For absolute beginners through to professional birders, visiting eucalypt forest, rainforests, coastal habitats and/or wetlands (and sometimes heathlands). Travel with a research ornithologist. Not all venues will be visited on a particular day. The usual route includes Eagleby Wetlands and Lamington National Park. For extended birding, consider a three-day wildlife overview tour, outback tours or a custom tour.
The main focus is on seeing (and often photographing) birds in their natural habitat and discussing the behaviour and ecology of those you see or hear, the differences of Australia's birdlife compared to other world regions, and conservation issues.
Tours involve gentle, short walks (unless you advise beforehand that you want extended walks, or have mobility problems: you can still see a lot even from a wheelchair). Let Araucaria know at time of booking if your interests are mainly seeing as many species as possible, seeing particular species, learning about local birds, or just experiencing the rainforests and others habitats with birds as a bonus, etc.
The first guest to book for a particular day gets to choose the starting time (usually between 6am and 8am, but can be earlier or later).
The tour has advanced eco-certification.
Travel way out west through brigalow, mulga and other semi-arid habitats to Currawinya National Park and Bowra (a well-known birding hotspot) in the true outback red sand, red kangaroos, emus, Major Mitchell cockatoos, mulga parrots, other colourful outback parrots, wood swallows, brolgas and other birds in arid shrub lands, waterholes, creek beds, freshwater and saltwater lakes. Be prepared for a long drive on the first and last day. Accommodation a combination camping, small outback hotels and a former cattle station. Advanced eco-accreditation. Option of mud bath at Eulo. Spend one night camping if desired, and one or more at Bowra Station.
With advance notice, may be extended to eight or 10 days. The most active times for bird and other wildlife activity are early morning and late afternoon.
Enjoy a zoologist-designed introduction to Australia's major wildlife groups, their ecology and behaviour, find why Australia is so different, and visit wonderfully scenic wild places. View wildlife in rainforests, eucalypt forests, wetlands, wild coasts and other native habitats, plus a wildlife park run by National Parks. All ages and fitness levels are welcome. Choose between camping and a beautiful bed-and-breakfast by the forest on the first night and an ecolodge by rainforest on the second.
Seek kangaroos, koalas, platypus, kookaburras and other icons as well as lesser known creatures. See a colony of large and noisy fruit bats and watch for dolphins from coastal cliffs. Receive a custom-written book on Australia's wildlife detailing the major groups, some of the plant groups important to them and an overview of the evolutionary/ geological history of Australia. Advanced eco-certification.
With sufficient notice this tour can be extended to four days to allow other experiences such as whale-watching (in winter), snorkelling, horse-riding or Aboriginal culture.
Experience a very well-designed artificial limestone cave housing many happily breeding glow-worms that take the pressure off the colonies in the National Parks. There is nothing artificial about the insects themselves, and in fact this is now the largest glow worm colony in the world. Taste a few local wines (or sip a fruit juice) and enjoy a sumptuous meal while viewing the lake, birds and landscaped gardens. Walk through eucalypt forest and lush rainforests to giant trees, cycads and waterfalls. Enjoy a boardwalk into the rainforest canopy.
For a group wanting a simplified tour just to the glow worms and forest, without the canopy walk or the restaurant, they can do this at reduced cost. Advanced eco-accreditation.
See some of the wildlife around Greater Brisbane's outer suburbs - look for wild koalas, wallabies, fruitbats, birds, lizards etc. For additional cost and advance planning, they can go further afield to seek wild kangaroos or visit a wildlife park. There are no guarantees, but you will visit places they are very likely to see wildlife and they've never yet failed to at least see wallabies, fruitbats and a variety of birds. Although they don't always find wild koalas (they are now declining in Brisbane) they do see a couple of captive ones in a large walk-through enclosure owned by National Parks. At dusk they watch thousands of fruitbats flying, then experience the Australian bush at night, listening for owls, sometimes seeing possums, gliders, owls, frogs or frogmouths.
Enjoy a day of gentle walking on scenic sandy beaches, rocky shores, mangroves with flora and fauna interpretation, close to Brisbane but away from the crowds. Have a swim on a quiet beach if weather conditions permit. Fauna on the island usually include raptors (especially whistling kite, brahminy kite, osprey), bush stone-curlews and other birds, butterflies, crabs (sometimes hundreds of blue soldier crabs marching across the beach), molluscs and other shore life. Explore mainland forest with a reasonable chance of koalas on the way back to the city. Advanced eco-accreditation.