Inala's King Island Bass Strait Small Group Tour 6th - 9th Feb 2023

Pradeep Pandiyan Californian Quail King Island - Inala Nature Tours
Pradeep Pandiyan Californian Quail King Island - Inala Nature Tours
Tour date: 
Monday, 6 February 2023 to Thursday, 9 February 2023
4 days
AUD $2,465 per person twin share. AU$270 single supplement
King Island subspecies – Brown Thornbill, Scrubtit, Green Rosella, Black Currawong, Dusky Robin, Yellow Wattlebird and superb Fairy-wren.

Situated in the Bass Strait, midway between Victoria and Tasmania, King Island is surrounded by shipwrecks and long sandy beaches, with some of the freshest air and friendliest locals anywhere. The island is home to 10 of the 12 Tasmanian endemic bird species, 5 of which are considered endemic subspecies of King Island. We will also seek out the critically endangered King Island Brown Thornbill, with its enormous bill and beautiful voice. Flocks of wild American Turkeys, Indian Peafowl, Common Pheasant, California Quail and migratory shorebirds complete the set for this eclectic island. 

A trip to King Island is not just about the wildlife, we will also visit the islands most famous sites such as Sea Elephant River, the calcified forest and of course indulge in a King Island Cheese tasting.  

This tour has been designed to adjoin the Tasmanian Endemic birds and mammals tour 28th Jan - 6th Feb 2023

Start Location: 
Currie TAS
Finish location: 
Currie TAS

Inala’s King Island Bass Strait Small Group Tour 
6th - 9th Feb 2023

This tour has been designed to adjoin the Tasmanian Endemic birds and mammals tour 28th Jan - 6th Feb 2023


Day 1.  Arrive King Island. Accom: King Island. 
Day 2.  King Is: West coast, fromagerie & bird specialities. Accom: King Island.
Day 3.  King Is: Pegarah State Forest & Sea Elephant Conservation Area. Accom: King Island.
Day 4.  King Is: Lavinia State Reserve, Cape Wickham shore/seabirds. Depart pm. Accom: none.

DETAILED ITINERARY:                
B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner

Day 1. 
For those who are also joining the Inala Tasmanian endemics tour: This morning we travel to Launceston after breakfast. If time permits, we will visit some wetlands en route where there is a chance toview several wetland species including Purple Swamphen, Spotless Crake, Australian Shelduck, Black-fronted Dotterel and Little Grassbird. The main tour will conclude around midday. Those participants who are continuing from the Tas endemics tour to King Island will stay at Launceston airport and connect with Sharp Airlines flight SH894 to King Island (15:05-16:40).

Sharp Airlines also offers a flight from Essendon Airport, Melbourne this afternoon for participants wishing to join the tour from here (SH926 16:00-16:45. flight costs from Launceston or Melbourne are not included in tour package.

The guide will transport you from the airport to your accommodation only 10 minutes away and we shall all will meet together this evening at 18:30 for a welcome dinner.
Accommodation:Currie (en suite rooms). Meals included:D.

Day 2. 
Today we will start exploring the island. Our first stop will be the main town of Currie where you can start to get a feel for island life. We will spend most of the day exploring the west coast, primarily looking for shorebirds and searching out the first of the King Island specialties. Echidnas can also be found here. A tasting at the fromagerie, King Island Dairy is a must this afternoon.
Accommodation:Currie (en suite rooms). Meals included:B, L, D.

Day 3. 
Today we will continue to explore the southern half of the island as this is where we will see most of our target bird species. We will spend time walking and driving through Pegarah State Forest and Sea Elephant Conservation Area. Pegarah contains some of the oldest forest on the island and is home to the critically endangered King Island subspecies of the Brown Thornbill and Scrubtit. While the RAMSAR site at Sea Elephant Conservation Reserve is a stunning estuary, rich in birdlife. After dinner tonight, we will take a night excursion to visit the Little Penguin colony at Grassy Point and spotlight for mammals (Bennett’s Wallaby, Tasmanian Pademelon, Long-nosed Potoroos and Brush-tailed Possums).
Accommodation:Currie (en suite rooms). Meals included:B, L, D.

Day 4. 
For our final day on the island, we will head north, visit some key birdwatching sites such as Lavinia State reserve, and visiting some of King Islands most famous sights. At the impressive Cape Wickham lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the southern hemisphere, we will look for Nankeen Kestrel, Richards Pipit and the flocks of Wild Turkeys and California Quail for which King Island is well known. Disappointment Bay and Yellow Rock Beach promise further excellent opportunities for seabirds, shorebirds, bush-birds and stunning views. This afternoon we will head back to the airport for our afternoon flights back to Launceston 2021 flights (SH89515:40-16:30) or Melbourne 2021 flights (SH92717:15-18:00). (airfares not included in tour cost).
Accommodation:none (we can arrange additional accommodation in King Island, Launceston or Melbourne tonight as required). Meals included: B, L.

Tour Price: AUD$2,465 per person twin share and $270 single supplement (own en suite room throughout).

Inclusions:3 nights en suite accommodation, specialist guiding and land transport on King Island for day and night tours as outlined above including airport transfers, all meals and activities as outlined in the itinerary. Also includes entry fees and GST.

Exclusions:Airfares, activities and meals not mentioned above, alcoholic beverages and expenses of a personal nature (snacks, travel insurance, internet, laundry, tips etc).

Please note:  Whilst 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.

Trip Report – King Island February 2022

Guided by Dr Catherine Young


Monday 7th February 2022

We arrived at King Island in the late afternoon and headed to our accommodation. Stopping on the way to pick up some supplies in the main town of Currie. After a short stop to unpack and refresh, we headed to King Island Hotel for dinner. 

Tuesday 8th February 2022

This morning we headed to the delightfully colourful Boathouse “restaurant with no food” for breakfast from the bakehouse. From here we had crested terns, little cormorants and a surprise ocean going musk duck. Heading along the Currie foreshore we came across a group of ruddy turnstones, cleverly disguised as rocks. As well as white-fronted chats, hooded plovers and greenfinch. 

To avoid the strong northerly winds we headed south to the calcified forest. Spotting our first Australasian shelduck, peafowl and flocks of turkeys by the roadside. From the calcified forest we saw a couple of very distant shy albatross and Australasian gannets. Their distinctive flight styles and black and white markings making them stand out against the waves even at a distance. The short walk back to the car produced a very obliging young olive whistler, a brief glimpse of a bassian thrush and a black currawong as well as many adorable bennett’s (or red-necked) wallabies. After lunch we made a quick stop at the stunning seal rocks lookout where to our surprise, a rock dove raced past. 

Afternoon tea saw us at the King Island Cheesery for a cheese tasting. The number of awards on the wall in the fromagerie told us we had come to the right place and many of us left with cheesey souvenirs. Now full of cheese, we took a gentle stroll along the beach where we foraged along the tideline finding sea stars, kelp, many beautiful shells and a group of red-capped plovers. 

Dinner tonight at Wild Harvest did not disappoint. This is truly a gem of a restaurant hidden away in Grassy on the southern part of the island. The large windows provided ample opportunity to watch the wallabies grazing on the lawn and sun set over the ocean. This was a great opportunity to sample the crayfish, beef and fresh produce that King Island is famous for. After dinner we headed down the road to Grassy harbour to watch the last Little Penguins heading to their burrows for the night. The shallow water by the jetty allowed us to see how quick and agile they are underwater compared to on the land. Returning to the car we even had to gently encourage one little penguin out the carpark and check under the car before driving off. The trip home gave us plenty of Bennett’s wallabies, brush-tailed possums and a couple of rufous-bellied (or Tasmanian) pademelons. 

Wednesday 7th February 2022

After breakfast in the boathouse and a cheery wave to our new friend the must duck, we headed off to look for bush and some of the islands more elusive endemics. At our first stop the air seemed to be alive with grey fantails flitting above a puddle, hawking for insects. A shining-bronze cuckoo being fed by Tasmanian thornbills, stayed well hidden in the scrub but made itself known with it’s loud begging call. A number of yellow-throated, black-headed and strong-billed honeyeaters moved through the trees above us. Further along the road we found a majestic white-bellied sea-eagle on an open perch surveying it’s domain (the tip). A short walk along a forestry track got us a brush bronzewing and took us to a busy waterhole.  Within a few short minutes we had visits from golden whistlers, flame robins, Tasmanian scrubwren, grey shrike-thrush, green rosella, yellow wattlebird and a number of other honeyeaters. A little further into the forest we were lucky enough to see a small group of yellow-tailed black cockatoos, their slow wing beats and raucous calls giving them a prehistoric air. This is a particularly exciting sighting as these beautiful birds are believed to be declining on the island due to lack of breeding habitat. 

We headed to Naracoopa for lunch and took a stroll along the beach towards to the 100 year old, 199 metre Naracoopa jetty, a favourite local fishing spot. Heading north we stopped briefly at the blowhole but with a mostly empty beach we kept going to Sea Elephant. While travelling down the blowhole road we had an unusual experience with a bird flying directly down the road towards. It turned sharply giving just enough time to identify it an Australian Hobby before vanishing over the scrub. Named for the Elephant Seals that once inhabited this coastline, Sea Elephant is now a RAMSAR site and a known stop-over point for many migratory species. Walking along the side of the estuary, we were lucky enough to get great views of two greenshanks feeding on the mud flats. Other birding highlights included a huge number of black swans and a very relaxed dusky robin. On the drive back across the island we encountered many common pheasants, giving us a few opportunities to photograph these stunning birds, including a mother and five young. Dinner tonight was at Boomerang by the Sea, with a stunning ocean view. 

Thursday 8th February 2022

Our final boathouse breakfast giving us one last opportunity to admire the beautiful artwork and wonderful community spirit of the place as well as farewelling our daily musk duck. Of course no birding adventure is complete without a trip to a sewerage works. A quick stop got us a brief look at two lathams snipe flushed from a settling pond and other new species including dusky moorhen and our first really good look at goldfinch. A side trip to search for the elusive Californian quail got us a tiger snake, brown goshawk and a few more pheasants. Before getting back on the main road we stopped to get a better look at some ravens which turned out to be camera shy little ravens as they vanished whenever the cameras came out. We had only stopped at some reed beds for a minute when first heard the enchanting call of a golden headed cisticola. One came into view allowing for fabulous photos and an excellent opportunity to watch the male singing. The water level of the lagoon at a roadside bird hide was quite low but a number of birds were still present including cape baron geese, chestnut teal and masked lapwing. At another lagoon we picked up a hoary headed grebe as well as another dusky moorhen, plenty of ducks and swans. A little further up the road a pair of banded lapwings posed nicely on the hill side giving us great views and an excellent opportunity to admire their handsome plumage. 

Our final destination for the day was the impressive Cape Wickham Lighthouse, which at 48meters is the tallest lighthouse in Australia. The resident nankeen kestrels put on a show, hunting in the grasslands and flying low past us as we stood on the hill. The grasslands make great hunting grounds for raptors and we also saw brown falcon and many swamp harriers cruising over the fields. A quick dash down the island to the airport for final farewells as we all made our way home. 

Total of 72 species (plus 2 heard only), including 9 Tasmanian endemic species and 5 King Island endemic sub-species.


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