Welcome to my tours page. I offer guided bird watching tours across Melbourne, Victoria and South-Eastern Australia, lasting from half a day to ten days or longer. All levels of experience are catered for.

For every tour I take into account the widely varying conditions that occur here in Australia as well as catering to individual interests. We will also be on the lookout for animals, reptiles, butterflies, and interesting plant life as we go.  

You can expect transport in a comfortable vehicle, pick up and drop off throughout the Melbourne area, the use of a Swarovski ATX95 telescope ( spare binoculars available), local knowledge gained after 25 years of exploring this region, field guides and printed checklists, a full bird list emailed to you after the day is completed, hot and cold drinks and snacks.  


GROUP TOURS - VICTORIAN MEGATOUR 2019

21st to 30th November 2019 - Ten days touring the best birding sites across Victoria. Past tours have recorded between 260 and 280 species. Minimum 4 maximum 8 persons. Itinerary available here for download. 


SINGLE DAY PRIVATE TOURS

Tour 1. Werribee’s Western Treatment Plant (Half day)

Birdwatching Melbourne Werribee

The WTP near Werribee is a vast area comprising grasslands, freshwater and saline wetlands, conservation areas and the coastal habitats of Port Phillip bay. A full morning or afternoon is enough time to see a wide variety of species at this internationally recognized RAMSAR site. Half day tours generally record 75 to 85 species, some of which may be present in the tens of thousands. Effort will be focused on the most productive sections of this vast area, taking tides into account, as well as targeting rarer species and local specialties. Cost $250 for 1-2 people, plus $50 for each extra person


Tour 2. Woodlands and Werribee tour (one day)

On this tour we shall spend the morning exploring a selection of the diverse woodlands found a short distance to the west of Melbourne. Depending on conditions this may include Woodlands Historic Park (a River Red Gum dominated woodland), Eynesbury Grey Box Forest, the You Yangs Regional Park (Yellow Gum, Red Gum and Wattle), Serendip Sanctuary (regrowth forest and wetlands) and/or the Brisbane Ranges National Park (mixed forest including Stringybarks, Ironbarks, Gums and Box trees).

Birdwatching Melbourne Woodlands

A wide range of bushland birds are found in this area representing most Victorian bird families and with a diversity of Honeyeaters, Robins, Cuckoos, Thornbills, Parrots, Lorikeets and more, plus a few scarcer and/or cryptic species such as Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Crested Shrike-tit, Speckled Warbler, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Scarlet Robin, Diamond Firetail and Spotted Quail-thrush to look for. The morning’s birding will set us up for a big day list with a visit to the Western Treatment Plant in the afternoon where waterbirds, grassland birds and raptors are abundant. A day exploring at least four habitat types in a relatively small area.

Birdwatching Melbourne Swans

Cost $440 for 1-2 people, plus $100 for each extra person, includes drinks and snacks, lunch not included.


Tour 3. Surf Coast and Werribee (one day)

This tour takes us right down to the Surf Coast in the morning for a taste of birding in the scenic Anglesea and Aireys Inlet area at the very start of the Great Ocean road. We will explore at least five different habitats in an action packed day including ocean beaches and headlands, coastal heathlands and coastal woodlands of Ironbark and Stringybark. 

Birdwatching MelbourneSurf Coast

We will look for the endangered Hooded Plover and some seabirds may be visible from shore depending on the weather such as Gannets, Shearwaters and the Shy Albatross.

The woodland and heathland areas hugging the coastline here are home to a wide range of birds including some localised specialties such as Blue-winged Parrot, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Southern Emu-wren, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren and Rufous Bristlebird. Other birds observed in the area during tours include Lewin’s Rail, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Dusky Woodswallow, Striated Fieldwren, Scarlet Robin, Satin Flycatcher (summer), Beautiful Firetail (rare), Singing Honeyeater, Grey Currawong, Crescent Honeyeater, Black-faced Cormorant, Grey Goshawk (rare), and lots more.

Rufous Bristlebird

 

Once again the morning’s birding will set us up for a bumper day with Werribee's Western Treatment Plant to visit in the afternoon.

Birdwatching Melbourne Werribee

Cost $440 for 1-2 people, plus $100 for each extra person, includes drinks and snacks, lunch not included


Tour 4. Surf Coast and the Otways (one day)

This tour begins, as with Tour no.3, along the Victorian Surf Coast exploring scenic ocean beaches and headlands, coastal heathlands and coastal woodlands. 

Birdwatching Melbourne Otways

Spending more time here gives us a greater chance of connecting with more of the elusive heathland birds such as Southern Emu-wren, Rufous Bristlebird, Blue-winged Parrot, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Striated Fieldwren and Beautiful Firetail. In spring the area is well known for its wildflowers.  Some time spent looking seaward is likely to reward us with views of Shy Albatross, and other seabirds in season.

Blue-winged Parrot

During the afternoon, driving further along the scenic Great Ocean Road into the taller, denser forest of the Otway Ranges near Lorne, Wye Riverand beyond we will enter a beautiful forest of towering Gums and giant Tree Ferns, similar to those found east of Melbourne in the Great Dividing Range, delivering us yet another suite of potential bird species, such as Satin Bowerbird, Australian King Parrot, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Olive Whistler, Crescent Honeyeater, Bassian Thrush, Pink Robin, Forest Raven and seasonally other wet forest species such as Rose Robin, Rufous Fantail and Satin Flycatcher in season.

Birdwatching Melbourne Gang Gang

Time spent this far west also gives us a high chance of seeing Koala which can be looked for if needed.

This is a full day spent in some of southern Victoria's most beautiful and diverse ecosystems. The day concludes with a drive of around 1 hr and 40 minutes back to Melbourne. Cost $440 for 1-2 people, plus $100 for each extra person, includes drinks and snacks, lunch not included


Tour 5. Dandenong Ranges National Park and Werribee’s Western Treatment Plant (one day)

East of Melbourne in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range are towering forests of Mountain Ash, the world’s tallest hardwood tree. These stunningly beautiful forests are home to one of Australia’s most remarkable birds, the Superb Lyrebird. 

Birdwatching Melbourne Lyrebird

A morning spent here is usually enough time to find this species, and it’s song is also often heard. Seeing its full display requires some luck with mid winter (June July) the peak time for song and display. A nice range of other wet forest birds live in the Dandenong Ranges including Rose Robin, Rufous Fantail, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Australian King Parrot, Red-browed and White-throated Treecreeper, Eastern Whipbird, Crescent Honeyeater, Lewins Honeyeater, Brown Gerygone, Large-billed Scrubwren, Striated Thornbill and Crested Shrike-tit amongst a range of other possibilities.

Driving through the leafy Melbourne suburbs on the way may produce a variety of Parrots such as Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets, Long-billed and Little Corellas and perhaps a roosting Tawny Frogmouth.

The freeway past Melbourne’s CBD allow us to easily drive through to the west and spend the afternoon at Werribee’s Western Treatment Plant where the birding pace will rise to another level with easy viewing in the wetlands and open country.

Birdwatching Melbourne Dandenong Ranges

Cost $440 for 1-2 people, plus $100 for each extra person, includes drinks and snacks, lunch not included


Tour 6. Great Dividing Range (one day,  Oct to March only)

Birdwatching Melbourne Great Dividing Range

Exploring the hills and mountains east of Melbourne deserves a full day especially in the warmer months of summer when breeding migrants add to the resident birds. Driving through the suburbs various wetlands and riverine woodlands can be visited and will add to the day list. They hold a wide range of birds with many Parrot species, plus the chance of roosting Tawny Frogmouths and Powerful Owls. Other handy pick ups can include Lathams Snipe, Spotless Crake, Buff-banded Rail, Australasian Darter and Bell Miner.

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Further out in the Yarra Ranges National Park, Toolangi state forest and Bunyip State Park, vast tracts of forest await us. A range of species reach the limit of their range here and are not found further west including Superb Lyrebird, Pilotbird, Lewins Honeyeater, Large-billed Scrubwren, Black-faced Monarch, Eastern Whipbird and Brown Gerygone. Other wet forest specialities also here include Olive Whistler, Rose and Pink Robins, Satin Flycatcher, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Brush Cuckoo, Cicadabird, Rufous Fantail, Satin Bowerbird, White-throated Needletail (Dec to Mar), Bassian Thrush and Red-browed Treecreeper.

Rose Robin

Rose Robin

This stunningly beautiful countryside may not produce the longest species list for one day, however there are a many sought after south-east Australian endemics to be found. Cost $440 for 1-2 people, plus $100 for each extra person, includes drinks and snacks, lunch not included


Tour 7. Central Victoria – The Box-Ironbark country (one day)

With freeways heading north from Melbourne it is possible to visit the inland slopes of the Great Dividing Range in a day. North of the divide, rainfall is lower, and the days are sunnier with habitats opening out allowing for easier birding.

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A different suite of species occur here in the “box-ironbark” country to what is found in southern Victoria. A wide range of Honeyeaters occur, taking advantage of year around nectar supplies including the three classic box ironbark species (Yellow-tufted, Fuscous and Black-chinned). Diamond Firetail, Southern Whiteface, Red-capped and Hooded Robins, and Gilberts Whistler all occur on the granite outcrops in the region, and pockets of mallee country support Shy Heathwren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Inland Thornbill and yet more Honeyeaters (Purple-gaped, White-fronted, Yellow-plumed and Tawny-crowned). In early spring cuckoos abound with the scarce Black-eared Cuckoo a possibility. In summer Rainbow Bee-eaters and flocks of various Woodswallows arrive to breed.

Birdwatching Melbourne Central Victoria

And in winter the birding is just as good with many southern birds calling this home for the winter and nectar producing trees attracting four species of Lorikeet and the endangered Swift Parrot. Amongst a wide range of other species, past tours have located Crested Bellbird, Square-tailed Kite, Spotted Quail-thrush, Painted Honeyeater, Powerful Owl, Crested Shrike-tit, Restless Flycatcher and Southern Scrub-robin. Quality birding, any time of the year, on the sunny side of the ranges touring quiet rural areas

Birdwatching Melbourne Victoria

Cost $440 for 1-2 people, plus $100 for each extra person, includes drinks and snacks, lunch not included


Extended Multi-DAY PrIVATE Tours

These tours start and finish in Melbourne, and include all meals and accomodation in the price. As well as seeing the sites and birdlife accessible in a day from Melbourne, taking a few days allows us to reach much much more, targeting many rare species and seeing wild landscapes. Staying out in the country regions means getting a taste of Australian country living, more time with the wildlife, plus opportunities for spotlighting adventures.

  1. MAXIMUM BIRD TOURS (3-10 days)

Do you have a few days and want to experience the greatest variety of birds, habitats and wildlife as you can, or do you have a target list of species? Well the Maximum Bird Tour is the one for you. For 15 years now I have successfully designed these tours to maximize sightings given the number of days available, without excessive driving or rushing from bird to bird. These trips are designed for birders who want to spend quality time with the birds, but equally are prepared to travel and keen to see as much variety as possible.

Simply ask for a Maximum Bird Tour and tell me how many days you wish to travel for and let me do the rest.

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For example, 3 days allows us to combine visits to the mountain forests east of Melbourne, the Box-Ironbark woodlands of central Victoria and the plains and wetlands west of Melbourne including Werribee’s WTP. Two nights staying outside of Melbourne allows us more birding time without city traffic, plus a chance for some spotlighting after dark.

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A five day trip for example, could see us exploring the lush forest east of Melbourne, travelling further inland including north-east and north-central Victoria and still with time to see the Surf Coast and Werribee’s WTP before returning to Melbourne. A 200 + species bird list is likely on this trip.

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8 to 10 days allows us to do a more complete loop around the state, taking in the full range of Victoria’s important birding regions and iconic birds. Have you only got 6 days, well lucky you, still lots of time to get an in depth taste of what Victoria has to offer. If you want to spend the full ten days, consider the set group tour dates detailed at the top of this page as a cost effective option.

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3 Day Maximum Bird Tour: $1,275 per person (minimum two people, $2,550 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation.

4 Day Maximum Bird Tour: $1,750 per person (minimum two people, $3,500 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation.

5 Day Maximum Bird Tour: $2,225 per person (minimum two people, $4,450 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation

6 Day Maximum Bird Tour: $2,700 per person (minimum two people, $5,400 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation

7 Day Maximum Bird Tour: $3,175 per person (minimum two people, $6,350 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation

8 Day Maximum Bird Tour: $3,650 per person (minimum two people, $7,300 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation


2. Mallee ADVENTURE - North-West Victoria (4-5 days )

Imagine touring through “empty” country, with enormous National Parks and wilderness areas. What’s more the birds here include some of Australia’s most stunningly beautiful. The far north-western corner of Victoria has the state’s lowest rainfall and sunniest and warmest climate. Highly adapted mallee, cypress pine and casuarina woodlands and riverine floodplains support a range of birds found nowhere else in Victoria. A taste of Australia’s outback arid lands.

Birdwatching Melbourne Blue Wren

A diverse range of Parrots include the colourful Mulga Parrot, the rare and beautiful Regent Parrot and the extraordinary Pink Cockatoo amongst others. As well as the mallee species found further south in central Victoria, this region provides a home to some rare and highly adapted specialities such as the Malleefowl (the world’s only arid zone megapode), the endangered Mallee Emu-wren (Victoria’s only endemic bird), Striated Grasswren, Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush and Red-lored Whistler, all species high on many people’s wanted list.

Birdwatching Melbourne Mallee

It is also the best region in Victoria to see Emu, Striped Honeyeater, Apostlebird, Spotted Nightjar, Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Southern Scrub-robin, Rufous Fieldwren, Black-faced Woodswallow, Black Honeyeater, Orange and Crimson Chat (in season), Crested Bellbird and White-fronted Honeyeater. To cap it off all four Victorian species of Fairy-wren occur, the Splendid, Variegated, White-winged and Superb. Quality birds in a pristine environment, with time for targeted birding at hotspots in central Victoria on the drive there and back again.

Birdwatching Melbourne Victoria

4 Day Mallee Adventure: $1,750 per person (minimum two people, $3,500 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation.

5 Day Mallee Adventure $2,225 per person (minimum two people, $4,450 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation


3. FAR EAST Gippsland ADVENTURE (4-5 days)

Birdwatching Melbourne Gippsland

The Far East Gippsland region of Victoria retains 80 percent or more of its natural vegetation cover and the wildlife is diverse and wonderful. Vast tracts of country, with endless bush tracks to explore in a quiet and natural environment, and of course plenty of exciting birds to look for. The climate is maritime and quite sheltered from extremes, with rainfall occurring throughout the year. Habitats include pockets of warm temperate rainforest, large areas of wet and dry eucalypt forests, coastal heathlands, banksia woodlands, plus ocean beaches, estuaries and wetlands. All the birds mentioned in the Great Dividing Range tour above are present including the Superb Lyrebird and the Pilotbird, but travelling further east gives us the opportunity for a range of extra species such as Wonga Pigeon, White-headed Pigeon, Top-knot Pigeon, Figbird, Eastern Koel, Scarlet Honeyeater, Spotted Quail-thrush, Turquoise Parrot, Glossy Black Cockatoo, Satin Bowerbird, Southern Emu-wren, Beautiful Firetail and Eastern Ground Parrot. 

Birdwatching Melbourne East Gippsland

We will have the chance to spend multiple nights spotlighting in Victoria’s diversity hotspot for mammals and nightbirds. Our three large Owls all reside here, Sooty, Masked and Powerful while White-throated Nightjars are present in summer plus a decent range of nocturnal mammals mean a night out is sure to be interesting.

Birdwatching Melbourne Owl

Along the coast and adjacent wetlands there are sites for the rare Hooded Plover, various migratory shorebirds including Latham’s Snipe, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Freckled Duck and Pacific Gull. The sheltered waterways of the Mallacoota inlet are a haven for Azure Kingfishers and Sea-Eagles, and there is always the chance of a Victorian rarity or two with species such as Black Bittern, Striated Heron, Brown Cuckoo-dove and White-cheeked Honeyeater all recorded occasionally. Out at sea, especially if the wind is onshore, a seawatch can be well worthwhile with a variety of Albatross, Shearwaters, Terns and Skuas possible.  

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4 Day Gippsland Adventure: $1,750 per person (minimum two people, $3,500 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation.

5 Day Gippsland Adventure $2,225 per person (minimum two people, $4,450 if solo). Includes all meals and accomodation


shared tour options

I sometimes receive requests to join with others on tours and below is a list of requests to share a trip, and thus share the costs. Send me en email if you'd like to go on one of these options as a shared tour

Currently no shared tour options / Jan 2019