Wild Latitudes

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Australia

Natural History Down Under

Interested in this tour?

This is a trip designed to appeal to anyone who loves and appreciates nature, and enjoys getting out there to actively explore, discover and experience new destinations. With the cosmopolitan town of Cairns as our base, we’ll traverse Northern Queensland, an area world-renowned for its diversity of wildlife and birds. We’ll explore the regions surrounding Cairns with our local guide, including Atherton Tablelands, where the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Agile Wallaby and the adorable Mareeba Rock Wallaby may all be seen. We’ll also keep an our eye out for birds like the stunning Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, the Lovely Fairy Wren, Royal Spoonbill and Black Swan along the way. We’ll make a special effort to see one of the country’s, and indeed the world’s, most unusual creatures, the Duck-billed Platypus!


We will spend two nights at the oasis of Kingfisher Lodge, famous for the unique Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, and we’ll no doubt find the massive Australian Bustard as we bird the nearby scrubland. En route back to Cairns, we’ll have the magical experience of birding the Daintree River by boat at dawn. Within the first week, you will have explored the jungles, wetlands, and dry scrublands of this unique region, likely adding Sarus Cranes and Laughing Kookaburras to our list, and with luck, the very rare Southern Cassowary.


But on this trip, we’ll do more than just bird... You will also experience the magical realm of the most extensive coral reef ecosystem in the world, the Great Barrier Reef. We will spend three days and two nights on the reef, on a certified live-aboard dive boat, complete with private sleeping berths and a full galley. We will snorkel (or SCUBA, if you wish) several of the finest reefs, where Sea Turtles, Giant Clams and a myriad of reef fish abound.


Before leaving Queensland, we’ll also have the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at a local Bat Rehab Center to learn about the important conservation work done there, and to see incredible Flying Fox Bats up-close and personal. You’ll have free time in the time charming village of Kuranda to peruse the handicraft markets, visit a Butterfly Garden, the Aviary or the Venom Zoo, before we board the Sky Rail, for a spell-binding yet educational journey through the jungle canopy.


The main trip ends with two nights in the beautiful city of Sydney, where we’ll bird the Botanical Gardens on our way to see the famous Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. We’ll also enrich our Australian experience with a tour of the wonderful Australian Museum, which has fascinating exhibits on both the cultural and natural history of the land down-under.


This trip is designed to thrill the avid naturalist and novice naturalist alike, and to give everyone a well-rounded, first-hand experience of Australia.


We hope you’ll join us on this incredible journey through one of the most enchanting countries in the world, and experience a part of Africa that few ever have.


Tour Highlights

 Experience the beauty of Queensland's many habitats: rain forests, wetlands, dry tablelands, and it's stunning coast.

 See a myriad of Australian birds and other wildlife, including Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Laughing Kookaburras, Easter Red Kangaroos, Wombats, and perhaps even the Southern Cassowary and the Duck-billed Platypus.

 Spend 3 days on a dive boat moored on the Great Barrier Reef, and snorkel to your hearts content amidst corals of every size and shape, home to rays, sea turtles, giant clams, and a rainbow of reef fish.

 Visit the Cairns Aquarium, shop for souvenirs in the markets of Kuranda, take an early-morning cruise on the Daintree River, and take a panoramic ride through the rain forest canopy on Skyrail, one of the longest trams in the world.

 Tour the coastal town of Cairns and it's beautiful waterfront, and experience the cosmopolitan city of Sydney and its vibrant harbor, home to the iconic Sydney Opera House.

 On the Tasmania Extension Trip: hike the trails and boardwalks of Cradle Mountain, a place of such stunning scenery it is listed as an UNESCO World heritage Site.

 Also in Tasmania: Seek and likely find all 12 of Tasmania's Endemic species of birds, including the highly -sought after Forty-spotted Pardalote.

Map_Australia_Tour_1

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3

Arrive in Cairns, Queensland. We'll explore the area in and outside the city, looking for birds and wildlife, as well as visiting attractions such as the Cairns Aquarium and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.


Days 4 and 5

From our lodge on the dry side of the mountains, we'll venture out to the Mareeba Wetlands, the Atherton Tablelands, and the Eucalyptus scrub habitats of Mount Carbine. These places harbor amazing marsupials and birds.


Day 6

Today we'll explore the Daintree River by boat, looking for Saltwater Crocodiles and interesting birds. After lunch, we'll enjoy some free time strolling the town of Port Douglas.


Day 7

A visit to the village of Kuranda, where we'll have the morning to peruse Handicraft Markets for souvenirs and/or visit Kuranda’s many attractions including a butterfly garden, an aviary, a venom zoo, and a bat rescue fascility. In the afternoon, we'll get fitted for wetsuits in preparation for the Great Barrier Reef.


Days 8-10

Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. We'll have many opportunities to swim among fantastic coral formations and the beautiful fish that call the reef home.


Day 11

This is a free day in Cairns with several optional activities: birding, sea kayaking, a scenic train ride, or hiking.


Days 12 and 13

We'll fly south to Sydney and have about two days to explore this vibrant city. We'll visit the Sydney Opera House and the Australian Museum, with options for other activities and exploring on your own.


Day 14

Many of us will continue on to Tasmania for the extension trip. We'll say our farewells to those who are heading home today.

COST of MAIN TRIP: $4,195

COST of EXTENSION: $1,995

START DATE: November 10, 2019

DURATION: 14 days

GROUP SIZE: Up to 14

TRIP FOCUS: Birding and Wildlife




WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Double-occupancy lodging
  • Ground transportation
  • Breakfasts and lunches
  • Excursions and park fees
  • Guiding services


Get the brochure for this tour

The PDF brochure includes:

  • A detailed itinerary
  • Tour Map
  • Registration Info
  • And more!



YOUR GUIDE

A true lover of the natural world, Steve Robertson has been a student of nature his entire life. First, as a little boy, who caught every creature he could for the mini zoo he kept in the garage, then later as an adult, leading scientific research expeditions into some of the most remote regions of the world, searching for rare species in such places as Tasmania, Madagascar and the upper Amazon Basin. With degrees in Wildlife Biology, advanced biology & education, Steve has worked in the field of Environmental Education for over 30 years. From 1998 to 2017, he served as the Education Director for the Audubon Society of Portland, creating a number of innovative programs including International Ecotours, a program that has won hundreds of accolades from around the country. During his time with Audubon, Steve personally designed and led Ecotours to over 20 countries, spanning six continents.





If you love nature travel, you’re in good hands with us

How We Travel

We gauge the success of a tour on how well it was enjoyed by all. Providing a rich, rewarding experience for each individual is our top priority. Our tours generally have an easy pace so that everyone gets to experience all a region has to offer.

We create a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere that encourages tour participants to help each other in the field. Just as safety and comfort are cornerstones of our tours, so are humor and the simple joy of learning. The good cheer and camaraderie on our tours often inspire post-trip get-togethers and new, life-long friendships.

Our Focus

We’re crazy about birds, but they are only part of the story.

Our tours offer a holistic experience by taking the time to appreciate all of the animals we encounter– including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects. They all interact and play vital roles in their ecosystems. We also take time on our tours to explore the plants and geology of the regions we visit.

Fostering a deeper understanding of new cultures is one of our goals. On your tour, you’ll taste exotic cuisine and hear local music. You’ll have time to peruse the market, stroll through villages, and share stories with the people you meet.

Protecting the Wild

Ecotourism is a powerful tool for protecting the wild regions of the world. For example, parts of Uganda are now devoted to the conservation of the Mountain Gorilla. Though still endangered, ecotourism has pulled this species back from the precipice of extinction.

We aim to make a positive conservation impact wherever we travel. We often use local guides and stay in small, locally-owned lodges. On every trip, we donate to a local conservation organization that works to protect a native species or ecosystem. When you travel with Wild Latitudes you are helping to protect wild places and the amazing species that call them home.

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