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This 15-day tour to South Australia visits a diversity of wildlife-rich habitats where we hope to see over 200 species of birds.

Bird species includes Cape Barren goose, little penguin, freckled duck and three species of cockatoo. We will also look out for many fascinating endemic mammals, including short-beaked echidna, southern hairy-nosed wombat, koala and kangaroo. 

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Fly to Adelaide

  2. Day 2: Arrive in Adelaide and overnight

    On arrival in Adelaide, transfer to our accommodation for an overnight stay. 

    Accommodation: Adelaide, 1-night

  3. Day 3: Samphire Coast

    An early start this morning for a full day of birding excursions. We follow the Samphire Coast north, an area home to thousands of migratory shore birds, and the enigmatic banded stilt. 

    We visit Arid Lands Botanical Gardens, which contain a magnificent collection of indigenous plants, shrubs and flowers adapted to the semi-arid landscape. There are always flowering plants here no matter the time of year, which attract a wide variety of birds such as white-winged fairy-wren, chirruping wedgebill and up to eight species of honeyeater.

    After a productive day familiarising ourselves with the birds of the region, we drive to the town of Kimba on the eastern edge of the Eyre Peninsula.

    Accommodation: Kimba, 1-night

  4. Day 4: Eyre Peninsula

    Today, we explore Lake Gilles Conservation Park, which consists of a mixture of ‘mallee’ eucalyptus scrub, open woodland and salt lakes, and is home to Australia’s eastern-most populations of western yellow robin and rufous treecreeper.

    After lunch we continue along the coastal road to Port Lincoln, keeping an eye out for waders on the way.

    Accommodation: Port Lincoln, 2-nights

  5. Day 5: Eyre Peninsula

    We’ll spend the day exploring the wilderness surrounding Port Lincoln’s charming Lincoln and Coffin Bay National Parks where will go in search of western whipbird. These birds are notoriously difficult to see, yet relatively easy to hear. Other species we hope to see include southern scrub-robin, blue-breasted fairy-wren, rock parrot, western yellow robin, brush bronzewing, purple-gaped honeyeater and shy heath-wren.

    Dolphins and seals are often spotted offshore, and we may also spot southern right whales, which migrate to the Eyre Peninsula from June to October.

  6. Day 6: Eyre Peninsula

    Today, we have the opportunity to return to the National Park to look for and photograph the whipbirds. We then travel to the Flinders Ranges, home to three species of macropod: red kangaroo, western grey kangaroo and euro (wallaroo) and many emus.

    Accommodation: Wilpena Pound, 2-nights

  7. Day 7: Flinders Ranges National Park

    We have a full day to explore the Flinders Ranges – South Australia’s largest mountain range, and one of the region’s two ‘National Landscapes’ – famous for dramatic rock formations, national parks, aboriginal rock art, wildlife and flora. 

    After lunch, we continue deeper into the ranges along gum-tree lined stream beds, which are inhabited by elegant parrot and grey-fronted honeyeater.

  8. Day 8: Wetlands and Uplands of Murray River

    This morning, we enjoy the stunning surrounds of the Flinders Ranges for the last time, checking nearby rocky outcrops for southern scrub-robin, grey-fronted honeyeater, before heading south through the historic, copper-mining town of Burra, and nearby plains looking for blue bonnet, redthroat, brown and rufous songlark, black-eared cuckoo and Australian pipit.

    Today, we encounter Australia’s greatest river; the Murray. Lined with spectacular cliffs, the broad floodplains of the Murray River are home to wetlands teeming with waterbirds, while the upland supports populations of the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat. We’ll also visit a breeding colony of the Regent parrot, and check a wetland for waterbirds including crakes, rails and freckled duck.

    Accommodation: Morgan, 1-night

  9. Day 9: Gluepot Reserve

    We leave early this morning and head to Gluepot Reserve, which is home to no less than six endangered species. We visit the reserve’s bird hides to look for mulga parrot, and Gluepot’s 10 species of honeyeater.

    In the afternoon we travel to Mannum, where we will have access to a unique property sitting on the banks of the Murray River. After dinner, we will go spotlighting in the Australian bush where we hope to see the nocturnal southern hairy-nosed wombat, and birds such as tawny frogmouth, southern boobook and barn owl.

    Accommodation: Mannum, 1-night

  10. Day 10: Coorong Wetlands

    After an early breakfast, we visit a local wetland reserve which is known for its abundance of waterfowl. Highlights include the rare blue-billed duck and musk duck,and we may also see numerous species of raptor here.

    Late morning, we drive to Goolwa which is located at the estuary of the Murray River. The estuary contains a huge freshwater lake, separated from a 100-kilometre long coastal lagoon by a number of 300-metre high sand dunes, known as the Coorong Wetlands. This area provides a wide range of habitats for a diversity of birdlife, and boasts an impressive number of water and shorebirds. We explore this fascinating region on a boat cruise, making various landings to explore the area.

    Later in the day, we travel through the Mount Lofty Ranges to the scenic coastal town of Victor Harbour, our base for the night. On arrival, we will look for little penguin nest holes, visit the conservation centre, and afterwards, join a spotlighting tour for little penguins, who return after sunset having spent the day fishing out at sea.

    Accommodation: Victor Harbour, 1-night

  11. Days 11-12 : Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island

    After breakfast we travel down the scenic Fleurieu Peninsula to the Kangaroo Island ferry. Once we land on the island, we spend two days visiting the best wildlife sites, and enjoying the oceanfront views from our hotel.

    First, we head to Flinders Chase National Park which covers the entire west of the island and is home to Cape Barren goose - a birding highlight of the region. Flinders is also known for having an abundance of koala and western grey kangaroo, and we will also look out for the solitary short-beaked echidna as it forages for termites and ants.

    At the island's most south-westerly point – Cape du Couedic, we can watch a colony of New Zealand fur seals. This area is a great place to spot tammar wallabies, which are now extinct on the South Australia mainland.

    On one of our days on the island, we'll spend time searching for the endangered Kangaroo Island subspecies of the glossy black cockatoo, as biologists and local landholders have recently been increasing the breeding opportunities for this fascinating species. The coast here also has a protected area for Australian sealions, and along the shoreline, we may also see cormorants and hooded dotterels (plovers). Our two night stay on the island will be spent within close proximity of the ocean, and we will keep an eye out for dolphins passing by. In the evening, we’ll go spotlighting to watch little (fairy) penguins arrive ashore, after a day spent fishing in the ocean.

    Accommodation: Kingscote, 2-nights

  12. Day 13: Adelaide Hills

    oday, we take the ferry back to the mainland and continue birding through the scenic Adelaide Hills. The hills are carpeted with tall, dense eucalypt forests which provide a habitat for many species which are not seen elsewhere in the state. Our charming drive through the hills leads us to a small wetland where Baillon’s, Australian spotted and spotless crake are often seen. 

    We will also make a stop at the Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens where eastern brown bandicoot may be seen, as well as a variety of colourful parrots including the Adelaide rosella and many species of honeyeater. We then return to Adelaide for our final dinner at the hotel

    Accommodation: Adelaide, 1-night

  13. Day 14: Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, fly to the UK

    After breakfast, we leave our luggage at the hotel and visit the newly established Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary. Here, there are thousands of resident and migratory shorebirds and waders, as well as many marsh and swamp species.

    In the afternoon, you will be dropped back at the airport in time for your return flight home.

  14. Day 15: Arrive UK

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 15 days from £4,745 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 13 days from £3,645 pp
  • Single supplement: From £645
  • Departures:
  • Included in the price/package:
    • 12 nights accommodations in hotels/guesthouses
    • All meals
    • Transfers
    • Guided activities
    • Services of naturalist guide
  • Activities available:
    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trip
    • Walking

Expert leader

Peter Waanders

Photo of Peter Waanders

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Peter has been an avid birdwatcher since the age of ten.

He obtained a degree in Environmental Management and has worked in National Park management planning in the Czech Republic, ecological research in the Netherlands and Australia, and natural resource management planning and environmental project management in Australia. He has travelled extensively to over 40 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and the Pacific in pursuit of his main interest of birdwatching, and his life list of bird species currently totals 3,000. In 1996, Peter moved permanently to Australia and was employed to manage large environmental projects with a focus on floodplains, wetlands and biodiversity. Peter started conducting professional bird guiding trips in 2002 and now spends his time showing visitors the rare and hard-to-find species of southern Australia.

Featured locations:

Adelaide

The gateway to one of Australia’s finest wine regions, Adelaide boasts colonial buildings, lively markets, art galleries and an array of festivals. Just a short drive away you can find beautiful beaches and the Adelaide Hills, home to some of Australia’s best known national parks.

  • Where: South Australia
  • Excellent for: City stopover

Eyre Peninsula

With over 2,000 kilometres of coastline, pristine Eyre Peninsula offers the opportunity for close encounters with a rich variety of wildlife, on land and in the sea. Explore Gawler Ranges and Lincoln National Parks to see rare endemics in their own environment, and swim with sea lions and dolphins.

  • Where: South Australia
  • Ideal for viewing: southern right whale, Australian sealion, koala, yellow-footed rock wallaby, red kangaroo

Flinders Ranges

Flinders Ranges is South Australia’s largest mountain range and one of the region’s two ‘National Landscapes’ – famous for dramatic rock formations, national parks, aboriginal rock art, wildlife which includes yellow-footed rock wallabies, and flora specially adapted to the semi-arid environment.

  • Where: South Australia
  • Ideal for viewing: yellow-footed rock wallaby, wedge-tailed eagle, Lake Eyre dragon, emu, common wallaroo

Coorong National Park

Stretching more than 130 kilometres, Coorong National Park forms a wetland of international importance, where saltwater lagoons, sheltered by the sand dunes of the Younghusband peninsula, provide a sanctuary for bird species including the Australian pelican, Eurasian coot and Cape Barren goose.

  • Where: South Australia
  • Ideal for viewing: Cape Barren goose, emu, fairy tern, Australian pelican, red-necked avocet
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Kangaroo Island

Surrounded by the Southern Ocean, Kangaroo Island is a haven for Australia’s endemic wildlife – more than 60 percent of the island comprises national parks and reserves. Here is nature at its best; amongst sheltered beaches, rugged cliffs and bushland, kangaroo, koala, birds and sealions abound.

  • Where: Southwestern Australia
  • Ideal for viewing: tammar wallaby, Australian sealion, short-beaked echidna, glossy black cockatoo, Kangaroo Island kangaroo
  • Excellent for: Penguin watching, Birdwatching

Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary

This is one of Australia’s newest and most important nature reserves. The Dry Creek Salt Fields in the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary support 25,000 waterbirds including the vulnerable curlew sandpiper. This pristine coastline is a must for any bird-lovers passing through the city of Adelaide.

  • Where: South Australia
  • Ideal for viewing: Pacific golden plover, curlew sandpiper, sharp-tailed sandpiper, red-necked stint, lesser knot
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Birdwatching

Murray River

The Murray River is one of Australia’s most important inland waterways. Its floodplains are teeming with native and migrant birdlife as well as a striking variety of land mammals. This giant river meanders between vast red-gum forests and lofty mountain gorges, offering a variety of habitats.

  • Where: South Australia
  • Ideal for viewing: platypus, Australian pelican, eastern grey kangaroo, Australian white ibis, regent parrot
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, River safaris, Birdwatching