Australia's Top End awaits! Around 200 species of birds call Australia's Top End home, including range-restricted species like Hooded Parrot, Rainbow Pitta, Banded Fruit Dove, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, and White-quilled and Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon. Sought-after mammals include Short-eared and Wilkin’s Rock-wallaby, Antilopine and Black Wallaroo, Black Flying-fox, and Dingo.
Spend time enjoying Kakadu’s vast wetlands; see Gouldian Finch and Yellow Chat. Visit the Kimberly, including spending time at Lake Argyle. Witness spectacular scenery, indigenous rock art, and amazing boab trees.
This Australia birding tour explores some of the country's most iconic areas, including Kakadu and the Kimberley. Join us for on our next journey across Australia’s Top End!
This Australia nature tour is designed to pair with our Cape York tour.
- Get birding right from the start in Darwin—Rose-crowned Fruit Dove, Rainbow Pitta, and more await!
- Spotlight for nightbirds including Barking Owl and Tawny Frogmouth
- See Aboriginal rock art in Kakadu
- Look for the rainbow-like Gouldian Finch—wow!
- Watch for Freshwater Crocodile in the Victoria River
- Cruise Lake Argyle for plentiful waterbirds in the fabled Kimberley area
Day 1: Darwin & Surrounds
The tour starts in Darwin this morning. Darwin is surrounded by a fantastic diversity of habitat types that we spend the day exploring for a range of interesting birds and mammals. Mangrove and monsoon forests are especially rich, hosting an impressive range of birds including the elusive Chestnut Rail, Orange-footed Scrub-fowl, Rose-crowned Fruit Dove, the striking Rainbow Pitta, Forest Kingfisher, Red-headed Myzomela (Honeyeater), Mangrove Robin, Green Oriole, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Green-backed Gerygone, Spangled Drongo, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Great Bowerbird, Pheasant Coucal, Pied and Silver-backed Butcherbird, and Red-collared Lorikeet. Little Red Flying-fox and Agile Wallaby are possible mammal highlights.
Accommodations in Darwin (L,D)
Day 2: Darwin to South Alligator (Kakadu)
This morning we start the day with a visit to Fogg Dam. This well-known site is an excellent area for waterbirds including Magpie Goose, Green Pygmy-Goose, Pied Heron, Glossy Ibis, the stately Brolga, White-browed Crake and the quirky Comb-crested Jacana. En route to Kakadu we enjoy a stop at the Adelaide River crossing for lunch where we may see Mangrove Golden Whistler and a variety of flycatchers like Shining, Restless, and Broad-billed Flycatchers. On arrival in Kakadu we take a short walk to a local lagoon to enjoy sunset. After dinner, if time permits, we may do some spotlighting for nocturnal species such as Barking Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Large-tailed Nightjar, and Australian Owlet-nightjar.
Accommodations in South Alligator (B,L,D)
Day 3: South Alligator to Cooinda (Kakadu)
This morning we make a stop at the impressive Mamukala Wetlands where, if conditions are right, we can enjoy thousands of birds of many species. Plumed and Wandering Whistling Ducks, Radjah Shelduck, Black-necked Stork, Magpie Goose, and Green Pygmy-Goose are possible highlights. After this there is an option to visit Ubirr, a site of rock outcrops in Kakadu that is home to some impressive aboriginal rock art. The art depicts creation ancestors and animals of the area, including several fish and turtle species, wallabies, and possums. In the late afternoon, Short-eared Rock Wallaby may be seen emerging from their shelters. Species we may enjoy at several other short stops today include Sandstone Shrike-Thrush, Chestnut Quilled Rock Pigeon, Partridge Pigeon (red eyed form), and Rufous-throated Honeyeater.
In the afternoon we enjoy a cruise on the Yellow Waters Billabong, Kakadu’s best-known wetland. This impressive wetland of channels, swamps, and floodplains is a delight to explore and is home to crocodiles a-plenty and a variety of waterbirds including Nankeen Night-heron, Black-necked Stork, Little Kingfisher, White-bellied Sea-eagle and Purple Swamphen. The stately Great-billed Heron and Black Bittern may also be seen as might the rare Black Falcon. In the early evening we check in to our accommodations.
Accommodations in Cooinda (B,L,D)
Day 4: Cooinda to Pine Creek
This morning we make an early visit to Nourlangie Rock where we have a reasonable chance of seeing the range-restricted Black Wallaroo, Banded Fruit-dove, White-lined Honeyeater, Little Woodswallow, Black-tailed Treecreeper, and Helmeted Friarbird. We then enjoy a last look around Kakadu before making our way out of the park and south west towards the Pine Creek area. We are sure to stop for any new birds and mammals on the way.
After checking in to our accommodations we visit a dam where we may see Gouldian Finch. We may also opt for stops at the Water Gardens and the Old Cemetery where Red-winged Parrot, the sought-after Hooded Parrot, Northern Rosella, Red-backed Kingfisher, the delightful Red-backed Fairy-wren, Australian Figbird, Great Bowerbird, and Masked, Long-tailed and Double-barred Finches are possible.
Accommodations in Pine Creek (B,L,D)
Day 5: Pine Creek to Timber Creek
Today we begin our journey west across the Top End. En route we have additional chances for Hooded Parrot and, with luck, we may see the uncommon northern race of Crested Shrike-tit. We explore the cane-grass habitat on the fringes of the Victoria River for the lovely Purple-crowned Fairy-wren and Yellow-rumped Mannikin. Freshwater Crocodile are common here and, unlike their saltwater cousins, subsist mostly on fish, and thus pose little threat to large mammals (humans included!). Other possible species today include Black-tailed Treecreeper, Rufous-throated, Black-chinned and Banded Honeyeaters, and Buff-sided Robin.
Accommodations in Timber Creek (B,L,D)
Day 6: Timber Creek
Today is dedicated to continuing our search for the stunning Gouldian Finch. This area is also home to a rich diversity of species and there are plenty to keep us entertained while we search for our quarry. Highlights may include the sought-after Spinifex Pigeon, Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, Star, Long-tailed, and Masked Finches, and Chestnut and Yellow-rumped Mannikin.
Accommodations in Timber Creek (B,L,D)
Day 7: Timber Creek to Kununarra
This morning we continue our sojourn west, and cross the Western Australia border. We are on the lookout for the very rare Pictorella Mannikin and raptors as we go, including Square-tailed Kite. While today is a travel day, we do pass through spectacular countryside and making regular stops to stretch our legs and enjoy any birding highlights. In the late afternoon, we arrive in Kununurra in the fabled Kimberley area.
Accommodations in Kununurra (B,L,D)
Day 8: Kununurra
Today we have a full day to explore the riches of the Kimberley in the Kununurra area. A certain highlight is bound to be a boat trip on Lake Argyle, where we enjoy a wonderful variety of waterbirds, as well as search for two very special birds, the highly sought after Yellow Chat and White-quilled Rock Pigeon. Australian Reed-Warbler may be seen in the lakeside vegetation, as might White-browed Crake and Pheasant Coucal. Local conditions determine where we spend the rest of the day, with additional possible birding highlights that include Brolga, Northern Rosella, Silver-crowned Friarbird, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Bar-breasted and Banded Honeyeaters, and Sandstone Shrike-thrush. Mammals in the area include Short-eared Rock-Wallaby and Northern Nail-tail Wallaby.
Accommodations in Kununurra (B,L,D)
Day 9: Kununurra | Departures
Today after breakfast we transfer to the Kununurra airport where the tour ends. (B)
Cost of the Journey
Cost of the journey is $4490 DBL / $5240 SGL per person, based on double occupancy, from Darwin, Australia. Cost includes 8 nights’ accommodations, specialist guides and transport, meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the itinerary.
Cost does not include international airfare, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, laundry, or other items of a personal nature.
*Price is based on exchange rate from July 2019. Subject to change if there is more than a 5% increase.
Arrive at Darwin International (DRW) in time to start the tour on the morning of June 11. Plan your departures from East Kimberley Regional Airport in Kununurra (KNX) at your convenience on June 19.
Please let us know if you would like help booking early accommodations in Darwin on Wednesday, June 10 (extra cost).
Items of Note
Meals and drinks: Breakfast generally consists of a continental style breakfast with cereal, fruit and yogurt and tea/coffee. Full cooked breakfast is not generally offered at most locations. Lunch generally consists of a packed lunch style meal eaten in the field, with sandwich/filled roll, fruit, and a drink. Dinner usually consists of several options for main with the choice of either an appetizer or dessert. Drinks (soft and alcoholic) are generally not included but at lunches and breakfasts juice may be made available.
The itinerary: While we aim to follow the itinerary as planned, please note that the itinerary provided should only be used as a guideline. Depending on individual trip circumstances, weather, and local information, the exact itinerary may not be strictly adhered to. The guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as they see fit.
Photo credits: Banner: Gouldian Finches by David Clode on Unsplash; Blue-faced Honeyeater by Peg Abbott; Kakadu Cruise Scenic by Karl JK Hedin on Unsplash; White-bellied Sea Eagle by Greg Smith; Freshwater Crocodile by David Clode on Unsplash; Rainbow Pitta by Pat Kelly, courtesy Inala Nature Tours (INT); Spinifex Pigeon by Andrew Browne, courtesy INT; Yellow Chat by Alfred Schulte, courtesy INT; Pheasant Coucal by Bob Lewis, courtesy INT; Barking Owl by Pat Kelly, courtesy INT; Gouldian Finch by Andrew Browne, courtesy INT; Purple-crowned Fairy-Wren by Alfred Schulte, courtesy INT; Sunset by Greg Smith; Pied Heron by David Clode on Unsplash; Pheasant Coucal by Pat Kelly, courtesy INT; Double-barred Finch by Alfred Schulte, courtesy INT; Comb-crested Jacana by Pat Kelly, courtesy INT; Rose-crowned Fruit Dove by Pat Kelly, courtesy INT; Forest Kingfisher by Tonia Cochran, courtesy INT; White-bellied Sea Eagle by Cat Davidson.