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Australian Wildlife Overview Tour


Click here for a detailed itinerary

The emphasis of this tour is enhancing your understanding of Australia's wildlife - its uniqueness, ecology, behaviour, evolutionary relationships & comparisons with other world regions - as well as seeking examples in a variety of habitats - the kind of tour we'd really appreciate when traveling to new places.


lace monitor (goanna)

little red flying fox

Silver gull on Dreamtime Beach

              wildlife book

Wildlife book given to each
guest to use along the way
and take home at the end
of the tour (if traveling light,
ask us in advance and we 
can prepare a USB stick
instead for you to take home)

humopback whale

Add an extra day for whale-
watching, snorkeling,
horse-riding, Aboriginal
culture, overnight on Coochiemudlo Island
or other interests
(plenty of advance notice needed for booking)

  • Tour usually runs Wednesday to Friday
  • Add an extra day (Tues-Friday) between 1st June and  31st October, for a whale-watching tour. We can also  - with sufficient notice -  include Aboriginal culture, horse-riding or snorkeling at any time of year
  • Get close to wild kangaroos, wallabies and rainforest birds for some great photos
  •  See reptiles and frogs in warm months
  • See koalas (not guaranteed in wild) , platypus (not guaranteed, even in captivity), kookaburras and other iconic Australian animals as well as others you may never have heard of.  If lucky, spot a lyrebird in the forest, watch a bowerbird decorating his bower, see dolphins riding the waves ... many other possibilities.
  • Spotlight for possums, owls, frogs and other nocturnal creatures
  • This is not a tour focused on birding life-lists (nor for that matter are our birdwatching day-tours - it's more about understanding bird ecology, behaviour and evolutionary relationships), but we do see a good variety of birds in severalhabitats.
  • Explore rainforest, eucalypt forest, wetlands, quiet beaches and other  habitats seeking birds, reptiles, butterflies and other wildlife and absorbing the atmosphere of the ecosystems they are part of
  • Visit a wildlife park to see various endangered animals (bilbies, nail-tail wallabies ...) and northern species (crocodiles, tree kangaroos ,  cassowaries ...) as well as some birds that bring themselves in from the wild for a free meal (magpie geese, night-herons ...)
  • Deepen your understanding of what makes Australia so different to other world regions, through your take-home book or CD on Australia's wildlife groups, our Wildlife Ecology Centre and commentary and discussions throughout our tour
  • Comfortable accommodation, delicious and hearty meals

Tour departs 9.00am Wednesday (BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL!)
or Tuesday if whale-watching orother optional activity is included, from Brisbane Transit Centre or your city or south-side accommodation (other by arrangement with sufficient advance notice: may incur extra cost)
, arriving back around 6.00-7.00pm on Friday.

We can, for an additional $55 per group, pick up from the airport, but it is better to arrive in Brisbane at least the night before and get a good sleep. Our itinerary is designed to give you the best chance of seeing a variety of wildlife, and it is a pity if you are so tired by mid-day after an international flight that you miss out on seeing the  animals we won't see on the other two days.

Click here for Prices of our tours (in Australian dollars)

NOTE: We cannot guarantee any particular species on any particular day, but there are some  species we would be very surprised to miss out on, and we always see a variety.

OUR REGION: South-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales is one of Australia's "hotspots" of biodiversity, harbouring the third highest diversity of species in Australia, of our most famous species  such as kangaroos, koalas, platypus, wedge-tailed eagle, lyrebird, bowerbirds, laughing kookaburra, carpet python and goanna. It is also has wonderful scenery, many different habitat types, and a good climate throughout the year. We seek many animals in the wild and also introduce you to some rare and threatened species in a wildlife park dedicated to conservation breeding.

Accommodation:  choose from a beautiful secluded bed-and-breakfast, or a 'primitive' campground (all camping gear provided).

Note:  we will probably be discontinuing the camping option next year.

4-day option:

Standard 3-day wildlife overview tour

                        Hill State ForestDaisy Hill Koala Centre koala at Daisy Hillred-necked wallabyDAY ONE of the wildlife tour

We leave the city and head straight to the eucalypt forests (typical 'Aussie bushland') of the Daisy Hill State Forest. Here you are introduced to some of the important families of bushland plants and what they mean to wildlife, as well as some of the local birds, arboreal and terrestrial termite mounds,  and - if we are in luck - koalas. 
In the winter months, and sometimes in warmer parts of the year, we also see wallabies still out grazing on the grassy stretches (they will soon stretch out to sleep during the day under the shelter of the forest.
After a cuppa under the gumtrees (during which you will be given your Australian wildlife book) we will enter the Koala Information Centre for a close-up look at captive koalas in a walk-through enclosure (no touching), a native beehive and  interpretive displays.

                      WetlandsWe'll then look for waterbirds at the Eagleby Wetlands (ducks, swamphens, black swans, egrets, pelicans, often kingfishers, grebes, stilts, spoonbills, herons, occasionally glossy ibis, magpie goose, black-necked stork, red-necked avocet, pink-eared duck or others)  before heading on for a tasty and filling lunch.

Kangaroos, wallabies and waterbirds are the focus of our next search, in Kooralbyn (an Aboriginal name for a local snake). No matter if it's raining - the kangaroos don't seem to mind much and we can usually get closer to them and to the red-necked and whip-tail wallabies anyway by staying in the vehicle and quietly cruising nearer (some excellent photo opportunities here). If we do leave the vehicle we either watch them from afar, or gradually approach by walking not directly towards them but as though we're going straight past, and backing off if they show any signs of nervousness.

photographing kangaroos walking past roos Kooralbyn
  eastern grey kangaroo and joey  jacana whiptail

platypusOn to the Araucaria property to visit the Scenic Rim Wildlife Ecology Centre, have a cup of tea/coffee and sit and wait by the creek just before dusk in the hope of seeing wild platypus.  While waiting, we often see 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: they are around throughout the year, but we have far less luck finding them January to June.
If you are camping you will now help to erect the tent that will be your home for the next two nights.

bobuckspotlighting Now we head off  to the forests looking for possums, owls and other nocturnal wildlife.  Some nights we don't see much at all, other times we see and hear quite a vaiety, with possibilities including red-necked wallaby, red-necked pademelon, koala, common brushtail possum, mountain brushtail possum, greater glider, squirrel glider, sugar glider, fruitbats, barn owl, boobook owl, sooty owl, tawny frog-mouth, owlet nightjar, carpet python, various frogs (on warm wet evenings) and king cricket (Australia's largest - and carnivorous - cricket). Guests staying at the Bed and Breakfast can then settle into their rooms at Cougal Park and enjoy a delicious home-cooked dinner Campers also join in for dinner here if there are B&B guests on the tour: otherwise we  head to Rathdowney Hotel, a typical Aussie pub, for a hearty country meal. Click here for more details on your accommodation/camping.

Note:  we will probably be discontinuing the camping option next year. It could still be available at times for people on a restricted budget (the main reason for this option originally) if they are prepared to erect the tents themselves and not expect luxury


                        at Andrew Drynan Reserve

DAY TWO of the wildlife tour

                        track in forest, Lamiington National ParkRise 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, regearded as a major breeding ground for the grey-headed flying fox, whose numbers havebeendecreasing, 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.

We occasionally, on request, head back to the flying fox camp before dusk to watch them take to the skies in search of flowers and fruits, enjoy dinner in Canungra then return to Binna Burra for a brief search for nocturnal animals before bed.

NOTE:  the devastating fire that tragically destroyed the wonderful Binna Burra Lodge and cabins (including everything in the three photos below the animals) has of course made it impossible for us to use this venue. 

We are  currently staying at either O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat (also adjacent to Lamington National Park) or for some small groups Wagon Wheels,  in the attractive small town of  Canungra (an easy walk to watch the fight of hundreds of fruitbats at dusk). We were relieved to find that most of the rainforest near Binna Burra is ok, and Nigel the satin bowerbird, who had his bower by one of the cabins, survived and is re-building. The campground and luxury units are also ok but the road was badly damaged and not likely to open before April.

I've written a personal account of my own memories of Binna Burra here, and advice for helping wildlife after fire here.

Regent Bowerbird           Crimson rosella

red-necked pademelon
                                                          barred frog                       
                          Binna Burra Binna
                          Burra breakfast Binna Burra

DAY THREE of the wildlife tour (but see below for our 4-day option)

Yviewing wild koalaou 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 to the Kweebani Caves, a wind-eroded overhang of relatively soft volcanic rock that the local Yugambeh Aboriginals used for shelter and cooking. We occasionally see koalas on this route, and sometimes 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 the Giant's Causeway of Ireland.

                        beach at Fingal

Fingal Heads

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 have continued to breed rare and endangered species to ultimately be returned to the wild, which some of them, such as the Proserpine rock-wallaby  now have been.  Here we see animals you will not see in captivity anywhere else in the world, such as the mahogany glider, the Julia Creek Dunnart and Lumholtz tree kangaroo, 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 vibrations and electrical impulses from its prey. There are also animals that bring themselves in from the surrounding bush and make the park  their home, from eastern water dragons to nankeen night herons and magpie geese.

                        at David Fleay Wildlife Park mahogany glider cassowary at David Felay
                        Wildlife Park brolgas courting 
  croc0dile_in_water eastern
                        water dragon nankeen
                        night heron

Hundreds of thousands of large and noisy fruitbats ('flying foxes') have usually begun to get very restless with the approaching dusk by the time we arrive at their colony in an outer Brisbane suburb. We watch as more and more summon up their courage (no one seems to want to be first in case it is still light enough for an eagle to be watching) and finally they all head off for a night of foraging on fruit and nectar.

Note: occasiobnally the colony goes "AWOL", camping elsewhere if something interesting is flowering or fruiting in abundance, but we usually still see them in the daytime on Day 2.

                        red flying fox flight of the fruitbats

Then it's time for farewells at your accommodation or transport (remember to take your new wildlife booklet with you).

Like a 4-day tour with whale-watching, Aboriginal culture, horse-riding or other options?

Extra day, extra wildlife

whale divingIf booking far enough in advance, we can start on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, and add in a fourth day which includes one or more of the following:
  • snorkeling (often seeing turtles underwater and dolphins near the boat)
  • whale-watching with Spirit of the Gold Coast (June - November, as the humpback whales migrate to and from Antarctica)
  • a visit to an Aboriginal museum, run by Aboriginals, and perhaps a guided or self-guided walk learning abut their culture
  • horse-riding in the mountains
  • Coochiemudlo Island (as in our day tour, but with a night on the island)

Spirit of
                                  the Gold Coast

If you have communicated your interests at least a month in advance (preferably longer) and no one has booked a standard tour for the week, we can organise for the tour that week to run from Tuesday to Friday. and include the options of your choice.

Possibilities during whale-watching season this year (2019) include:

   July 23-26, Aug 6-9, Sep 3-6 or 10-13, Oct 22-25

Other possibilities for a 4-day tour this year:
   Nov 19-22, Dec 10-13

Contact us on <platypuscorner at bigpond dot com> to inquire


                                                          waterbirdsWith small group sizes (usual maximum is ten), this is not a hurried herding of tourists on and off buses, into souvenir shops, etc. Our emphasis is on spending time in a variety of scenic natural habitats at the times of day that maximise our chances of seeing native mammals, birds, reptiles and other wildlife.You will have ample opportunity to tell us your interests, and although we can't fulfil every wish (for instance, when seeking wild animals , we can't guarantee  particular species, and we can't ask them to change their daily schedules to fit with conventional human mealtimes) we will try to make your days as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. You can let us know any time you want to stop for photos or anything else of interest, and ask as many questions as you like - if we don't know the answers we will suggest ways of finding out.

We uphold the ideals of ecotourism: environmentally sound, quality information, nature-based and supporting local communities. All our tours  have achieved advanced eco-accreditation

We are members of Ecotourism Australia, Wildlife Tourism Australia (Ronda is vice-chair), Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (Ronda is  chair of the Scenic Rim group), Scenic Rim Escapes, and Brisbane Marketing