Trip report: custom Australia photo tour (Aug-Sep 2016) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Iain Campbell and Lisle Gwynn. This was a custom tour with an itinerary similar to that of our scheduled Australia Photo Journey.

Click this link to view the full report in PDF format (5.6 MB file)

Australia is a vast and incredibly diverse country, and this dedicated photo tour is designed to take in as much of the diversity found along this enormous island’s east coast as possible. As such we cover a huge range of habitats and landscapes, from the tropical rainforest of north Queensland to the cool and windy shores of Tasmania, along the way photographing as much of its environmental riches as possible. Given Australia’s level of development we also enjoyed extremely comfortable accommodation, great food and easy journeys throughout the tour.

Our tour took in three very different climates over the stretch of this enormous coast. We started in the tropical climate of north Queensland where we headed out to the Great Barrier Reef for a refreshing dip in the ocean and our first memory card filled with nesting tropical seabirds on an idyllic sand cay. Next we moved into the forests and along the fringe of the outback, based at the lovely Kingfisher Park Lodge, seeking forest jewels like Golden Bowerbird, Southern Cassowary and Noisy Pitta, and drier-land specialists like our unforgettable encounter with a magnificent displaying Australian Bustard. Around the Hypipamee area we enjoyed a bounty of nocturnal mammals and a very special daytime encounter with several Platypus.

Moving on to Brisbane we made our way deep into the outback at Cunnamulla, along the way shooting a whole host of parrot species (including up to 8 species in a morning), feisty Shingleback Skink, and our first Variegated and Superb Fairy-Wrens of the trip. These were of course upstaged by Splendid Fairy-Wren at Cunnamulla where we also found Red-capped Robin, the stunning Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, and even more parrot species. Making our way back east we had several impromptu shoots in patches of forest leading up to Dalby, a wildly productive session in a local man’s garden, and finally made our way to the world famous O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. This was undoubtedly photography at its most gluttonous – the subjects are bright and beautiful, they’re entirely unafraid of humans, and the accommodation and food is simply top notch. Highlights here included the gaudy Regent Bowerbird, the dapper Satin Bowerbird, ultra-tame King Parrot and Crimson Rosella and some comical Wonga Pigeons for some lucky members of the group. Albert’s Lyrebird remained quite shy but was undeniably a highlight.

The third and final part of our journey took us to the storm-beaten shores of Tasmania where we explored Bruny Island to photograph Tasmania’s endemic birds and some others besides including stunning Flame Robin, Hooded Plover, and Strong-billed, Crescent, Black-headed and Yellow-throated Honeyeater. We also spent time at Mount Wellington and Mount Fields National Park where we shot the bonbon-esque Pink Robin, glowing Scarlet Robin and fantastic scenery, including some very impressive waterfalls.

Click this link to view the full report in PDF format (5.6 MB file)