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Understanding Australian Wildlife Tour, Southeast Queensland - 3 Days

Understanding Australian Wildlife Tour, Southeast Queensland

Australian Wildlife Tour in Southeast Queensland

This 3-day Australian wildlife tour not only shows you some of Australia's most famous animals and others not so well-known, it includes a kind of fun-to-learn mini-course on Australia's wildlife that enhances knowledge and deepens understanding Australia's wildlife and ecosystems as a whole, with special attention to those of southeast Queensland. This makes it ideal as a first experience of Australia, putting into context all the wildlife and wild places that may be seen in subsequent travels round the country. It can also tie a lot of information and sightings together at the end of a traveller's wanderings around Australia, or just provide a memorable three days of wildlife encounters if time is too short to visit the rest of the country. 

Wildlife seen on tour in the wild include kangaroos (always, and they can usually be approached quite closely for excellent photos if everyone is quiet), wallabies (always), koalas (almost always, but also in captivity), possums (often), gliders (occasionally), bandicoots (occasionally), echidna (occasionally) platypus (often, but also in captivity), fruitbats (almost always), dolphins (very often), humpback whales (occasionally in distance in winter) kookaburra (always), rosellas (always), lyrebirds (occasionally), bowerbirds (almost always), many other forest birds, many waterbirds, eagles (often), carpet pythons (occasionally), freshwater turtles (very often in summer), lace monitors (often, but also in captivity),  other lizards and snakes,  frogs (often in summer), eels (occasionally), various marine invertebrates washed up on shore, many butterflies and other terrestrial invertebrates. Guides also introduce guests to native plants that are important to wildlife, and some of which have their own intriguing adaptations.   

A couple of well-run wildlife parks are also visited for a close-up view of koalas, gliders  and platypus, as well as some outback species such as bilbies, hopping mice and emus, and northern species such as tree-kangaroos, cassowaries and crocodiles.

The tour visits mountain rainforests, eucalyptus forests (the typical "Aussie bushland"), tea-tree wetlands, mangroves, sandy beaches and rocky headlands. As well as the wildlife, we view some wonderful scenery with great photo opportunities,  see plants and landforms important to Indigenous Australians, and enjoy hearty and tasty meals, many with locally-grown produce. The accommodation is clean, comfortable and friendly, with wildlife living just outside.

Take-home printed material is provided, and guests can request either one free paperback copy of Ronda's book "Understanding Australia's Wildlife" to be given during the tour or a free pdf of same to be sent prior to the visit.

Alternative Tour Name: Australian Wildlife Overview Tour
Day 1
Day 1 - Down south for koalas, kangaroos, birds and a possibility of platypus

Leaving the city, we head straight to the eucalypt forests (typical 'Aussie bushland') of the Daisy Hill State Forest near the edge of Greater Brisbane. Here you are introduced to some of the important families of bushland plants and what they mean to wildlife, and see local bushbirds, arboreal and terrestrial termite mounds, and - if we are in luck - wild koalas or wallabies.

We then enter the Koala Information Centre for a close-up look at captive koalas in a walk-through enclosure (no touching), a native beehive and very informative displays on koala ecology, behaviour and conservation issues.

Waterbirds are generally abundant at our next stop, the Eagleby Wetlands (ducks, swamphens, swans, egrets, often kingfishers, grebes, stilts, spoonbills, herons, occasionally glossy ibis, magpie goose, black-necked stork, avocet) we head on for lunch in Beaudesert.

On the way to Kooralbyn (an Aboriginal name for a local snake) we talk about a couple of local Aboriginal legends involving wildlife. We check into what will be your accommodation for the next two nights at the Kooralbyn Valley Resort (each room has an ensuite bathroom and a balcony), give you a chance to freshen up and have a cuppa, then head out looking for wild kangaroos, wallabies and waterbirds: some excellent photo opportunities here, as the kangaroos and wallabies don't seem to mind us quietly driving quite close to them. Sometimes there are also a few thousand fruit bats hanging from the trees by the river.

On to the Araucaria property to visit the Scenic Rim Wildlife Ecology Centre (a walk through 500million years of history of Australia in general and the Scenic Rim in particular, habitats of Australia, wildlife of the Scenic Rim etc.), and sit and wait by the creek just before dusk in the hope of seeing wild platypus (and often seeing turtles, catfish, cuckoodoves, honeyeaters, kingfishers and other wildlife). The platypus are more predictable in the latter half of the year, when they are breeding and don't stray far from their nests, but they are around throughout the year.

Now we return to the vehicle looking for possums, owls and other nocturnal wildlife on our way back to Kooralbyn for dinner and bedtime. Some of the places we seek nocturnal animals form part of a citizen science project to ascertain the effectiveness of a wildlife corridors project

Day 2
Day 2 - Rainforests and a fruitbat colony

Rise early if you wish to do some birdwatching in the forests at Cougal Park or birding and platypus-spotting along the creek next to the campground. After breakfast we head to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat at Lamington National Park, where we spend the morning exploring the World Heritage rainforests and seeking bowerbirds, whipbirds and many other forest birds. Pademelons (small wallabies) often make an appearance in the forest or the neghbouring campground. In warmer months me may also see carpet pythons, land mullets and other reptiles.

After lunch we visit a flying fox (fruitbat) colony, regarded as a major breeding ground for the grey-headed flying fox, whose numbers have been decreasing, and often also harbouring black flying foxes and little red flying foxes.

Then it's on to Binna Burra, on the eastern edge of Lamington National Park, nestled between raiforest and tall eucalypt forest. Campers will settle into permanent Safari tents, and others into comfortable log cabins before a short walk through the rainforest, again seeking birds and other wildlife.

After dinner we conduct a brief search for nocturnal animals before bed.

Day 3
Day 3 - To the coast and a wildlife park

You may like to spend a bit of time birdwatching in the rainforest or eucalypt forest near the lodge before breakfast.

After breakfast we take a walk through both rainforest and eucalypt forest, occasionally seeing koalas in the eucalypt section, as well as goannas, land mullets and other reptiles.

We then drive to Fingal, where we walk through coastal banksia woodland, to a natural sandy beach with pounding surf, which we follow to the basalt cliffs, the easternmost flows of ancient lava. From the cliff-tops we often see dolphins and sometimes turtles and stingrays. We usually see terns, and sometimes gannets, ospreys or sea eagles. We also view basalt columns similar to (but smaller than) the Giant's Causeway of Ireland, and feature g in Aboriginal legend as a giant echidna.

The Wildlife Park we now visit was started by the zoologist David Fleay in the 1950'2. David was the first to ever breed the platypus in captivity, and one of the last people to interact with a living thylacine. He was successful in breeding many rare species and when in his 80's he handed his precious property over to National Parks for a low sum, and they continued to breed rare and endangered species for many years but are now concentrating more on wildlife interpretation. Here we see various rare mammal species, and it is also an opportunity to see northern species such as cassowaries and both Australian species of crocodile. It is one of the few places we can watch the platypus swimming under water, using its rubbery bill to seek electrical vibrations from its prey. Non-captive animals that bring themselves in from the surrounding bush and make the park their home, including eastern water dragons, nankeen night herons and magpie geese.

Our last stop is at Coombabah in the northern part of the Gold Coast, where we walk through eucaylpt forest and tea-tree wetlands, seeing many kangaroos, birds and more often than not a wild koala or two.

Remember it is possible from May to September to make this a 4-day tour by Starting on Tuesday instead of Wednesday and adding a half-day of whale-watching.

Wildlife species expected to see:

eastern great kangaroo, whiptail and red-necked (and sometimes swamp) wallabies, red-necked and red-legged pademelons, koala, possums, platypus, brush turkey, spoonbills, herons, egrets,  ibis, stilts, dotterels, rails, gallinules, cormorants, darters, pelican, black swans, various ducks, grebes, raptors, cockatoos and parrots, kookaburra, other kingfishers, dollar bird in summer, bowerbirds (regent and satin in spring, satin also most of the rest of the year), paradise riflebird, logrunner, honeyeaters, fairy wrens, scrubwrens, “robins”, finches etc. and if rally lucky a lyrebird, lace monitor, carpet python, dragons, turtles,frogs, butterflies, golden orb

What is included?

  • All travel and guiding
  • Morning tea, lunch and dinner 1st day
  • All meals 2nd day
  • Breakfast, morning tea and lunch 3rd day
  • Some snacks, water to refill drink bottles
  • Booklet on Australia's wildlife

What is not included?

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Tips
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 1  reviews
  1. You must book.
    Susan Smith01 Jun 2018







    We booked 2 days with Araucaria and enjoyed it so much we managed to extend to 4 days. This mother and son team have an intimate knowledge of their area. Which meant we saw almost everything we wanted to. Although it has to be remembered it is wildlife and unpredictable. In the 4 days we photographed 70 species of birds and saw many more, birds being mostly secretive we could photo all. in their natural environment. We also saw many animals including Koalas in the wild and swamp wallaby's. The locations were stunning and I wish I could share some of my photos. We were well looked after, I use a crutch and we are both retired but the pace was very well managed. Far superior to our previous tours with other operators, in Cairns that were rushed. I don't think you could beat Araucaria for value or content. I just wish we could leave a higher score. If ever we return to Australia the whole holiday will be booked with this special team.

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Why book with Araucaria Ecotours?

The birdwatching day-trip has been designed and usually led by a zoologist (Ronda) with several decades experience of research on bird ecology and behaviour in southeast Queensland and elsewhere in Australia. Our other main guide is Ronda’s son Darren, a keen amateur naturalist who has been exploring our forests for a lifetime and very knowledgable. While designed to maximise the number of species seen in a variety of habitats (from wetlands to rainforest) the focus is on birds as part of the ecosystem and how their behaviour reflects this, not on dashing from one bird to the next or finding obscure species for life-lists. Many of our guests do add substantially to their lifelists as well: it’s just not our major focus. We happily cater for novice birdwatchers, bird photographers and for general nature enthusiasts for whom birds are just part of the delight and fascination with wild areas. Although some of our guests request tours with no children (which we respect), we do encourage families on other days, and also lead child-focussed tours with various games included to help children (and their parents!) learn about our birds). We understand that not all bird-lovers are physically fit, and can easily adjust our tours to include as little walking as possible while still seeing many birds. We abide by environmental standards, which includes not only waste reduction, fuel efficiency etc. but also minimising our impact on the birds and other wildlife we find. Since our own research is on-going and we also add information to other databases, guests are very welcome to engage in a bit of citizen science along the way. Special interests can be catered for with advance notice. We have attended food safety courses and are even more strict than usual in hygiene since Covid-19, adopting social distancing, applying disinfectants to bus seats and handles between tours and always travel with hand sanitiser.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

3 Days

Price & Availability

AUD1,980 / per person
Single Supplement AUD 165
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Guide
Refer to Group Discount Terms
This tour is operated by: Araucaria Ecotours
4.96 based on 4 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.96 Based on 4 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Daisy Hill State Forest, Eagleby Wetlands, Kooralbyn, Running Creek, Laminhgton National Park, Kooralbyn, David Fleay Wildlife Park, Coombabah
  • On Request
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • 3 days 2 nights, can extend to 4d3n
  • March to May, August to November
  • 1 (surcharge) to 10
  • Leisurely
  • Brisbane
  • Brisbane