Maps courtesy of Daniel Feher
Australia, the land of parrots. Over 50 species in all! Our two-week tour is designed to connect participants with approximately half of these gorgeous and charismatic birds! Parrots live in every different habitat found in the country. During our two weeks down under we will visit and target those areas richest in parrot numbers and variety. Habitats will vary from botanical gardens in the south, rugged and dry regions in the interior, to rich humid forests at the top end.
April/May is the Australian winter and an opportune season to interact with parrots which tend to be congregated in flocks rather than paired in more scattered locations during the breeding season. Not just parrots, we will encounter a variety of iconic wildlife species such as Emu, Kangaroo, Kookaburra and possibly even the infamous salt water crocodile in the region of Kakadu. This tour presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to view parrots often only seen as popular cage birds living wild and free against the backdrop of this varied rugged and spectacular country.
SECTION ONE - CITY PARROTS - COUNTRY PARROTS
We arrive on the outskirts of the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne enroute to our destination, the city of Geelong one hour away. Dinner and settle in at our accommodation. Overnight Geelong
Up early we head out after breakfast to search the surrounding Botanical gardens for our first parrots! We should encounter the common but stunningly beautiful Galah (or Rose-breasted Cockatoo), Rainbow Lorikeets, and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. Suburban parks are often rich in parrots and we will keep a lookout for the spectacular Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, one of Australia’s largest. We should also keep our ears open for the rusty hinge like call of the beautiful little Gang-gang Cockatoo. Although often not shy they can often be found feeding in deep foliage and easily overlooked. Overnight Geelong
A relatively short drive from Geelong we will visit You Yangs regional park. With its rocky rugged granite topography, You Yangs contains a diverse variety of native plants and low trees that thrive in this dry climate. You Yangs boasts over 200 bird species. Flowering Blue, Yellow and River Red gum trees offer good places to search for diminutive Purple-crowned and Musk Lorikeets. We may also encounter Eastern Rosellas, Red-rumped parrots, and Long-billed Corellas and with luck, even a Koala! Overnight Geelong
Morning finds us searching for species missed during the previous two days. We may spot the tiny Little Lorikeet at Serendip regional Park and we will scour the surrounding regions for the often hard to find Blue-winged Parrot. Afternoon is travel time as we say goodbye to Geelong and surrounds and travel approximately 2 hours to Sherbrooke Forest, part of the Dandenong Mountain Range. Lush forests with tree ferns and easy accessible forest paths contain one of the best areas anywhere to view Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Crimson Rosellas, and Australian King-Parrots up close. Overnight Glen Waverly
Today we head for the countryside as we embark on a 2.5-hour drive arriving at the little city of Benalla. After lunch in Benalla we spend the afternoon in the vicinity of Warby-Ovens National Park. Warby-ovens host such rare species as the Regent and Painted Honeyeater. Its box ironbark trees provide vital habitat for these and a host of important species. This is one of the best regions in all of Australia to locate the spectacular little Turquoise Parrot. Schedules permitting, we may visit with biologists working to keep this little neophema in good numbers by important management practices. Overnight in Benalla
Morning finds us on the road heading for Denilquin a 2-hr. drive away. Situated on the Edward River in the Southern Riverina district this is one of the best places in the region to find the threatened Superb Parrot, one of only 3 members of the genus Polytelis. The other two being the Regent and Princess Parrot. We should also get excellent looks at the striking yellow variety of the Crimson Rosella and possibly Blue Bonnets and Little Corellas. Overnight in Denilquin
Saying so long to Denilquin we hit the road destined for Griffith, a 2.5 hr. trip. Arriving in Griffith we’ll search near the airport and golf course and surrounding areas for Blue Bonnets and perhaps Major Mitchells Cockatoos. In the afternoon, we will take a short drive to Cocoparra national Park. A forested oasis in the middle of an agriculture area this will be our only location to search for the threatened Glossy-black Cockatoo. We should also get good looks at the mallee version of the Australian Ringneck parrot and possible Mulga parrots. Overnight in Griffith
Our morning could consist of additional looks at parrots we want to see more of and a possible excursion to search for difficult species we still haven’t seen. Afternoon consists of a casual 2-hour drive to Wagga Wagga. Overnight in Wagga Wagga.
OUTBACK TREK FOR BUDGIES AND COCKATIELS
We board a small plane in Wagga Wagga in the morning bound for Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. This dry rugged area of red soil and remote vistas is home to one of the best regions in the world to spot flocks of wild budgerigars! An evening drive and patient wait beside a waterhole could yield our first budgerigars and Bourke’s parrots. Australian Ringneck parrots (28 parrot type) are a common sight even within the grounds of our hotel! Overnight in Alice Springs.
Up early we join a local bird guide from the Alice Springs area and head to some of the best water holes in the area. We hope to encounter flocks of Budgies and Cockatiels as well as our first Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos. We should also get looks at Mulga Parrots and perhaps some views of Major Mitchells Cockatoo. Overnight in Alice Springs
Morning time is spent looking for parrots we might still need and this is also our very last day in Australia to encounter flocks of wild budgies. In the afternoon, we say so long to Alice Springs and board a plane bound for Darwin. Overnight in Darwin
DARWIN – AUSTRALIA’S TOP END
After a brief hunt for parrots in Buffalo Creek Park Darwin we trek towards world famous Kakadu National Park approximately 2hr away. Here we search for the fast flying Varied Lorikeet as well as the Red-collared version of Rainbow Lorikeet. As we head to the world famous Kakadu may also encounter family groups of Red-tailed Black-cockatoos. We’ll board a river boat for a short aquatic scenic excursion to look for more parrots and the huge Salt Walter Crocodile that inhabits this remote region. Overnight at Mary River – Kakadu
A 2-hr. drive to Mt Bundy could yield more opportunities to view indigenous parrots plus some fascinating forests and scenery. We’ll keep on the lookout for more Varied Lorikeets and Northern Rosellas, the only Rosella found in this tropical region. We will also visit the spectacular Gunlom falls with fantastic vistas and perhaps more parrots. Overnight at Mount Bundey
Morning it’s off to Pine Creek a 2 hr drive to search for the Hooded Parrot. It’s also always possible to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous and iconic Gouldian finch. These colorful well-known finches breed in this region. We'll search for Hooded parrots within the town boundaries of pine Creek where they can even be found in the local parks and gardens. This is our best location for this fluorescent colored little parrot. Overnight in Pine Creek
After a final look at Hooded Parrots we make the 2.5 hr. trip back to Darwin. Here we can take time to explore some of its spectacular beaches and parks to relax and search for more of its iconic birds! Overnight in Darwin
After a farewell breakfast, we bid goodbye to the land of Parrots and head for home.