Trip report: Australia Photo Journey (Aug-Sept 2017) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Laurie Ross and George Lin. This was a set departure tour.

We started the Australia Photo Tour in the beautiful city of Cairns, Far North Queensland. On the first leg of the tour we found ourselves wedged between the Great Barrier Reef (one of the worlds largest living organisms), and the lush Daintree Rainforest (one of the worlds oldest rainforests). We start the tour on the mudflats of the Cairns Esplanade which was full of shorebirds, followed by the lush Botanic Gardens where we found a pair of nesting Rufous Owls and Little Kingfisher, Australias smallest. We then spent a day out on the Great Barrier Reef where we got up close and personal with Brown Booby’s and Sooty Terns. Next, we spent time in the thick Tropical Rainforest of Kuranda and the Daintree where we found Southern Cassowary and Great-billed Heron. We ended this leg on the Atherton Tablelands where we found great birds such as Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and the super cool Squatter Pigeons.

The second leg took us to Brisbane, here we slowly made our way from the Coast to the Outback. We started the tour near the city where we found a day roosting Powerful Owl holding a flyingfox (large bat) in its talons. The main destination for this leg was the famous Bowra Station, amazing open plains and Mulga Scrub, this is great country for bird photography. Here we found Mulga Parrots, Bourke’s Parrots and Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos. By day five of this leg we were in the thick rainforest of Lamington National Park and the famous O’Reilly’s Rainforest Lodge, here we found some spectacular birds like Regent & Satin Bowerbirds, Alberts Lyrebird, King Parrot and Crimson Rosellas.

The third and final leg of the tour took us far south to the incredible island of Tasmania. The first day we explored the reserves around Hobart including Mount Wellington and the local waterworks; here we found all of Tasmanias Robin species, Grey Currawong, Short-beaked Echidna and Tasmanian Pademelon. Our second day in Tasmania and last day of the tour we ventured down to the stunning Bruny Island, highlights here were the albino Bennett’s Wallaby, Hooded Plover, Pacific Gull, Green Rosella and the rare Forty-spotted Pardalote.


Its always hard for the group to pick their top five targets from this photography trip, and this trip was next level with birds such as Southern Cassowary, Bourke’s Parrot, Splendid Fairywren, Rufous Owl, Powerful Owl, Alberts Lyrebird, Pink Robin, Flame Robin, Regent Bowerbird and mamals such as Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo, Koala, Whiptail Wallaby and Boyd’s Forest Dragon. All making it near impossible to pick a top five but after some deliberation we decided on:


1 – Southern Cassowary
2 – Victoria’s Riflebird
3 – Papuan Frogmouth
4 – Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
5 – Powerful Owl


1 – Platypus
2 – Koala
3 – Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo

Tropical Birding Australia Photo Journey report 2017 in PDF format (4.6 MB file)