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Island Birds & Humpbacks

8 days helping wild animals in

Exmouth Gulf, WA

Bird surveys on a rarely-visited island chain in Ningaloo Reef, swim with Humpback Whales, count endangered rock-wallabies.

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Prices & Details

ADULT  mid-range (Twin/Double rooming)

$4725 pp

ADULT deluxe (Twin/Double rooming)

$5225 pp

If you are not travelling with another person with whom you can share a room: add $1450 (note: we can try to find room-share partners of the same sex for single travellers, but we can’t promise)

Minimum age for this tour is 13 years. Parties with younger children may request a private tour.

DETAILS

Location: Exmouth, Western Australia

Duration: 8 Days    Full Itinerary here

Grade/Difficulty: easy

Group Size – Maximum 10 adults Minimum 4 adults

Departs: 17 – 24 September 2021. Private tours can be arranged anytime in September.  Departure from Learmonth airport, near Exmouth WA. Another departure is planned for March 2021 but with whale sharks. 

Returns: to Learmonth airport

Note: this conservation experience is run in partnership with local operators Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks. We highly recommend this professional and conservation-minded operator, so even if you can’t join us on this one-off experience, please consider booking a Humpback swim or Whaleshark swim with them.

 

 

Ningaloo Wildlife

Ningaloo Reef is famous for it’s ocean wildlife: Whalesharks, Manta Rays, Humpback Whales, dolphins and turtles.  The land is also very rich – read our latest blog about Cape Range wildlife.

On this tour we expect to see

MAMMALS: Humpback Whales on several occasions, a few species of dolphin (Indo-Pacific Humpback, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose), Dingoes, Black-footed Rock-wallabies & Common Wallaroos. 

REPTILES: Green, Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtles

BIRDS: Western Bowerbirds, Pied Butcherbirds, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Osprey, Spotted Harrier, Port Lincoln Parrots, Emus, Australian Bustards, a lot of waders, Red-backed Kingfisher, Mangrove Grey Fantail, Zebra Finch. 

More to come.

 

 

 

Conservation component

Bird surveys on Muiron Islands: We plan to alight on Muiron Islands for a day, take notes of all wildlife and birds seen.  Only 2 eBird surveys are currently available for this island group, though some scientific surveys have been conducted and shown a huge diversity of wildlife. 

Black-footed Rock-wallaby counts: These endangered wallabies live in several hidden gorges in the Exmouth area.  We will visit one and take notes of population size, for submission to wildlife authorities.

Bird & wildlife surveys on Wilderness Island:  No eBird surveys have been conducted on this remote island to date.  We will be doing the first ever. 

For the whole trip, you are helping wildlife – your Wildlife Guide records all species seen and uploads this data to online atlasses for wildlife conservation purposes. See below:

 

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.

 

 

 

What to bring on Island Birds & Humpbacks 

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, min 15+ sunscreen, daypack and 1 litre re-usable water bottle. Camera and binoculars are recommended. You should also bring swimming gear.

As space is limited please keep luggage to 1 duffel bag OR 1 backpack OR 1 small suitcase per person.

Drinking Water: Tap water is completely safe and drinkable and available at the accommodation on this trip, and a large fresh storage is carried on board the boat and 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.

 

INCLUSIONS

Island Birds & Humpbacks includes: Full interpretation by an experienced Wildlife Guide, all transport (land and sea), meals and accommodation as described below and entry fees.

Notes: Wildlife and natural history notes 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 mobile phones which link them to other Wildlife Guides and to emergency services. Guest safety is of paramount importance to us.

Accommodation: (See itinerary and pricing.) Two standards of accommodation are offered in Exmouth, both are excellent quality:  Standard at Potshots Resort  OR Luxury at MantaRays

Meals on tour: All meals are included unless stated otherwise. 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: Much of this tour is boat-based however on vehicle based days much of the day is spent outside the vehicle on a number on bush-walks 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: On water in high quality marine accredited dive boats with on board toilets. On land in our comfortable air conditioned vehicle.

 

Latest Blogs about Island Birds & Humpbacks Ningaloo

Amazing & Different Facts: Humpback Whales

Amazing & Different Facts: Humpback Whales

Amazing & Different Facts: Humpback Whales Megaptera novaeangliae – the singing, dancing superstars of Australia’s coastline. But did you know they are brave heroes, loyal to their holiday spots, and no-one knows why they migrate? Here’s five different and amazing facts about them that you won’t find anywhere else.

Wild animals of the Ningaloo beaches

Wild animals of the Ningaloo beaches

At first glance, the beaches of Ningaloo Western Australia look too clean. Sterile. The sand is so white you wonder if its already turned into marble. The water is the clearest turquoise glass. .. If there was an animal on that wild beach or in that water surely you’d...

Itinerary

Be involved in meaningful conservation in this subtropical wilderness. Help with wildlife surveys on rarely-visited islands in Ningaloo Reef, swim with Humpback Whales, count endangered rock-wallabies, cruise Exmouth Gulf searching for Dugong and whales.

Ningaloo Reef and the associated Cape Range National Park are part of the 604,500 ha Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area. The WHA contains some of the oldest examples of life on earth and is home to big migrations of Humpback Whales, Whalesharks, Manta Rays and many other marine species. Three different species of turtles use the area, some for egg laying on the pristine beaches. The Indian Ocean flanks this whole region, its bright aqua green highlighting the rich reds and ochres of the land.

Cape Range National National Park contains an abundance of wildlife including the rare Black-footed Rock-wallaby, dingoes, Western Bowerbirds and many species of birds of prey. The flora of the region is stunted by aridity but contains an extraordinary variety of unusual plants often hidden deep in the convoluted escarpments and gorges of the Range.

The beauty of the region is in it’s solitude and stunningly beautiful places hidden in the gorges of the Cape Range and in the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. During this un-rushed 8 day journey you will become immersed in this region – both in the sea and on the land. You will help with increasingly important citizen science research and you will enjoy visiting places that most people rarely have the opportunity to see.

Day 1 – Arrival 

Arrive in Exmouth and transfer to your accommodation. Qantas flies into Learmonth Airport each day from Perth arriving mid afternoon. The airport is about 30 minutes drive from the regional town of Exmouth – transfers are included in your tour price. Tonight the group will meet up for dinner and your Wildlife Guide will provide a briefing for the trip.

Accommodation: Potshot Hotel Resort or Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort (7 nights total)
Flight and dinner not included

Days 2 & 3 – Muiron Islands World Heritage Area 

This relatively unexplored group of atolls sit in the Indian Ocean at the entrance to Exmouth Gulf and are surrounded by coral reefs rich with sea life and birds. Over the next 2 days we’ll board our private vessel and motor out into the World Heritage Area to explore the reefs, beaches and hinterland of these remote islands, recording all that we see. If you wish to snorkel or swim we’ll have the equipment and the expertise to assist you to do that. En route we may see our first Humpback whales and dolphins and around the islands we may see turtles, rays, sea snakes and a myriad of colourful fish. Depending on weather and tides we’ll circumnavigate the islands then land and take a walk along the beaches and into the interior. Very little scientific research has been carried out on the Muirons so our citizen science recording will be very important.

Accommodation: same as previous night
Meals: B, L (Dinner is not included)

Day 4 – Swim with (or watch) Humpback Whales – shared experience

On this very special day we will travel by boat through Ningaloo reef out into the ocean to search for migrating Humpback Whales. This is one of the very few places that you can swim with these whales. 40,000 whales pass by or rest in the Exmouth/Ningaloo region so there is a very good chance you will see them. For those of you who wish to swim with these whales you will be fully equipped with snorkeling gear and trained by local divemasters before the swim. Only 7 swimmers at a time are allowed into the water and are accompanied by their guide who oversees any interactions with the whales. Strict proximity restrictions apply so that swimmers (and the boat) remain well clear of any whales encountered on the trip. Swimmers often hear the whales singing and sometimes curious whales approach swimmers and/or the boat. If you prefer not to swim you will see the whales from above the water. This day also includes the opportunity to snorkel over Ningaloo Reef where we may see turtles, sea snakes, rays, dolphins, sharks (safe ones) and thousands of fish sheltering around the coral bommies. Lunch is included on this 7 hour trip. Spotter planes are used to locate the whales and the pilots talk directly to the in-water guide to ensure a great interaction on this exceptional day. As there is a spotter plane there is also a slim chance of seeing a late departing Whale Shark. Once again all sightings are recorded as part of our tour research program

Accommodation: same as previous nights
Meals: B, L (Dinner is not included)

Day 5 – Explore the Cape Range National Park West 

Many people who visit Exmouth and Ningaloo miss out on visiting this incredible National Park with its extraordinary diversity of arid land flora and fauna, limestone gorges and magnificent white sand beaches. The entire park is embedded in the World Heritage Area and consists primarily of limestone with an underlying layer of freshwater which provides water to many plants and animals in this arid park. Today we’ll explore on foot and by vehicle. We’ll visit a secret gorge with our local guide to monitor and record sightings of the rare Black-footed Rock-wallaby as they move about with incredible agility amongst the red rock faces of the gorge. Western Bowerbirds move about in the gorges and we also often see lizards and occasional geckoes. In the early morning Dingoes may be seen finishing hunting expeditions and, as the day warms, Spotted Harriers course low over the saltbush looking for prey along with other birds of prey including Osprey, Wedge-tailed Eagles and various species of falcon. Bustards are reasonably common in the park. On the coast we’ll visit a mangrove bird hide to search for waterbirds and waders and also take a walk along white sand beaches beside coral lagoons searching for sea and land based wildlife. At Yardie Creek Gorge we walk inland into the range high over the water of the gorge. In the past we have been very lucky and spotted shy Spinifex Pigeons on this magnificent walk.

Accommodation: same as previous nights
Meals: B, L Dinner not included

Day 6 – Exmouth Gulf Wildlife Cruise 

Protected from the Indian Ocean by North West Cape and covering over 2,700 km2 of ocean, Exmouth Gulf is one of the most prominent features on the Australian coastline. Its shallow waters protect seagrass meadows that are home and food to Dugongs and a major resting place for female Humpback Whales and their calves on their southward journey to Antarctica. The chance of seeing whales on our journey is very high – it’s not unusual for them to breach and the youngsters can get very excited on seeing a boat. Although Dugongs are resident (and surprisingly numerous) they are not as obvious as whales but if we are diligent we may see them. A wide array of sea life uses these waters including Manta rays and other smaller rays, sea snakes and turtles. Fish species number well over 200 and may be seen. Today we’ll cruise around the Gulf focussing especially on places where Dugongs may be found, stopping regularly to take time to search the water for turtles, sea snakes and Humpback Whales.

Accommodation: same as previous nights
Meals: B, L Dinner not included

Day 7 – Cape Range National Park East 

The eastern side of Cape Range is very different from the west side. Shallow gorges give way to long, deeply incised canyons. Some of the highest points in the Park look out over Exmouth Gulf giving this location a juxtaposition of colour and topography found in very few places on earth. Today on a number of walks and drives we’ll document the fauna and flora of this region. We’ll carefully photograph and list the species we find and try and identify them as we go. We’ll keep an eye out for kangaroos, goannas and Bustards and numerous species of birds including honeyeaters, finches, galahs, corellas, and fairy-wrens that we may find around some of the waterholes deep in the canyons. Primarily this day is about awesome landscapes and the thrill of ridgetop and canyon walks mixed with wildlife spotting.

Accommodation: same as previous nights
Meals: B, L Dinner not included

Day 8 – Transfer day. Optional: flight over Ningaloo and Exmouth Gulf

This morning you can enjoy a relaxing breakfast before checking out of your accommodation and taking our transfer vehicle to Learmonth airport for the flight back to Perth. Optional: Chartered light aircraft flights of various durations are available from Learmonth airport. These flights give you the opportunity to overview the entire region from the air and can be arranged for the morning before you fly out on your scheduled flight in the afternoon. You’ll be able to see all the places you’ve been on your tour and may even see Humpback Whales and other sea life from the air – an extraordinary opportunity and a reasonable price.

Meals: B (Lunch is not included)

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Our guest’s reviews …

Fantastic Experience

If you love wildlife and want to see the animals in their natural environment, this is a must-do if you are in Melbourne. It was one of the highlights of our tour. We are so glad we did it!

funtwotravel December 23, 2019