Do you need to find a special bird, have time constraints and wish to maximise your bird list?
Kirrama Tours also specialise in personalised tours for individuals and groups, both in Australia and PNG. These are very popular and vary in length from a few days to a month. The personalised tours range from the specialist birder seeking to find that elusive bird to the novice birder who wants to concentrate on maximising the number of birds over a wide variety of habitats – and everything in between.
Specialised bird photography tours can also be arranged based on the considerable experience and success in this field of your tour leader. You will have some great photographic opportunities as well as pick up some fantastic tips so that your photos will be of excellent quality.
We can design any tour for you – for example you may specifically want to see the ten Grasswrens – all endemic to Australia – or you might want to concentrate on the Bowerbirds. You can base your tour on any of our standard tours with more emphasis on the particular birds that you wish to find.
Alternatively the suggested itineraries below have been amongst some of our most successful charters. In Queensland transport is in a 6 (forward-facing) seater Toyota 4WD troop carrier. In other states excellent quality hire cars (or coaches for larger groups) are used.
We carry a satellite phone, G.P.S. and First-Aid Kit as Klaus is fully trained in first aid.
All tours include all meals, excellent accommodation in air-conditioned premises (excepting in very remote outback areas where this is not available), transport, 10% GST (Goods & Services Tax) and permit fees. Not included are drinks of any kind, personal spending, flights and excess baggage.
Our rates are available on application but you will find them very reasonable, competitive and great value for money. Larger overseas groups are also one of our specialities. Some examples of our customised private tours are shown below but of course any part of them can form the basis of your own personalised itinerary. As with our standard tours, full bird lists are available on request.
The Great Western Australian Tour
Usually around 18 days.
Kununurra – Broome – Armadale – Narrogin – Stirling Range – Albany – Perth
Meet in Kununurra, which is the finch capital of Australia. Here we have the chance of finding 10 species of Finches, including the endangered Gouldian Finch. We spend this first day birdwatching in the local area, and highlights include Yellow-rumped Mannikins and Star Finches.
An early morning for a birdwatching cruise on Lake Argyle, which will show us a great variety of waterbirds and waders, plus some uncommon and endemic birds like White-quilled Rock Pigeons, Sandstone Shrike-thrushes and possibly Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens.
Today we fly to the Mitchell Plateau on a charter flight, transfer to the Mitchell Falls area by helicopter and search for the Black Grasswren, which only occurs in this region. Other highlights include the yellow-eyed race of the Partridge Pigeon and the White-lined Honeyeater. We return to our air-conditioned accommodation the same day. It’s a scenic flight and a chance for the most remote endemic and bird in Australia at the same time.
Parry’s lagoon, which is a great spot for a wide variety of birds is on the program today. We frequently encounter over 40 species of birds at this location, including Oriental Plovers and Yellow Chats. Wyndham is close by, which is the hot spot for Gouldian Finches. In the afternoon we return to Kununurra and visit some local areas, looking for Buff-sided Robins and White-browed Crakes.
Day 5 – 7
After birdwatching in the morning we fly from Kununurra to Broome where we spend three days. Broome is the wader (shorebird) capital of Australia, where thousands of birds congregate especially around Roebuck Bay. Time is also spent in the mangroves searching for species such as Mangrove Golden Whistler, Mangrove Robin, White-breasted Whistler, Red-headed Honeyeater and many more. We also search for the Yellow Chat.
Early morning birding around The Port and at the Water Treatment Plant before flying to Perth and transfering to Armadale in the outer area of Perth. There should be time for local birdwatching in the afternoon.
The nearby State Forests and reserves hold a great variety of endemic birds, and we look for Red-eared Firetails, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos, Western Rosellas, Red-capped Parrots, White-breasted Robins and many more.
Day 10 & 11
Our next stop is the famous Dryandra Forest, where we look for birds only to be found in this dry forest. These include Elegant Parrots, Rufous Treecreepers, Blue-breasted Fairy-wrens, Western Spinebills and many species of Honeyeaters. On one night we go spotlighting for nocturnal birds and marsupials such as Bilbies and the uncommon Numbat.
Day 12 & 13
After checking the local area for birds we leave Narrogin and drive to the Stirling Range, about a 3 hour drive away. We stay at the Retreat, which is set right in a protected area of bushland and harbours birds like Regent Parrots, Short-billed Black-Cockatoos, Western Yellow Robins and more. Areas nearby can also produce endemic and difficult birds like Western Whipbird and Western Fieldwren. On the second day we drive to a private property, which has a wild population of the endangered Malleefowl.
Day 14 – 16
It’s only a short drive to Albany, which is on the coast and the most southern point of this tour. We visit locations such as Two Peoples Bay where the three endemic and difficult birds can be found – Western Bristlebird, Western Whipbird and Noisy Scrubbird. Other birds include varieties of Terns and Gulls, Southern Emu-wren and the Rock Parrot.
Today we drive back to Perth, but also visit an area where it is most certain to find Western Corellas and Long-billed Black-Cockatoos. We should arrive in Perth in the late afternoon.
Depending on flights we could spend this last day visiting one of the numerous lakes in the local area. Here we have chances to see Musk and Blue-billed Ducks, 3 species of Grebes plus Spotless Crakes. The tour ends with the departure of the guests.
Northern & Eastern Australia
Usually about 21 days
Sydney – Blue Mountains – Lamington National Park – Cairns – Daintree – Atherton Tablelands – Mission Beach –
Darwin – Kakadu National Park – Katherine – Darwin
Arrival in Sydney. Depending on the flight arrival we spend the afternoon in the Royal Botanic Gardens, familiarizing us with some of the locally common birds.
Today we drive south and visit the Royal National Park, where the Superb Lyrebird is one of the many highlights. We encounter several habitats and have therefore the chances of seeing Southern Emu-wrens, Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, plus all the common species present in this area.
We leave Sydney and drive to the Blue Mountains, which offer spectacular views and a host of birds like Grey Currawong, Crescent Honeyeaters, Scarlet Robins, Gang Gang Cockatoos, Pilotbirds and a chance of seeing the Rock Warbler, the only endemic bird of New South Wales. We arrive in the afternoon in Lithgow.
Glen Davis is our destination for the day, and this well-known woodland is famous for its birdlife. Highlights and sought after species are Turquoise Parrots, Plum-headed Finches, Diamond Firetails, Hooded Robins, Little Lorikeets, Eastern Shrike-tit, and many more. This area is also one of the few hot spots for the endangered Regent Honeyeater.
Day 5 – 7
After some local birding we drive back to Sydney and fly to Brisbane. We transfer to O’Reilly’s Guesthouse in the Lamington National Park. We spend the next days in this area, which has an enormous number of spectacular birds to offer. There are many highlights, but O’Reilly’s is best known for the close encounters with Satin and Regent Bowerbirds. Habitats vary from rainforest to open woodland, each with their own specialities. Glossy Black-Cockatoos, Red-browed Treecreepers, Albert’s Lyrebirds, Paradise Riflebird (a Bird of Paradise), Green Catbirds, Logrunners, several kinds of Pigeons and Fruit-doves, and many more. We also spotlight for nocturnal mammals, but the main targets are the Marbled Frogmouth and Sooty Owl.
We leave O’Reilly’s and fly at about noon to Cairns in North Queensland. The Wet Tropics World Heritage area between Cooktown and Townsville is one of the best and most famous birding regions in Australia. 14 species of birds are endemic to the highland and lowland rainforests, which receive the highest rainfall of the Australian mainland. That accounts for its natural beauty, clear creeks with Platypus and a large number of endemic frogs and possums. In the afternoon we visit the Esplanade to look for the many species of waders.
Today a full day excursion to the Great Barrier Reef is planned. Not only do we have the opportunity to snorkel or dive in the coral wonderland, but seabirds are also present. Several species of Terns are resident on Michaelmas Cay, plus we have the chance of encountering Boobies and Frigatebirds.
We spend some time in the early morning in the Cairns Botanical Gardens. Here we look for Green Pygmy-geese, Brown-backed Honeyeaters, Lovely Fairy-wrens, Yellow Orioles, Black Butcherbirds, Orange-footed Scrubfowls and many more. Around lunch time we drive the coastal road to Daintree, which is about 1 ½ hours north of Cairns. Local birding at Daintree in the afternoon.
On the Daintree River we take the well-known River Cruise with Chris Dahlberg, who specialises in tours for birdwatchers. Highlights are Great-billed Herons and Little Kingfishers, and it’s not uncommon to see 40 species of birds. We transfer to Julatten and visit several local areas. From our accommodation a wealth of bird life can be seen.
We visit Mt Lewis, which has the only reliable population of Blue-faced Finches. These Finches are best seen between November and May. Other spectacular birds at this altitude of over 1000 meters are Golden Bowerbirds, Fernwrens, Atherton Scrubwrens, Topknot Pigeons and Bridled Honeyeaters.
We drive to the dry woodland near Mt Carbine with a good chance of finding Australian Bustards and Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos, plus many more. Yungaburra is our next destination in the southern part of the Tablelands. Places like Lake Barrine, Mt Hypipamee and Hastie’s Swamp are the spots for the endemic highland rainforest birds. One night we spotlight for Rainforest Possums and Owls. Most birding regions are between 700 and 1000 metres above sea level, and highlights include Grass Owls, Victoria’s Riflebirds, Tooth-billed Bowerbirds, Cotton Pygmy-geese, Magpie Geese, Sarus Cranes, Brolgas, and many more.
After local birding near Yungaburra we descend to the coast. The Cassowary is our main objective in the lowland rainforest at Mission Beach. Thick-knees, Noisy Pittas, White-eared Monarchs, Pied Monarchs and White-browed Crakes are other target species. At night we search for Rufous Owl.
We leave Mission Beach after some more birding in the morning and travel north towards Cairns. Depending on time we’ll visit Eubenangee Swamp, and possibly the mangroves at Edmonton, which is a good place to see the Mangrove Robins among other mangrove species. We fly to Darwin.
We look for birds in the Botanical Garden and visit East Point and Lee Point, which usually offer a good variety of waders. The mangroves close to town are great to look for mangrove birds with a chance to see the Chestnut Rail.
Day 17 & 18
We depart Darwin and drive via Fogg Dam towards Kakadu N.P. Fogg Dam is a famous spot for White-browed Crakes and other water birds, including monsoon rainforest birds like the endemic Rainbow Pitta. Entering Kakadu N.P. through the northern entry station we arrive mid afternoon at Cooinda. After a short break we look for Black-tailed Treecreepers and Partridge Pigeons. The next morning we visit Nourlangie Rock. Apart from the Aboriginal rock art, highlights are Banded Fruit-Dove, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, White-lined Honeyeater and Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon. In the afternoon we take a ‘Yellow Waters’ Cruise, which is usually great for ducks, egrets, and other waterbirds, as well as Little Kingfisher and Great-billed Heron.
Day 19 + 20
We depart very early and drive south to Gunlom, where we search for Northern Rosellas and White-throated Grasswrens. There are two locations; both require fitness, as it is climbing over huge boulders or up the Escarpment. At midday we arrive at Pine Creek for lunch and travel on to Katherine. Around Katherine are several locations to search for Gouldian Finches and Hooded Parrots. Other interesting birds, which we frequently encounter on our walks are Long-tailed Finches, Masked Finches, Pallid Cuckoos, Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoos, a variety of Honeyeaters and Black-tailed Treecreepers. A visit to Katherine Gorge brings us very close to Great Bowerbirds and Blue-winged Kookaburras, which are easily photographed. A cruise into the Gorge is optional.
We return to Darwin, birding on the way, where the tour ends.
Great Northern Tour
Usually around 16 days
Queensland: Cairns – Atherton Tablelands – Mission Beach – Bamaga (Cape York) –
Northern Territory: Darwin – Kakadu National Park – Katherine – Darwin.