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Secrets of the Southern Ocean

Suggested months: March, April, May, September, October, November.

The mighty Southern Ocean has shaped dramatic coastlines across the southern part of the continent for thousands of years, with this journey revealing beautiful landscapes combined with outstanding wildlife viewing.

Starting off at Phillip Island, travellers will encounter a massive colony of playful Australian Fur Seals, with pups very active at this time. The region is also a sanctuary for numerous seabirds including terns, cormorants, gannets, gulls and the Little Penguin. The Great Ocean Road is one of the world's most dramatic coastlines, with the combination of sea cliffs, coastal heathlands, rainforest and grassy plains perfect to see a mix of kangaroos, wallabies, Emus, parrots, seabirds and raptor birds.

Tasmania is a haven for many kinds of marsupials including the Platypus, Common Wombat, Short-beaked Echidna, Eastern & Spotted Quoll, bandicoot, Long-nosed Potoroo, Tasmanian Pademelon and the iconic Tasmanian Devil. The Eyre Peninsula is Australia's ultimate temperate aquatic playground, offering the unique opportunity to swim with Australian Sea-lions, cage dive with the Great White Shark and spot numerous waterbirds, seabirds, koalas and kangaroos.

Eyre Peninsula Phillip Island Tasmania You Yangs & Great Ocean Road
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Type: Shared

Duration: 2 hours

Logistics: Fly into Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) and take a 1 hour 30 minute drive or private transfer to Cowes. Alternatively, take the Metro Train on Frankston line to Stony Point, then Inter Island ferry across the bay to Cowes.

Seal Watching Cruise

Spectacular close up encounters with Australia’s largest population of Australian Fur Seals is promised on this scenic coastal boat tour. Venturing to the aptly named Seal Rocks, visitors will drift amongst 7000+ seals. Seals are present all year round, from young pups to adult bulls, with the crew providing insights into the fascinating social displays of these agile and playful creatures. The spectacular coastline along the northern and western shores of Phillip Island, provide abundant viewing opportunities for dolphins, Little Penguins and a vast array of seabirds.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn: Mar-May - Birds

Short-tailed Shearwaters feed up before their epic northern migration, Shy Albatross chicks fledge mostly in April, Crested Terns, Pied & Black-faced Cormorants, Australasian Gannets, Little Penguins feeding close to shore, White-bellied Sea Eagles and Wedge-tailed Eagles.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Birds

Approximately one million Short-Tailed Shearwaters return to Phillip Island from Alaska, very active Crested Tern rookery, White-bellied Sea Eagles and Wedge-tailed Eagles building large nests along the cliffs.

Autumn: Mar-May - Marine Mammals

Australian Fur Seal pups very playful, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Small pods of up to 10 Bottlenose Dolphins forage for squid and fish.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Marine Mammals

Male bull Australian Fur Seals territorial fighting, Common & Bottlenose Dolphin abundant, Humpback Whales with mothers and calves seen can be seen at the beginning of spring.

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Type: Groups,Private Charter,Shared

Duration: 3 days/2 nights

Logistics: Overnight in Melbourne.

Great Ocean Road

This small group three day journey covers some of the most rugged and awe-inspiring coastline in Australia. Visits to the Serendip and You Yangs National Parks, the Great Ocean Road, Great Otway National Park, the Twelve Apostles, the Shipwreck Coast and volcanoes and lakes of the Western Plains provide dramatic backdrops whilst spotting wild animals including Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Koalas, Echidnas, Emus, Rosellas, Robins, Honeyeaters, raptor birds and various seabirds.

Guests will have the opportunity to walk beside the waves of the mighty Southern Ocean on pristine sands, experience an unforgettable sunset over brilliantly-coloured limestone cliffs and walk through dense rainforests of lush tree ferns. Led by expert guides, visitors will often be able to track and spot the Red-necked Wallaby and adorable Potoroo.

Seasonal highlights

Spring: Sep-Nov - Birds

Tawny Frogmouths roosting, Short-tailed Shearwater migration, Honeyeaters abundant including Red and Little Wattlebirds, Eastern Spinebills, New Holland, Yellow-faced, Tawny-crowned and White-plumed Honeyaters, Black-chinned, White-naped , Spiny Cheeked, Yellow-tufted, Fuscous and Singing Honeyeaters possible, Rainbow, Musk and Purple-crowned Lorikeets.

Autumn: Mar-May - Land Mammals & Marsupials

Eastern Grey Kangaroo joeys discover the world outside, learn to hop, play and graze, Swamp Wallabies, Red-necked Wallabies, Koalas, Common Brushtail Possums at dusk and early evening.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Land Mammals & Marsupials

Baby Koalas (joeys) come out of the pouch for the first time and will ride on their mother’s back late Spring, Common Brushtail and Common Ringtail Possums at dusk, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies, Red-necked Wallabies.

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Type: Groups,Private Charter,Shared

Duration: 8 days/7 nights

Logistics: Take a 1 hour 15 minute flight from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) to Hobart Airport (HBA).

8 Day Tasmania Wildlife Encounter

Over one-third of the ‘island’ state is reserved as a conservation area and this epic adventure traverses through some of the most scenic parts, including the World Heritage Listed Cradle Mountain, Rocky Cape, Narawntapu, and Freycinet National Parks. A mix of expansive ancient temperate rainforests, spectacular coastlines, rugged mountains and sparkling highland lakes provide refuge and habitat for a rich array of rare and endemic plants and animals.

Tasmania is a delight for Marsupial lovers, with opportunities to spot Pademelons, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Common Wombats, Tasmanian Bettongs, Long-nosed Potoroos, Quolls and of course the carnivorous Tasmanian Devil. A wide variety of songbirds, bushbirds, shorebirds and seabirds, including the Little Penguin are also highlights. Guests will be captivated by a cruise on the final day around Bruny Island, spotting Dolphins, Australian Fur Seals and seabirds along the towering 200m dolerite cliffs.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn: Mar-May - Birds

Summer migrants arrive including Welcome Swallows, Tree Martins, Dusky Woodswallows, Striated Pardalotes, Grey Fantails and Swift Parrots. Short-tailed Shearwaters leave the Tasmanian coast on their migration along with other migratory waders such as, Ruddy Turnstones, Red-necked Stints, Common Greenshanks and Eastern Curlews. Beautiful Firetails and Green Rosellas a highlight.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Birds

Fan-tailed, Pallid and Shining Bronze Cuckoos migrate to breed along with Welcome Swallows, Tree Martins, Dusky Woodswallows, Striated Pardalotes, Grey Fantails and Silvereyes and Swift Parrots, 18 million Short-tailed Shearwaters arrive. Little Penguins breed along with Red-capped Plovers, Hooded Dotterels, Pied & Sooty Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Masked & Banded Lapwings and a variety of Gulls and Terns.

Autumn: Mar-May - Land Mammals & Marsupials

Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Tasmanian Pademelons, Tasmanian Bettongs and Long-nosed Potoroos have joeys that are weaned off at this time. Tasmanian Devils breed in March, Common Wombats, Short-beaked Echidnas.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Land Mammals & Marsupials

Spring is the peak season for seeing a number of Tasmania’s baby marsupials including Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Tasmanian Pademelons, Common Brushtail and Ringtail Possums. Long-nosed Potoroos, Tasmanian Bettongs and Tasmanian Devils also sighted.

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Type: Private Charter

Duration: 4 days/4 nights

Logistics: Take a 1 hour 20 minute flight from Hobart Airport (HBA) to Melbourne Tullamarine (MEL), then connect to a 1 hour 20 minute flight to Adelaide Airport (ADL), folowed by a 50 minute flight to Port Lincoln Airport (PLO).

Port Lincoln Wildlife Encounters

This four day adventures combines the best terrestrial and marine protected areas across the region including Lincoln National Park, Coffin Bay National Park, Neptune Islands Conservation Park and Mount Dutton Bay Conservation Park. Being one of the only places to swim with wild Sea-Lions, visitors will be mesmerised by the agility, curiosity and playful interaction from these ‘puppy dogs of the sea’.  

On shore, there is an abundance of seabirds, shorebirds, songbirds, parrots (including the beautiful Port Lincoln Parrot) and raptors including Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagles, with Western Grey Kangaroos, Emus, Koalas and Rosenberg’s Goannas a delight for visitors.

For an adrenaline rush, guests  will venture out to the Neptune Islands to try and observe the Great White Shark via a cage or 360 degree underwater viewing pod, using a bait and berley free approach to witness the ocean’s most formidable predator.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn: Mar-May - Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Great White Shark numbers escalate in April to the Neptune Islands area, with very large mature females preying upon Long-nosed Fur Seal pups.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Male Great White Sharks around the Neptune Islands. Water visibility reaches its peak around September and October, whilst late November is the start of the Long-nosed Fur Seal pupping season. 

Autumn: Mar-May - Birds

Osprey and White Bellied Sea-Eagles, Black-shouldered Kites, Swamp Harriers, Purple-Gaped Honeyeaters, Striated Pardalotes, Spiney-Cheeked Honeyeaters, Dusky Woodswallows, Western Yellow Robins, Blue-breasted Fairy-wrens, and White-Browed Scrubwrens, Port Lincoln (Australian Ringneck) Parrots, Black-Faced Cuckoo-shrikes, Australian Magpies, Red Wattlebirds and Golden Whistlers.

Spring: Sep-Nov - Birds

White-bellied Sea Eagles and Osprey nesting and fledging, Striated Pardalotes, Western Yellow Robins, Golden Whistlers, Superb Blue Wrens, White-Browed Babblers, Red Wattlebirds, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes, New Holland Honeyeaters, Brown-Headed Honey Eaters along with Port Lincoln and Rock Parrots, Eastern Reef Egrets, Australiasian Shovelers, Cape Barren Geese.

 

Autumn: Mar-May - Marine Mammals

Australian Sea-lion juveniles bound towards visiting boats waiting for snorkelers to join them, Long-nosed Fur Seal pups play around the Neptune Islands with Great White Sharks arriving to prey upon unsuspecting newborns.

 

Spring: Sep-Nov - Marine Mammals

Male bull Long-nosed Fur Seals claim their territory with fierce territorial battles in anticipation of the breeding season, Bottle-nosed Dolphins are common encounters across the bays and coves of Coffin Bay and Port Lincoln National Parks.

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