Gulf and Inland Bird Tour

13 Day Tour

6 birdwatchers maximum
Mt Isa – Lawn Hill National Park – Karumba – Cloncurry – Mt Isa

waterholes in this rugged outback environment.

Pre-tour day
Some guests arrive in Mount Isa before the tour, and we are happy to book you in for this optional night.
Accommodation: All Seasons Burke & Wills, Mount Isa

Day 1 & 2
The tour starts at midday with lunch. Most guests arrive the night before, so we usually go birding in the morning. In the Mount Isa region the birding highlights include Kalkadoon and Carpentarian Grasswrens, Spinifex Birds, Painted Finches, Ground Cuckoo-shrikes and Spinifex Pigeons. We travel to several waterholes and gorges, visit Lake Moondarra and the Sewage Plant. Should we have problems finding our target species we have more chances at the end of the tour. Looking for the specialities keeps us busy, as some of them are very difficult to find, like the Carpentarian Grasswren. They are only found in two small locations in Australia, and north of Mount Isa is the one of the best spots.
Accommodation: All Seasons Burke & Wills, Mount Isa

Day 3 – 5
We travel from Mount Isa via the Camooweal Road to the southern part of the Gregory River, which is the best area for the Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens. Depending on interest we stop at the Riversleigh fossil site.
The destination is Lawn Hill Gorge, a smaller version of Katherine Gorge in the Northern Territory. It’s a great birding and holiday spot, where we look for the Sandstone Shrike-thrush, Purple-crowned Fairy-Wren, Buff-sided Robin, Northern Rosella and the Channel-billed Cuckoo, which stays here all year around.

We stay at Adels Grove, 10 km from Lawn Hill. The accommodation is in air- conditioned small cabins with power, but the generator gets turned off at night. In winter the nights are quite cool, so that never was a problem. There are only shared amenities, and hot water is produced with wood-fire stoves, so it is all quite basic.
Lawn Hill is very inviting for swimming and canoeing, as there are no motorboats on the water. More species of Finches and Honeyeaters are found in this region.
Accommodation: Adels Grove, Lawn Hill N.P.

Day 6 – 8
From Lawn Hill we travel via Burke & Wills Roadhouse to Karumba. As bird activity varies we stopped intermittently on the road, have lunch at the Burke & Wills Roadhouse and arrive in the afternoon in Karumba.
The mangroves at the coast of the Gulf are great for Red-headed Honeyeaters, White-breasted Whistlers, Mangrove Robins, Broad-billed Flycatchers and Mangrove Golden Whistlers, while the vast Karumba plains are good for raptors and grassland birds. The shoreline offers even in winter some waders.
At night time we spotlight for Barking Owls.
Accommodation: End of the Road Motel, Karumba Point

Day 9
We drive via Normanton to Cloncurry. Near Normanton we stop at the Norman River, where we usually catch up with Brolgas and Sarus Cranes, plus other wetland species. This is quite a long travelling day, arriving at Cloncurry in the afternoon via Burke & Wills Roadhouse.
Of course we stop for any interesting looking birds on the way.
Accommodation: Wagonwheel Motel, Cloncurry

Day 10
We drive very early to the south of Cloncurry to search for the Rufous-crowned Emu-Wren. These birds are very difficult to see if the weather is not right. Windy days are not good, so we aim to be at a certain spot at sunrise before the wind comes up.
Around this area we also have chances to see the Kalkadoon Grasswren and of course there are other birds. Even Night Parrots have been historically reported south of Cloncurry. After an early lunch in Cloncurry we take a big break and go birding for a couple of hours in the late afternoon.
Accommodation: Wagonwheel Motel, Cloncurry

Day 11 – 13
We leave Cloncurry and on the way to Mount Isa we visit Clem Walton Park, which is also a very scenic spot. It’s a great place for Spotted Bowerbirds and more. The next days will be used to look for missing birds and maybe explore new areas. The tour finishes around lunchtime in Mount Isa on Day 13. Transport is in a 6 (forward-facing) seater Toyota 4WD troop carrier, and we carry a satellite phone and a First-Aid Kit.
Accommodation: All Seasons Burke & Wills, Mount Isa