In the initial phase of this series [Read our previous blog AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE COLLECTION : PHASE I], we discussed some of the wildlife tourism experiences of Australia.
Here are some more great Aussie destinations, more great wildlife tourism experiences ... and more great operators.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, Queensland
Lady Elliot Island is a true coral cay located on the southern tip of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef, situated within a highly protected ‘Green Zone’ of the Marine National Park. It is regarded as one of the best diving and snorkeling sites, with its offshore and southern location resulting in outstanding water clarity, perfect to admire year round Manta Rays, reef sharks, hard and soft corals and tropical fish.
Lady Elliot Island has the highest seabird diversity of any island along the reef, with a number of species migrating to the island between October and April to nest including noddies, terns, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Red-tailed Tropic Birds. The beaches are also sanctuaries for nesting Green and Loggerhead Turtles over the summer months whilst Humpback Whales migrate past the island from June to October.
Lady Elliot Island Eco-Resort is a low-key resort that accommodates up to 150 overnight guests and is world acclaimed for the range of environmental best-practice measures implemented, including an extensive citizen science reef monitoring program in which guests participate.
Lords Kakadu and Arnhemland Safaris, Northern Territory
Lords Kakadu and Arnhemland Safaris has been connecting guests to the Northern Territory’s ‘Top End’ for over 25 years. Located just over 100 miles (170km) southeast of Darwin, Kakadu National Park is one of the world’s most magnificent natural reserves, boasting 280 bird species, 77 mammals, 50 species of freshwater fish, 132 reptiles and more than 50,000 years of Indigenous history and culture.
The wetlands of Kakadu are a birdwatcher’s paradise, given the immense concentration of waterbirds, especially in the dry season, including Magpie Geese, Whistling Ducks, Great Egrets, Royal Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts, Great-billed Herons, Brolgas, Comb-crested Jacanas and Black-necked Storks (Jabirus). The combination of floodplains and wetlands, savanna woodlands, sand-stone cliffs and escarpments provide sanctuary for Agile and Wilkin’s Rock Wallabies, Northern Bandicoots, Black and Antilopine Wallaroos, Northern Quolls, Dingoes, flying-foxes, Ghost Bats, goannas, frogs, pythons, and cathedral termite mounds. But it's the massive populations of the world’s largest reptile, the Saltwater Crocodile, that has made this area so famous.
Oz Whale Watching, New South Wales
The sparkling waters and stunning skyline of Sydney Harbor has long been recognized as one of the most beautiful urban settings in the world, but what is surprising is the diverse wildlife viewing opportunities at Sydney’s doorstep. Sydney has more marine species than any other harbour in the world and is a superb location to observe the incredible Humpback Whale migration from May to November each year. Further out to sea where the continental shelf drops off, the region is one of Australia’s best pelagic birding sites, with an abundance of albatross species across winter months, shearwaters in summer months, with petrels, gannets, skuas, terns, gannets and gulls also present.
Oz Whale Watching is part of the Sydney Princess Group, with the company dedicated to showcasing the remarkable nature and cultural based offerings of the area. Aside from whale watching and pelagic birding trips, the company offers guided tours around Sydney National Harbour, with snorkelling at Shelley Beach providing the opportunity to spot Blue Groper, Gunthers and Dusky Butterflyfish, Black Rock Cod, Wobbegongs, Cuttlefish, Potbelly Seahorses and the ethereal Weedy Sea Dragon.
Premier Travel Tasmania
Australia’s largest island is the beautiful state of Tasmania, where around forty per cent of land is protected via national parks and reserves. Premier Travel Tasmania has been sharing this pristine region’s abundant wildlife, diverse flora, pristine wilderness, rich heritage, gourmet food & wine and local characters for over 20 years.
Renowned as a prime area for marsupial spotting, Tasmania is a crucial habitat for many lesser known species, including Eastern and Spotted Quolls, Eastern Barred and Southern Brown Bandicoots, Tasmanian Bettongs and Long-nosed Potoroos. This is in addition to Platypus, Echidnas, Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Common Wombats and the most famous resident, the Tasmanian Devil.
Numerous World Heritage Listed areas are scattered across the state, comprised of rugged mountains, temperate rainforests, wetlands, white sandy beaches and massive dolerite cliffs. This provides sanctuary for an abundance of birdlife, including the twelve Tasmanian endemic species such as the Forty-spotted Pardalote, Green Rosellas, Black Currawongs, Yellow Wattlebirds, Tasmanian Scrubwrens and Strong-billed Honeyeaters. The marine offerings are also spectacular with touring covering colonies of Australian Fur Seals, Common and Bottlenose Dolphins and the adorable Little Penguin.
SEIT Outback Australia, Northern Territory
Australia’s ‘Red Centre’ is considered the spiritual heart of Australia, due to its incredible desert landscapes, rich indigenous history and iconic rock formations such as Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon and Mt Conner. The Anangu people of Uluru have been the traditional custodians of this ancient land for many generations, balancing the intricate relationship between people, plants, animals and landscapes.
SEIT Outback Australia has been sharing insights into this balance for many years, showcasing the remarkable wildlife that thrive in these semi-arid environments. This is a prime region for spotting reptiles including the iconic Thorny Devil, Shingleback & Blue-tongued Lizard, Bearded and Central-netted Dragon, Sand Goanna and occasionally the largest lizard in Australia, the Perentie. It’s also a hotspot for birds of prey such as Whistling Kites, Nankeen Kestrels, Black-breasted Buzzards, Brown Falcons, Australian Hobby Falcons and Wedge-tailed Eagles. Nomadic Zebra Finches, Budgerigars and Painted Finches are also prize sightings after rainfall has occurred.
The Maria Island Walk, Tasmania
World Heritage Listed Maria Island is located just off Tasmania’s east coast and is known for its historic ruins, picturesque bays, rugged cliffs and mountains and amazing fossils. But for many visitors, it's the island’s remarkable collection of rare birds and animals, largely unaffected by human presence, that is the highlight.
The Maria Island Walk is a four-day walk that brings these remarkable wildlife stories to life through expert interpretative guides, with guests able to enjoy gentle walks by day and elegant accommodation and gourmet dining by night. As a vital location for numerous threatened and endangered species, Maria provides the opportunity to spot Common Wombats, Cape Barren Geese, Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Tasmanian Devils and 125 species of birds; including all of Tasmania’s endemics such as Tasmanian Native Hens, Green Rosellas, Yellow Wattlebirds, Black-headed & Yellow-throated Honeyeaters, Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagled and the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote. In the warmer months, the island’s Blue Gums are a key habitat for the critically endangered Swift Parrot.
Wildlife Coast Cruises, Victoria
The Phillip Island and Wilson’s Promontory area provides a blend of spectacular coastal scenery, abundant marine wildlife, beautiful coastal heathlands and important seabird rookeries. The team at Wildlife Coast Cruises has been educating guests about the region’s marine diversity for almost 25 years, with an onboard marine biologist providing fascinating insights into the interaction of species across this unique ecosystem.
Highlights include close observation of Australia’s largest population of Australian Fur Seals (7,000+) off the aptly named Seal Rocks, spotting Common and Bottlenose Dolphins and tracking seabirds including Pied and Black-faced Cormorants, Australasian Gannets, Shy Albatross, Crested Terns and Pacific Gulls. This is also the area to witness parades of Little Penguins as they come ashore in the evening time. Phillip Island plays host to majestic whales during their annual migration every winter from June to August, with Humpback Whales most commonly spotted, but Southern Right Whales and Orcas also opportunistic sightings.