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Australia 🇦🇺 in January

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Old Wednesday 16th May 2018, 19:13   #1
ScottishBirder
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Australia 🇦🇺 in January

Hey guys I am off down under in January starting in Sydney then Melbourne and then to Cairns and back down to Sydney by car. Any advice on places to see lots of birds whilst being Ona holiday with the wife. All suggestions appreciated.
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Old Thursday 17th May 2018, 15:44   #2
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Hey guys I am off down under in January starting in Sydney then Melbourne and then to Cairns and back down to Sydney by car. Any advice on places to see lots of birds whilst being Ona holiday with the wife. All suggestions appreciated.
How long will you be in Oz?

Its vastness means that you have to balance time spent birding and time spent travelling. I found it useful when simply overnighting somewhere to try to get to your overnight stop with at least two hours' local birding time. If your next leg is about 400km, you can then spend some time from dawn birding before you set off. I know it sounds basic, but many overlook this, given the distances and travelling timetables.
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Old Saturday 19th May 2018, 12:19   #3
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You are covering a fair bit of country there! All by car, or 'just' Cairns to Sydney (which is a bl**dy long way!), or is some of it fly in - fly out?

Cairns is pretty birds but January is bang in the middle of the summer wet season - it will rain often and be very hot and humid. There are good locations around Kuranda, Jullaten, Mount Lewis an easy drive from Cairns.

Melbourne Werribee treatment plant is the best spot to rack up waterbirds and shorebirds but you need someone with a key / permit.

Worth getting hold of the book "Finding Australian Birds" by Rohan Clarke and Tim Dolby, two of Australia's top birders.
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 07:35   #4
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Sorry for delay, I will be there for the whole of January from Melbourne to Cairns. i AM DRIVING THE COAST ROAD SO ANY GOOD SITES NEAR THE COAST ROAD WOULD BE GOOD.
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 07:36   #5
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Thanks will looking that, the drive is long but I'm used to it, last year I drove across USA in four weeks.
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 11:23   #6
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I can only comment from my limited experience around Brisbane, but the Samsonvale area (Gold Scrubs Lane cemetery), Mt Glorious (Maiala car park and trails), Lockyer Valley (the area with lakes between Ipswich and Toowoomba), and even urban sites (Sandy Camp Rd wetlands, Wynnum mangrove boardwalk) were all very birdy and give a good diversity of habitats. A little further south O'Reilley in Lamington NP is a must stay for species like Albert's Lyrebird, Regent Bowerbird, Rufous Scrub-bird, Paradise Riflebird etc.

Excellent info here: https://www.birdsqueensland.org.au/gazetteer-seq.php
And as usual check eBird and BirdingPal (both very good in OZ).

Have a great trip!
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 20:17   #7
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Thanks will looking that, the drive is long but I'm used to it, last year I drove across USA in four weeks.
Check the weather advisory sites, such as http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/curren....summary.shtml. Last year unusually had no cyclones in Queensland in January, but you should plan for contingencies such as heavy rainfall preventing travel on main roads as the floodways fill up - the Australians tend not to build bridges which are easily washed away but use floodways (with depth indicators) instead.
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 20:40   #8
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Sorry for delay, I will be there for the whole of January from Melbourne to Cairns. i AM DRIVING THE COAST ROAD SO ANY GOOD SITES NEAR THE COAST ROAD WOULD BE GOOD.
Unless you have a special wish to drive, it is easier and cheaper to fly - bird the Sydney & Melbourne areas, grab an evening flight to Brisbane (40 euro), bird that area for a period, then another evening flight to Cairns (50 euros). Not only cheaper than the cost of petrol for the 2000 km or whatever, but using evening flights you lose no birding time, whereas the drive means huge numbers of hours just driving.
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Old Sunday 27th May 2018, 22:46   #9
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If you drive along the coastline from Melbourne, it's close enough to 3,700km without allowing for side trips. However, it can be done easily in four weeks and you will have HEAPS of time to look for birds and rest.
As far as fuel is concerned, depending on what car you drive, you can probably get away with between AUD500-1000. My Nissan Patrol would take somewhere between 4 and 5 tank fulls to do the trip from Melbourne to Cairns with the standard two tanks, at around AUD190.00 per fill. But it's a beast. I am sure most visiting tourists will pick a much smaller vehicle....

If you decide to fly internally, be VERY VERY careful with CHEAP airfares. I would most definitely stay away from Jetstar (crapstar) and Tiger. You get what you pay for - or in this case, don't pay for. Stick with Qantas or Virgin.
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Old Monday 28th May 2018, 15:18   #10
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I'd recommend staying at Cassowary House Kuranda when in Cairns as you'll get a lot of good birds there (including Cassowary) and be able to get a lot of good gen from Phil Gregory (if he's there) or, if not, his wife Sue.
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Old Saturday 2nd June 2018, 04:45   #11
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Thanks that is very helpful
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Old Saturday 2nd June 2018, 04:46   #12
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Thanks and I love long drives, I did my home to Spain and back in five weeks staying around Spain birding and clicked up 6200 miles
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Old Monday 4th June 2018, 07:15   #13
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As has been pointed out January is Cyclone season in FNQ and even if no storms there can be a lot of rain and disruption to roads is frequent. If you are on Facebook I would strongly recommend that you search for and join the many groups that provide up to date road info as otherwise you may find your self cut off / isolated in a location that you do not want to be - we were cut off for a few days this March and unable to get to Cairns via any route. As to birding heaps of excellent paces up here, in addition to Cassowary House that has already been mentioned I would recommend Kingfisher Park at Julaten - great location with superb hosts. Am happy to give you any up to date info I get closer to the time. Enjoy your trip
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Old Monday 4th June 2018, 07:20   #14
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I agree with Jos that there will be long periods of time spent driving where as evening internal flights cut this down and not only save time and fuel costs but also potentially a huge car hire fee as so many of the major hire companies charge an exhorbitant one way fee (ie you may not be picking up from and dropping off to the same location) which can run in to hundreds of dollars over a long hire period such as a month. Birdman is correct that internal carriers can be dodgy at times but have to say I have had far more issues using Virgin on internal flights than Jetstar - would never fly Virgin internally again if I'm honest
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 18:09   #15
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It's been almost 20 years, but when I lived in Townsville I loved heading up to Paluma National Park. It's a great little patch of rainforest with Victoria' Riflebird, Golden Bowerbird, Spotted Catbird, Chowchilla, Noisy Pitta and plenty of other rainforest endemics.
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Old Monday 11th June 2018, 22:19   #16
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I have had far more issues using Virgin on internal flights than Jetstar - would never fly Virgin internally again if I'm honest
That's interesting; good to know. I fly Qantas (my choice) or Crapstar (if my work pays the airfares).
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Old Tuesday 12th June 2018, 03:04   #17
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Birdman is correct that internal carriers can be dodgy at times but have to say I have had far more issues using Virgin on internal flights than Jetstar - would never fly Virgin internally again if I'm honest
That's funny, my experience is the exact opposite so I now only fly Virgin Australia unless there is no option!
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Old Thursday 14th June 2018, 10:04   #18
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Thanks for advice
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Old Thursday 14th June 2018, 10:07   #19
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that place sounds great, i will check that out
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