#3 Inala Cape York Specials Tour
Special and endemic birds of the Cape York Peninsula 7-14 Aug 2023
This tour visits some of the most remote, bird-rich areas in Australia. In the country's far north eastern corner, the distinctive Cape York peninsula juts out into the tropical water of the Coral Sea and is home to the largest unspoilt patch of rainforest on the continent. This adventure includes 4 full days birding in the Iron Range National Park for a host of species found nowhere else in Australia including Palm Cockatoo, Frill-necked Monarch and White-faced Robin. We also explore the riches of Lakefield National Park where Golden-shouldered Parrot and Red Goshawk will be likely highlights. And we also bird in the area around Julatten, a region widely regarded for it's abundance of species. Simply put, this tour is hard to beat: it covers the highlight areas in this region and we travel at a comfortable pace. This tour is also one of our best sellers and you are welcome to join us on this next trip.
This tour is designed to link with our Inala Queensland Wet Tropics Tour 13-22 Aug 2023
Day 1. Mon 7 Aug 23. Fly Cairns to Lockhart River.
Day 2. Tue 8 Aug 23. Lockhart River.
Day 3. Wed 9 Aug 23. Lockhart River.
Day 4. Thu 10 Aug 23. Lockhart River.
Day 5. Fri 11 Aug 23. Lockhart River to Musgrave.
Day 6. Sat 12 Aug 23. Musgrave-Lakefield National Park
Day 7. Sun 13 Aug 23. Musgrave to Cairns.
Day 8. Mon 14 Aug 23. Depart Cairns.
B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner.
Day 1. Monday 7 August 2023. Fly Cairns to Lockhart River, Iron Range National Park.
This morning we will board a flight to Lockhart River on the boundary of one of Australia’s most treasured, yet remote, birding destinations: Iron Range National Park. This park protects the largest area of lowland rainforest in Australia and is home to a host of range restricted species found nowhere else in the country. The forests and woodlands of the Iron Range teem with birds and, hemmed by white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, there can be few places on earth as delightful to bird. On arrival in Lockhart River we will settle into our accommodation and make our way into the forest to enjoy our first thrilling afternoon birding in Cape York.
Accommodation: Lockhart River (en suite cabins). Meals included: L, D.
Days 2 - 4. Tuesday 8, Wednesday 9 & Thursday 10 August 2023. Iron Range National Park.
We have 3 full days to explore this rich corner of Australia. Our time will be spent searching for the many area specials, as well as several interesting mammals and reptiles. We will bird a diverse mosaic of habitats from verdant monsoon rainforest and tropical woodland, to wetlands and a variety of coastal habitats. The selection of birds is impressive with no shortage of outstanding species including two members of the Bird-of-paradise family - Magnificent Riflebird and Trumpet Manucode – and other showy species like the raucous Palm Cockatoo, Red-cheeked Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Yellow-billed Kingfisher and Frill-necked Monarch. Additional range-restricted species include White-streaked, Tawny-breasted and Green-backed Honeyeaters, Yellow-legged Flycatcher, Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Northern Scrub-robin and White-faced Robin. The area is also rich botanically, and several fig tree species are found here attracting frugivores like Wompoo, Superb and Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves, and the endearing Double-eyed Fig-parrot. Another regular, but often nocturnal, visitor to fig trees is the delightful Spotted Cuscus, an arboreal marsupial with woolly fur, and bizarre orange eyes. Other nocturnal mammals we may find are Striped Possum, Rufous Spiny Bandicoot and Sugar Glider, and we will also spotlight for Rufous and Masked Owl, Marbled Frogmouth and Large-tailed Nightjar.
Accommodation: Lockhart River (en suite cabins as for last night). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 5. Friday 11 August 2023. Iron Range National Park to Musgrave.
This morning we begin the journey south leaving this fabulous park via the rich heathlands of the Tozer’s Gap area. While we have a big drive today there will be plenty to see en route, and we will make regular stops for comfort breaks and birds. Passing through endless miles of great birding habitat, we will spend the day on the blandly named Peninsula Development Road, one of the most remote roads in Australia, and the only road connecting the settlements of Cape York with the rest of the country. In the mid to late afternoon we will arrive in Musgrave on the edge of the spectacular Lakefield National Park. We will settle into our accommodations and if time permits enjoy some birding in the area.
Accommodation: near Musgrave (cabins). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 6. Saturday 12 August 2023. Musgrave and Lakefield National Park.
Today we have a full day to explore the riches of Lakefield National Park and surrounds. Gallery rainforest, open tropical woodland, grasslands, and extensive wetlands, home to vast numbers of waterbirds, are the main habitats we will explore today. With a number of target species in mind we will make a pre-breakfast foray for one of our star birds of the trip, the stunning Golden-shouldered Parrot. Interestingly, this endangered and brilliantly coloured bird makes its nest in termite mounds, a landscape feature of this area. As with the Iron Range, this area is rich in species, many of which are only (or easiest) found here. Red Goshawk, Black-backed Butcherbird, Bar-breasted, Rufous-throated, Yellow-tinted and Scarlet Honeyeaters, Red-browed Pardalote, the distinctive Cape York race of Brown Treecreeper, Northern Fantail, Emu, Great Bowerbird, Pale-headed Rosella, Red-winged Parrot and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher are all species we may find. Finches are a feature here too, with possible species including the delightful Star Finch and Masked and Black-throated Finches. Wetlands species includes the likes of Magpie Goose, Green Pygmy-goose, Radjah Shelduck, Comb-crested Jacana and Wandering Whistling-duck. Not forgetting mammals we will be on the lookout for Antilopine Wallaroo, Agile Wallaby, and if we are fortunate, Cape York Rock Wallaby.
Accommodation: near Musgrave (cabins). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 7. Sunday 13 August 2023. Musgrave to Cairns.
Today we continue the journey south through this vast area of tropical woodland. En route we’ll be on the lookout for species like Pheasant Coucal, Grey-crowned Babbler, Banded Honeyeater, Little & Black-faced Woodswallow, Silver-crowned & Little Friarbirds, White-winged Triller and Double-barred Finch. We will then head towards Cairns, arriving late afternoon.
Accommodation: Cairns (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 8. Monday 14 August 2023. Depart Cairns.
Tour ends this morning, please make your own arrangements for your departure after breakfast at a time that suits your flight arrangements.
Accommodation: none. Meals included: B.
PRICING AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Tour Price: AU$ 6,285 per person sharing based on a minimum of 4 paying participants with one specialist guide/driver in one vehicle
Single supplement: AU$760.
Price includes: All accommodation as per the itinerary, specialist guide and transport, the flight from Cairns to Lockhart River and meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the above itinerary.
Price does not include: International and domestic airfares except the Cairns to Lockhart River flight, airport transfers, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, gratuities, laundry or other items of a personal nature.
The itinerary: 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.
Remoteness: Please note that for much of this tour we will be birding in a wonderful yet remote part of Australia. Most of the roads are unsealed and rough and travel will be in 4WD vehicles. If you have medical conditions or health concerns, it is important you make us aware of these in advance of this tour.