Wildlife Journey

Koala research & ghost net removal in East Gippsland

Wildlife Journey

4 days helping wild animals in East Gippsland.

Help start a wild koala research project in East Gippsland, remove ghost nets from remove beaches, and conduct bushfire-recovery wildlife surveys in the biodiverse forests of East Gippsland: southeast Australia’s coastal wilderness.

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Help set up a wild koala research project on an island refuge, conduct bushfire-recovery bird and wildlife surveys on the fringes of burnt areas, walk in (unburnt) rainforest listening for lyrebirds, watch sea-eagles soar and Hooded Plovers patter along untouched ocean beaches and find huge goannas, butterflies and dragonflies, and orchids beside secluded rivers and waterways on a wildlife conservation experience in south-eastern Australia.

Travel with an experienced naturalist Wildlife Guide who will show you where to look for wild wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, parrots, cockatoos, black swans and many other exciting Australian animals.

Help conserve and protect the wildlife and beautiful places you see on this Australian wildlife safari. Spend a little time on a glorious beach removing fishing nets (ghost nets) to prevent marine entanglements of fish, birds and sea mammals.

Share this remote area with your Wildlife Guide, but very few other people.  Each night return to the comforts of an owner-operated lodge.

At the end of the journey all participants will receive a certificate of thanks for helping wildlife conservation, 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.

 

WILDLIFE JOURNEY PRICES

ADULT  (Twin/Double rooming)

 

$2050

PRICE VALID TO:

 

31/3/2022

If you are not travelling with another person with whom you can share a room: add $360  (note: as this is a small group tour, unfortunately we cannot usually find room-share partners for single travellers)

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

DETAILS

Location: East of the city of Melbourne in south-east Australia. Visit Snowy River, The Lakes and Croajingolong national parks, Cape Conran and Lake Tyers Forest Park.

Duration: 4 Days    Full Itinerary here

Grade/Difficulty: easy

Group Size – Maximum 8 adults Minimum 2 adults

Departs: from Melbourne Mondays* from September to May.  All tours are on request with a minimum of 2 adults and subject to availability. (Note: no tours run on or through Christmas or Boxing Days, or New Years Day December 25 or 26 or January 1)

*Note: Departure day for this tour has recently changed from Sunday to Monday. During the transition, availability on some external sites will still show Sunday departures.

Returns: to Melbourne. Book now

Or book a Private Tour just for your party – Enquire here.
The private Wildlife Journey tour will be customised just for you – please contact us with your group size & interests.

 

 

East Gippsland Wildlife

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 wildlife safari tour in south-eastern Australia 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 usually only see snakes and spiders when  we are looking for them and when conditions are perfect.  There is no need to fear.   Your Guide will be as interested in them as in all wildlife, and will look out for them and ensure you see them at a respectful and safe distance.

Several of Australia’s 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.

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.

See the blog entries below for recent trip checklists. 

Older checklists

 

 

Conservation component

Just by being there, you are helping wildlife – your Wildlife Guide records all species seen and uploads this data to online atlasses for wildlife conservation purposes.

In addition on this wildlife safari 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. In fact we’ve removed so much that we are rapidly running out of ghost net on the headland, and if we can’t find any we will do a beach clean-up instead.  Read about our progress here. 

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.

Wildlife conservation fishing net removal

 

 

What to bring on your wildlife journey

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.

Drinking Water: Tap water is completely safe and drinkable and available at the B&B on this tour, and a large fresh 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.

 

 

INCLUSIONS

Wildlife Journey includes: Full interpretation by an experienced Wildlife Guide, all transport, meals and accommodation as described below and entry fees.

Duration: 4 day vehicle-based wildlife safari. Departs and Returns to Melbourne, Australia accommodation.

Notes: Wildlife and natural history notes will be provided to guests at beginning of this tour

Expert Wildlife Guides: Echidna Walkabout’s Wildlife Safari 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: 3 nights 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.

 

BOOK YOUR TOUR BELOW

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Itinerary

East Gippsland is famous for it’s forest and coast wildlife, particularly big mammals like kangaroos, koalas and wombats, a huge diversity of birds and reptiles. Sadly, areas of East Gippsland were burnt in the Black Summer of 2019-2020, but many forests were spared.  This conservation experience is a great way to see bushfire recovery, and help the animals bounce back. Departures and returns are from Melbourne.

Monday – Melbourne to East Gippsland

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 are helping to set up a wild koala research project on the island.  Data we collect will be collated by the new koala conservation group on the island – including tree species preference, behaviour, identification of individuals and evidence of koalas drinking stemflow.  We take walks through the forest spotting koalas in the wild.  We may also see Echidnas, Swamp Wallabies and Eastern Grey Kangaroos and many colourful parrots, honeyeaters and seabirds which you can help record for conservation purposes.

Read about the ground-breaking University of Sydney study into koalas drinking stemflow – the majority of this data, and film/photographs, was collected by us in the You Yangs. 

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.

Tuesday – 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.

Wednesday – Explore secluded river estuary on the Wilderness Coast

First we walk into a large lowland (warm temperate) rainforest in search of birds including Topknot Pigeons, Superb Lyrebirds, Brown Gerygones, Black-faced Monarchs and Platypus and Swamp Wallabies (this area was not burnt). Then we walk through a heathland and along a forest-lined river – this area abuts a burnt area, so wildlife surveys here are particularly important. 

We search for White-bellied Sea Eagles, Hooded Plovers, Gang-gang cockatoos, Turquoise Parrots, Azure Kingfishers and Jacky Lizards. We visit a quiet beach with a complex dune system and frequently see beach and ocean-going birds, and Australian Fur-seals.

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 or rubbish – 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 Red-necked Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Bare-nosed (Common) Wombats. (B,L,D included). Accommodation: Snowy River Homestead, Orbost, or similar.

Thursday – Mouth of the Snowy River & Krowathunkoolong

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.

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Our guest’s Wildlife Journey reviews …

Wildlife Journey: great 4 days

Great 4 days exploring and watching wildlife. Beautiful parks, forests, beaches. Tons of wildlife each day. B&B lovely with great hosts. Brett guide knowledgeable, flexible, fun. Food great. Time passed too quickly. Worth every penny. Picnic dinner watching sunset at beach incredible. Learned tremendous amount about animals and history of land.

Dexmorris, North Carolina USA October 4, 2017