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Great Ocean Road Australia 3 day guided nature tour
 
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Wildlife abounds on the golden grasslands and rocky cliffs of the famous Great Ocean Road. Pockets of forest are home to Koalas; Kangaroos graze the plains, Echidnas amble through dense coastal heathland. Sea-birds and outback cockatoos share the rocky cliffs. Waterbirds are found on the largest permanent lakes in Australia contained in the huge craters of extinct volcanoes.

Expert Wildlife Guides: You will be guided on this journey by a friendly, experienced and knowledgeable Wildlife Guide. Many hours of research work precede the tour to ensure that you see and learn about native wildlife in its natural environment.

First class standards in guidance are the hallmark of Echidna Walkabout. Our in-house Wildlife Guide training program ensures that all guides have an in-depth knowledge of the wildlife and environments you will see.

Guides carry two way radios which link them to our office and to emergency services. Accommodation: At friendly, comfortable boutique accommodations in the region, all with ensuite rooms.

Meals on tour: Meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 3. NB Vegetarian or other food preferences should be noted at the time of booking. We can only cater for allergies and special food preferences that we are informed of in advance.

Easy walking: Although this tour is vehicle based, most of the day is spent outside the vehicle on a number of easy, flat terrain, bushwalks so that you can get close to nature. Passengers must be able to walk unassisted at least 1km on uneven dirt surfaces to ensure wildlife sightings. There may be up to 5 walks of this duration during the day.

Transport: In our comfortable air conditioned vehicle.

What to bring: Good walking shoes or boots, outdoor clothing to suit variable weather conditions (please check weather forecast for accurate predictions), sun hat, rainproof coat, insect repellent, 15+ sunscreen, small torch (flashlight), daypack and 1 litre water bottle. Camera and binoculars are recommended.

As space is limited please keep luggage to 1 duffel bag OR 1 backpack OR 1 small suitcase per person.

Please note that whilst every attempt will be made to follow our planned route National Park Service requirements and weather conditions may cause amendments which will be clearly outlined to you by your Guide.

DETAILED ITINERARY FOR GREAT OCEAN ROAD

NOTE: this itinerary is an indication only, due to conditions on the day it can change slightly to maximise wildlife viewing opportunities

DAY 1 WILDLIFE OF THE WESTERN PLAINS The Savannah Walkabout See Kangaroos and Koalas IN THE WILD! In small groups this Naturalist guided journey gives you quality time to learn about wildlife and enjoy the wide open spaces of Australia. Watch the natural behaviour of wild kangaroos, koalas and abundant birdlife. Get involved in koala research with your Nature Guide. A delicious bush lunch is included. Walk amongst free ranging "mobs" (groups) of wild kangaroos. Spot Emus, Cockatoos and other unique Australian wildlife on the grasslands, in the bush and around the billabongs of Melbourne’s Western Plains. Visit an open forest in a National Park that is home to a large and healthy population of wild koalas. Our Koala Research Project ensures that on most days we have multiple sightings of these delightful creatures. Within easy reach from the centre of the city of Melbourne, these environments provide the perfect introduction to Australia's unique wildlife and indigenous culture. During your journey your guide will share with you the great significance of the Western Plains to Aboriginal People. Accommodation tonight is at a B&B in the tiny outback town of Little River. Dinner is at your own expense at the local pub (L)

DAY 2 THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD and the 12 Apostles See some of the world's most spectacular coastal scenery. We follow the Great Ocean Road to the surging surf coast, and walk in the magnificent rainforests of the Otway National Park. Your Nature Guide will explain the formation of these mighty forests. Travel through Port Campbell National Park, looking out for echidnas, wallabies. lizards and colourful birds which make their home in the coastal heathlands. Linger a while to take in some of nature's handiwork at the 12 Apostles and the Loch Ard Gorge. Hear stories about the terrible shipwrecks of the past. We have dinner at our B&B near Loch Ard Gorge. (BLD)

DAY 3 THE EXPANSE OF THE WESTERN PLAINS - volcanoes and lakes in a great savannah. This morning we have one last look at the coast in the dramatic morning light before returning to Melbourne across the vast grasslands of the Western Plains. Created by intense volcanic activity over the past 2 million years, the 7000 volcanoes of the Western Plains are now extinct but the resultant savannah is now pasture to the richest wool growing area on earth - a wonderful example of Australia's great range lands. We stop en route to drive to the top of an extinct volcano with spectacular views across the plains. From the summit we see some of the hundreds of volcanic lakes scattered across the plains. Later we pass Lake Corangamite, the largest permanent lake in Australia, often covered with prolific birdlife. We return to Melbourne in the late afternoon. (BL)

NOTE: this itinerary is an indication only. Every attempt will be made to follow our planned route however to maximise wildlife viewing opportunities, amendments may be made due to National Park Service requirements and weather conditions. They will be clearly outlined to you by your Wildlife Guide. This itinerary is the property of Echidna Walkabout

Wildlife

This tour is a great way to see wild Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Koalas, Swamp Wallabies and many birds – waterbirds and birds of the forests. We often see Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, corellas, Galahs, Laughing Kookaburras, Superb Fairy-wrens, White-winged Choughs, Emus, Cape Barren and Magpie Geese; Singing, New Holland and White-plumed Honeyeaters, ibis, ducks, cormorants, Whistling and Black-shouldered Kites, Nankeen Kestrels, Australian Magpies, Magpie-larks, Red-rumped and King Parrots, Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, Bronzewing and Crested Pigeons, Red and Little Wattlebirds and Willie Wagtails. We sometimes see Echidnas, possums, fur-seals, Blue-tongue or Jacky Lizards, Rufous Bristlebirds, Wedge-tailed and Little Eagles, falcons, goshawks, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos and Gang Gang Cockatoos. We occasionally see a Southern Brown Bandicoot or a whale. We rarely see snakes or spiders, though we are as interested in them as in all wildlife, and will look out for them.

Note: we go to enormous effort to ensure sightings of Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Koalas and have a very high success rate with these species. However, we do not guarantee sightings of any wild animal.

Janine Duffy and Roger Smith founded Echidna Walkabout in 1993, to foster respect for Australia’s wildlife and to ensure its wild and free-living future. Most tours depart Melbourne and travel to carefully chosen wildlife locations in south eastern Australia.

Our fantastic team of Wildlife Guides – Bill, Paul, Joanne, Martin and Janine & Roger – and Koala Researchers – Mary, Donna & Melinda – ensure that every tour is a special, once-only experience. No two tours are ever the same with wild animals!

Our Wildlife Team provides support to our tours. Research conducted on tour is passed on to you and to the National Parks Service, Field Naturalists Clubs and the Atlas of Australian Birds. All wildlife seen on tour is noted, forming a large, valuable repository of data on population densities of native species, including some threatened species. Submission and analysis of this data is a huge job, but enormously valuable, so guests are encouraged to assist with this most important of tasks.

Echidna Walkabout respects our Indigenous Cultures, and is grateful to the Wathaurong and Gunnai communities for their support over many years.

Our tour groups are small (no more than 8 people) allowing for a personal experience and optimal wildlife viewing opportunities.

For the past 15 years, Echidna Walkabout has tracked and monitored the movements and lives of hundreds of wild koalas. The proceeds of each tour contribute to this important study and our guests are involved while on tour. The results of this study are made available to all our staff, the National Parks Service, Field Naturalists Clubs, wildlife veterinarians and wildlife carers.

For many years Echidna Walkabout and our guests have been improving the natural habitats we visit, through weed and rubbish removal. The removal of the noxious weed Boneseed, in particular, directly improves habitat quality for Koalas.

We are also regenerating an old farming property west of Melbourne as a Wildlife Habitat – for the benefit of native wild birds, Kangaroos, Koalas and Wallabies, plus reptiles, frogs and invertebrates - to restore some lost habitat to these wild creatures that have given us so much.

We have, and have always had, a serious commitment to running sustainable tours.

 

 

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Minimum 2 adults. Departs Melbourne on Tuesdays all year and also on Fridays from Oct - Apr Pick up from 0810 to 0900. Return to Melbourne Day 3 approx 1700

This activity is also available as part of on of our Custom Itineraries or holidays, please visit our home page to learn more about how we can help you with your holiday.

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