4 day wildlife safari helping the wild animals of the wilderness coast
Tour Code: WCJ formerly known as Wildlife Walkabout/Wildlife Conservation Journey
Four days with the best of Australia's wildlife!
Connect with nature on this fully-inclusive small group journey into the wildlife-rich forests of southeast Australia's coastal wilderness.
Find koalas in magnificent stands of giant eucalypt forest, walk in rainforest listening for lyrebirds, watch Sea-Eagles soar along untouched ocean beaches and spot huge Goanna lizards beside secluded rivers and waterways. Your highly experienced Wildlife Guide will also show you where to look for wild wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, parrots, cockatoos, black swans and many other animals.
Help conserve the beautiful places and wildlife you see. Spend a little time on a glorious beach removing fishing nets that trap fish, birds and sea mammals.
Share this remote area with your experienced Wildlife Guide and each night return to the comforts of owner-operated lodge-style accommodation.
At the end of the journey all participants will receive a certificate of thanks for helping wildlife, a full species list of everything they've seen, and the satisfaction of knowing they have given something back to the environments and animals visited.
- Tour Duration: Four day journey
- Tour Style: Small group vehicle-based safari.
- Group Size: Minimum passengers: 2 adults; Maximum: 8 adults
- Days of Operation: -Sunday to Wednesday, on request September to May (Note: no tours run on or through Christmas/Boxing Days: December 25/26)
- Departs: Melbourne city – guests' hotel or agreed convenient location
- Returns: Melbourne city – same location as pickup
- Tour Destination: East Gippsland: roughly halfway between Melbourne and Sydney on the south-east coast of Australia (Australia's coastal wilderness).
- Accommodation: 3 nights at a friendly, very comfortable 4.5 star homestead overlooking the Snowy River or similar.
- Price to 31 March 2017: $1650 AUD per adult Single supplement add $300 AUD.
Note - prices shown are per person, in Australian dollars and are retail (rack/recommended sell) rates current to 31 March 2016. Price is for twin share accommodation; S/S = single supplement must be added for all single travellers. Please note: Children under 13 years old are not accepted on this tour, except by special arrangement for private groups in different accommodation.
Please check cancellation page before you book.
Note that all departures are from the city of Melbourne and all trips return to Melbourne.
Travel past internationally acclaimed RAMSAR wetlands of the Lakes District of East Gippsland before travelling by ferry to an island sanctuary in the wetlands with a thriving colony of wild Koalas. We take a walk through the forest spotting these delightful animals in the wild, and learning about their lives. We may also see Echidnas, Wallabies and Kangaroos and many colourful parrots, honeyeaters and seabirds which you can help record for conservation purposes.
Dinner tonight is in a local restaurant.
Tonight's accommodation is a homestead in a small town where you will stay for three nights. (L,D included)
Accommodation: Snowy River Homestead, Orbost, or similar
Day 2 - MONDAY: Rugged mountain forests of East Gippsland
After a relaxing breakfast we travel into the rugged mountain forests of East Gippsland.
The diverse forests of East Gippsland are the reason that wildlife is so abundant. Today we will visit both dry and wet mountain forests, visit the famous Snowy River, and walk beside a wilderness creek where the landscape changes dramatically from the sunny, dry slopes to the near-rainforest of the gully. Your Wildlife Guide provides detailed information of the formation of these mighty forests, and helps you search for Lyrebirds, parrots, goannas, wallabies and honeyeaters. Birds and reptiles are abundant, but other human visitors are few.
We finish the day with a classic Aussie dinner at the Homestead. (B,L,D included)
Accommodation: Snowy River Homestead, Orbost, or similar
Day 3 - TUESDAY: Explore a secluded river estuary on the Wilderness Coast
First we walk into a large lowland (warm temperate) rainforest in search of birds and wallabies. Then we walk through a heathland and along a forest-lined river to its estuary in Australia's Coastal Wilderness. We search for Sea Eagles, cockatoos, kingfishers, swans and huge goanna lizards. We visit a quiet beach with a complex dune system and frequently see beach and ocean-going birds.
After lunch we take a walk on the nearby rocky headland, peering into rock pools, walking past wind-sculpted coastal shrubs looking at the expanse of the 90 mile beach. We spend a little time on a beautiful beach removing old fishing nets – they wash up from the sea, and sometimes wash back out, where they trap and kill sea creatures.
Our dinner tonight is a picnic in the bush overlooking the beach (weather permitting). On our way back to our Homestead we search the plains for wallabies, kangaroos and wombats. (B,L,D included)
Accommodation: Snowy River Homestead, Orbost, or similar
Day 4 - WEDNESDAY: Mouth of the Snowy River, Krowathunkoolong and back to Melbourne
This morning we depart East Gippsland after one last visit to the beach at the Mouth of the Snowy River. On the way back to Melbourne we visit the Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place, an informative Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Bairnsdale. We also search for Grey-headed Flying-foxes in their daytime roosts beside the river at Bairnsdale (a large colony set up there in 2013, and at the time of writing provide great viewing opportunities. They may move on at any time though). We then transfer to Melbourne arriving in the late afternoon (B,L included)
NOTE: this itinerary is an indication only. Due to conditions on the day, weather and National Parks requirements, it can change slightly to maximise wildlife viewing opportunities. This itinerary is the property of - Echidna Walkabout PO Box 370 Port Melbourne 3207 AUSTRALIA
Just by being there, you are helping wildlife - your Wildlife Guide records all species seen and uploads this data to online atlasses for conservation purposes. In addition you will be offered the opportunity to remove Ghost Net - discarded fishing net - from the beach at Cape Conran on the third day. It is fun and easy, and over the last three years we have removed large quantities of this dangerous hazard to marine life.
These activities are completely optional, no obligation and take up very little time. All guests who provide their email address will receive a certificate of thanks, and will be provided with use of all equipment necessary to perform the tasks. See more at Volunteer/Conservation component of tour
East Gippsland is famous for it's forest wildlife, particularly big mammals, birds and reptiles. It is a fabulous place for parrots and cockatoos - they are numerous, visible and noisy. This tour is a great chance to see some very shy forest-dwellers: Koalas, Wombats, Swamp Wallabies, Superb Lyrebirds (best seen and heard in Spring), Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, King-Parrots and Eastern Whipbirds. In the warmer months we enjoy watching Lace Monitors (Goannas) prowling the forest floor for food, and Gippsland Water Dragons sunning themselves on waterfalls.
We often see Satin Bowerbirds, Rufous Fantails, Laughing Kookaburras, Golden Whistlers, Yellow and Rose Robins, 10 species of cockatoo and parrot, and up to 14 species of honeyeater.
Along the coast and estuaries we often see Australian Fur Seals, White-bellied Sea-Eagles, Pelicans, Gannets, cormorants, oystercatchers, herons, Black Swans and many species of duck. We sometimes see an Echidna, a whale or a Bottlenose Dolphin.
The wildlife of the plains lives here too – we often see Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Red-necked Wallabies, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Emus, Galahs, Eastern Rosellas, ibis, Australian Magpies, Magpie-larks and Willie Wagtails. We rarely see snakes or spiders, though we are as interested in them as in all wildlife, and will look out for them.
Several of our threatened species live in this area, and we will be taking particular note of any sightings of Hooded Plover, Little Tern, Little & Intermediate Egret, Lewin's Rail, Royal Spoonbill, Powerful Owl, Blue-billed Duck, Sooty Oystercatcher and Glossy Black-cockatoo. East Gippsland Wildlife Species List
Note: we go to enormous effort to ensure great wildlife sightings on every tour. Our Wildlife Guides prepare for each tour by studying recent sightings and seasonal trends, and then compile a comprehensive list of species at the conclusion of the tour for future reference. Some species are migratory or seasonal – contact us about the best time to come if you would particularly like to see a certain animal group. Note, we do not guarantee sightings of any wild animal.
[Jim Peterson from Texas USA joined us on tour way back in 2005 - check out his website http://www.nctexasbirds.com/home/egippsland for information on the 120 species of birds he met with us in East Gippsland].
Tour includes: Full interpretation by an experienced Wildlife Guide, all transport, meals and accommodation as described below and entry fees.
Wildlife and natural history notes and maps: will be provided to guests at beginning of this tour
- Expert Wildlife Guides: Echidna Walkabout's Wildlife Guides are recognised as some of the best in Australia. Our Wildlife Guide training program ensures that all Guides have an in-depth knowledge of the wildlife and environments you will see. They are friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife - some of them have over 20 years experience working with wild animals, several are volunteer wildlife carers and rescuers and most have travelled extensively throughout Australia and the world. Many hours of wildlife research work precede the tour to ensure that you see and learn about native wildlife in its natural environment. Guides carry two way radios and mobile phones which link them to other Wildlife Guides and to emergency services. Guest safety is of paramount importance to us.
Accommodation: Get to know the Locals: Accommodation is at a Homestead-style Bed and Breakfast in far East Gippsland. B&B’s are carefully selected for friendly, first class hospitality and service - they are run by the owner so you will get to know the locals during breakfasts and one evening dinner. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Free WiFi is available at the Homestead.
Meals on tour: All meals are included, from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 4. NB Vegetarian, gluten-free, pork-free or other food preferences should be noted at the time of booking. Some meals are carried on board the vehicle, or ordered in advance. We can only cater for allergies and special food preferences that we are informed of in advance.
Easy walking: Although this tour is vehicle based, most of the day is spent outside the vehicle on a number of easy, flat terrain, bushwalks so that you can get close to nature. Passengers must be able to walk unassisted at least 3km (2miles) on uneven dirt surfaces to ensure wildlife sightings. There may be up to 3 walks of this duration during each day.
Transport: In our comfortable air conditioned vehicle.
- Drinking Water: Tap water is completely safe and drinkable and available at the Homestead, and a large storage is carried on board the vehicle each day. We recommend you bring a re-usable water bottle which we can refill during the day. If you don't like to drink tap water we highly recommend you bring a filter to reduce plastic waste.
Strong walking shoes or boots, outdoor clothing to suit variable weather conditions (please check weather forecast for accurate predictions), sun hat, rainproof coat, small torch (flashlight), insect repellent, 15+ sunscreen, daypack and 1 litre re-usable water bottle. Camera and binoculars are recommended. You can also bring swimming gear.
As space is limited please keep luggage to 1 duffel bag OR 1 backpack OR 1 small suitcase per person.
Like this tour, but want to visit East Gippsland on your own PRIVATE tour? Check out our Croajingolong Journey