Tasmania: Enigmatic Wildlife (Birds and Mammals) of Van Diemen's Land
It is no secret that many Australians hold a deep love for Tasmania; the under-populated nature of the island coupled with its jaw dropping landscapes make it an absolute joy to visit. For birders and nature lovers there is yet more on offer. Tasmania is home to a dozen bird species found nowhere else, and also hosts a rich mammalian fauna, including Tasmanian Devil, Platypus, quolls, Common Wombats, and a rare 'white form' of Bennett's Wallaby. Among the standout birds possible on the island include endemics like the rare Forty-spotted Pardalote, the flightless Tasmanian Native-Hen, and rambunctious Yellow Wattlebird, Australia's largest honeyeater. Aside from the endemic birds there are a number of other species for which Tasmania offers some of the best chances in the country, like Morepork, Pink Robin, and Swift Parrot. This tour also allows for a sundowner while Little Penguins waddle ashore, a great experience all of its own.
Other Tour Information:
Length: 8 Days
Starting City: Hobart
Ending City: Launceston
Physical Difficulty: Easy
Focus: Birding, Wildlife, Photography
Max group size: 8 + 1 leader
Day 1: Arrival into Hobart
There is no birding on this day, which starts with a dinnertime meet up to plan for the next day.
Days 2: Bruny Island
Bruny Island is one of Australia’s hidden gems. The rocky coastline, and pristine sandy beaches, surrounding an island packed with plentiful forest, make it a wonderful place to visit. The island is home to all of the endemic bird species on Tasmania, and has some interesting mammals too, including an all-white form of Bennett’s Wallaby and Eastern Quoll, which we will look for at night. Birdwise, the heaths, and wet forests, should yield endemic species like Strong-billed and Black-headed Honeyeaters, as well as Green Rosella, and Dusky Robin. Robins are a prominent feature on the island, and we will also be seeking Scarlet, Pink and Flame robins during our visit. Other birds we will be on the hunt for include Beautiful Firetail and Hooded Plover which breeds on the quiet sandy beaches. We will also be on the look out for blooming eucalyptus trees, which are magnets for the declining Swift Parrot. A single night will be spent on Bruny Island.
Day 3: Bruny Island to Eaglehawk Neck
After a final morning tracking down any endemic birds, whether it be Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Scrubtit, or Tasmanian Scrubwren, we will head back to mainland Tasmania and work our way to the coast at Eaglehawk Neck. We'll see if the blowhole is active on arrival and check into a local hotel. We can also check in on local groups of Cape Barren Goose. We will eat dinner early, and then, for the keen, we can check out a local Little Penguin colony, which may be returning from their daytime travels, and check the local area for owls and mammals, like Southern Brown Bandicoot and Tasmanian Pademelon. The night will be spent in Eaglehawk Neck.
Day 4: Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic
On this day we will head offshore for some birding pelagic, seeking the many seabirds that roam off Tasmania's shores during this season. The rich Southern Oceans are home to a rich variety of seabirds in including Yellow-nosed, White-capped, Buller's and Black-browed albatrosses, as well as the two scarcer giants which require luck to see, Wandering and Southern Royal albatrosses. Australasian Gannet, Wilson's, Grey-backed and White-faced Storm-Petrels, Fairy Prion, Common Diving-Petrel, Great-winged Petrel and Southern Giant Petrel, are all among a very long list of pelagic birds regular in these waters in this season. After a late afternoon return to Eaglehawk Neck, we shall spend another night, with further opportunities for owling or mammal watching after dinner.
Day 5: Eaglehawk Neck to Mount Field
The journey is not long to get to Mount Field, and we could see some birds along the way too, like Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Green Rosella, Crescent Honeyeater, Black Currawong, or Tasmanian Native-Hen. However, we will ensure we get some rest in the afternoon for our later night forays for mammals. We will be on the look out for Eastern Barred Bandicoot, and it will also be our first search for Tasmanian Devils and quolls by night drive.
Day 6: Mount Field to Cradle Mountain
We will spend some time in the morning around Mount Field, searching for birds and mammals, with Common Wombats possible in daytime there. We will then head to Cradle Mountain fo a two night stay, where our activities will be focused around the nocturnal activities of animals, notably the Tasmanian Devil, which we will spend the next two nights looking for.
Day 7: Cradle Mountain
While we will take it easy by day, to ensure we are suitably rested for the nighttime mammal watching, Cradle Mountain has a decent bird list with a good numbers of endemics and other Tasmanian birds, including Pink, Flame, Dusky and Scarlet robins, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Yellow Wattlebird, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Scrubtit, Striated Fieldwren and Satin Flycatcher. At night, we will again search for mammals, like Tasmanian Devil, quolls, wombats, bandicoots and pademelons, as well as Platypus.
Day 8: Cradle Mountain to Launceston for departures
After a lie in and breakfast, we will head to Launceston airport for departures, following an incredible tour filled with Enigmatic Wildlife including endemic bird species, southern specialty birds, and a distinctive set of mammals to show for it all
PACE: Moderate to Intense. The tour focuses on finding the dozen or so endemic bird species of Tasmania, as well as a number of other species that Tasmania is one of the best states for. It also targets mammals, and this requires some nighttime activities too. There will be down time on the latter days of the tour, after most of the birds have been seen, and to rest before the optional night time forays and drives to search for Tasmania's gripping set of mammals. Thus there will be some late nights, and some early mornings, although some of the morning following late nights, on the latter half of the trip will be tailored for rest time, deliberately starting later.
PHYSICAL DIFFICULTY: Easy. Most of the birding and mammal watching will be done from roads and easy trails, with mostly easy walks.
CLIMATE: We will be visiting during the Tasmanian summer with daytime temperatures reaching 19C/66F, but night time temps falling to 10C/50F, with a wind chill during our night time activities making it feel cooler at times. Rain occurs on around one on four days at this time of year, so some rain is to be expected.
ACCOMMODATION: Good throughout, with hot water, Wifi, full time electricity, and en suite facilities at all places.