Day 17

Cape Leewin

Depart early for a full day in the region between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. If the winds are favorable we may see one or two Albatross species passing within sight of land. We then venture down into the cave network where you will see some impressive stalagmite, stalactite and helictite formations. Tonight we sample some of the superb local wines.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 18

Return to Perth

Follow the coastline with magnificent views of the Indian Ocean through a natural gateway of Tuart trees at Ludlow Forest through to Bunbury and Mandurah. Many of the estuaries and inlets in this area have prolific birdlife. Later in the afternoon, return to Perth.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Holiday Inn Perth City Centre

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    Holiday Inn Perth City Centre



    Holiday Inn Perth City Centre is centrally located in the heart of Perth, within easy walking distance of the city's fashionable boutiques, theatres, galleries and the financial hub. Refreshingly unpretentious and friendly, Holiday Inn is a welcoming iconic hotel in a modern and exciting city. ...

    Holiday Inn Perth City Centre is centrally located in the heart of Perth, within easy walking distance of the city's fashionable boutiques, theatres, galleries and the financial hub. Refreshingly unpretentious and friendly, Holiday Inn is a welcoming iconic hotel in a modern and exciting city. The hotel offers 181 rooms.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Bellman/Porters
    • Business Centre
    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Parking (Valet)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 19

Perth to Adelaide

We transfer to the airport to connect with our domestic flight to Adelaide. Upon arrival we are met and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Hilton Adelaide

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    Hilton Adelaide



    The Hilton Adelaide hotel overlooks Victoria Square in the heart of the city center. From this central location you can enjoy easy access to many businesses, theater, dining and shopping districts. Browse Adelaide Central Market or catch the tram from the hotel doorstep to the ...

    The Hilton Adelaide hotel overlooks Victoria Square in the heart of the city center. From this central location you can enjoy easy access to many businesses, theater, dining and shopping districts. Browse Adelaide Central Market or catch the tram from the hotel doorstep to the city's North Terrace or to seaside Glenelg. The Hilton Adelaide hotel is also conveniently located just four miles from the airport and one mile from the Convention Center. Every room at this Adelaide hotel offers delightful views east towards the Adelaide Hills or west towards the Bay.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Currency Exchange
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Pool (s)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Sauna
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi
    • Tennis
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

Day 20

To Kangaroo Island

This morning fly to Kangaroo Island on Kendell Airlines. On arrival at Kingscote Airport you will be met by Graham Rees, where you will be given a brief history of the Island before departing for Seal Bay, home of the 2nd largest breeding colony of Australian sealions in the country. Here you can walk within 5 metre distance of the seals and observe them at close hand. After lunch Graham will take the group on a bushwalk of Vivonne Bay’s property and the Little Sahara Geological Monument. This evening a talk will be held on the Vanished Native People of the Island, known as the Kartan Mystery.

Accommdation: Vivonne Bay Outdoor Education Centre

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights (Shared)
Day 21

Kangaroo Island

Full day tour to Kelly Hill Caves, Flinder Chase National Park, Remarkable Rocks, Weirs Cove
Historical site Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse, Admirals Arch and the New Zealand Fur Seal Colony, returning to the Centre for Dinner. This evening enjoy a talk by Dr David Paton, an Ornithologist on his research work and the relationship between birds and plants.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 22

Kangaroo Island to Adelaide

This morning participate in the bird mist netting and banding project on the island. After lunch visit the Historical Eucalyptus Still, the Ligurian Honey Bee farm and the Sheep Milking Dairy prior to proceeding to the airport. A late afternoon flight will take you back to Adelaide this evening.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

The Chifley on South Terrace

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    The Chifley on South Terrace



    The Chifley on South Terrace is just a 15 minute walk to the city centre, in fashionable South Terrace. The hotel is directly opposite the beautiful South Parklands and within close proximity of the inner city business locations of Parkside and Wayville. The 93 suites ...

    The Chifley on South Terrace is just a 15 minute walk to the city centre, in fashionable South Terrace. The hotel is directly opposite the beautiful South Parklands and within close proximity of the inner city business locations of Parkside and Wayville. The 93 suites provide all that any guest may desire.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 23

To Mount Gambier

Depart Adelaide and travel by coach to Mt Gambier. We travel through several National Parks where impromptu stops will be made at areas of interest.

Accommodation:  Presidential Motor Inn

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Day 24

The Great Ocean Road

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Port Campbell National Park and the Great Ocean Road. If you are lucky you may be able to spot the Eastern Bristlebird at Pt. Campbell. Enroute to Melbourne we will stop in the Otway Ranges for a walk through the temperate rainforest at Melba Gully or Maits Rest.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Batmans Hill on Collins

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    Batmans Hill on Collins



    Batman’s Hill Hotel is conveniently located within a few minutes stroll of the Crown Casino & Entertainment Complex, fashionable Southgate, the Yarra River, theatres, restaurants and sporting venues. The newly extended and renovated hotel has 190 rooms, ranging from Standard Rooms to Club Rooms and ...

    Batman’s Hill Hotel is conveniently located within a few minutes stroll of the Crown Casino & Entertainment Complex, fashionable Southgate, the Yarra River, theatres, restaurants and sporting venues.

    The newly extended and renovated hotel has 190 rooms, ranging from Standard Rooms to Club Rooms and Apartments. Guest facilities include 24 hour reception, restaurant, bar and cocktail lounge, foreign exchange, babysitting, valet and dry cleaning services.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Concierge
    • Currency Exchange
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Lounge(s)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

Day 25

Lyrenbirds and Phillip Islands

Morning visit to Yarra Ranges National Park to observe Lyre Birds. In the afternoon continue to
Phillip Island to see the fairy penguins parade and watch them wobble to their burrows at dusk. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner celebration which includes hot lobster

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 26

Depart for Home

Transfer to Melbourne airport for your flights home.

Meal Plan Breakfast

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