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Tasmania and South-eastern Australia

A naturalists paradise 'Down Under' - a superb highlights tour of Tasmania and SE Australia

2025 Dates
  • 01 Dec - 18 Dec 2025
Duration18 Days
2025 Price
Price TBC
Max Group Size12

In addition to its rich history, vast tracts of stunning wilderness, remote mountainous areas and many unspoilt islands, Tasmania offers a wealth of wildlife and birding opportunities.

Of particular interest to the general naturalist, we seek key mammals and marsupials as well as birds. This tour takes place in the Australian spring, with pleasant temperatures, longer days and migratory birds arriving from their northern winter grounds.

One of the most exciting aspects is our optional pelagic cruise into the Southern Ocean. Although weather dependent, we are sheltered from the prevailing winds and have a good chance of reaching the continental shelf. Here we could encounter between 20-30 species of tubenose, with numerous species of albatross and shearwater, as well as seals, dolphins and whales. For those who are strictly land-lubbers there will be onshore options too!

We start on the Mainland, covering a variety of habitats, all within a few hours easy drive of Melbourne. Our Tasmania tour is a superb introduction to the island, covering all of its habitats from the mountains, through the primary forest down to the rich coastline.

This tour can be combined with our holiday to Queensland, read more on our 'Grand Tour' page.


Enjoy a complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Read more about our famous Pre-flight Service including car parking in the UK, VIP Lounge and destination Bird Guide here!

Day 1:   1 December 2025      Depart London 
After relaxing in our complimentary VIP Airport Lounge, we board our flight to Melbourne.

Day 2:    2 December                        Arrival into Melbourne
This day is set aside as an arrival day. Tonight you will meet your local Australian guide at dinner and enjoy an orientation talk. Accommodation: Ciloms Airport Lodge

Day 3: 3 December         Melbourne to Lorne via Werribee
This morning we will travel to the south-west of Melbourne and wend our way through the shorelines and various swamps of western Port Phillip Bay, where we’ll aim to pick up a few wetland and grassland birds like Sharp-tailed, Curlew & Marsh Sandpipers, Red-necked Stint, Red-kneed Dotterel, Black-fronted Dotterel, Red-capped Plover, Pacific Gull, Hoary-headed Grebe, Australasian Gannet, Pied, Little Pied, Great & Little Black Cormorants, Australian Pelican, Crested, Fairy & Whiskered Terns, Australian Shelduck, Red-necked Avocet, Banded & Pied Stilts, Royal & Yellow-billed Spoonbills, White-fronted Chat, Striated Fieldwren, Horsfield’s Bushlark, Brown Songlark, Australian Pipit, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Golden-headed Cisticola, Zebra Finch, Swamp Harrier, Wedge-tailed Eagle, White-bellied Sea-eagle and Black, Brown & Peregrine Falcons. In the mid to late afternoon we will venture onto the Great Ocean Road where we will enjoy a picturesque drive along this rugged stretch of the Victorian coastline. We overnight in a small town in the area. Accommodation: The Anchorage Lorne

Day 4:   4 December                                          Lorne
Another day in this beautiful area gives us the opportunity to venture into the Great Otway National Park, an area of cool temperate rainforest with ancient Antarctic Beech, Mountain Ash and tall tree ferns. Birds of these forests include Eastern Yellow Robin, Golden Whistler, Crimson Rosella, Superb Fairywren, White-browed Scrubwren and Satin Bowerbird. We will also visit an area of open coastal heathland where we hope to find the endemic Rufous Bristlebird and the delightful Southern Emu-wren. During the day, we’ll maintain a lookout for Koala. Accommodation: Lorne

Day 5: 5 December                                      Lorne to Halls Gap
Today we leave the coast behind us and make our way inland across the Western Volcanic Plains with their shallow salt lakes, to our destination for the next two nights, Halls gap in the Grampians. This rugged range of sandstone mountains in Victoria’s north-west rises dramatically from the Western Plains and is one of the most scenic areas in the state. Accommodation: Grampians Motel

Day 6:  6 December                                      Halls Gap
Today we have a full day to enjoy the offerings of the Grampians. Tall Eucalyptus forests, fern-lined gullies and dry woodlands are some of the habitats we will encounter as we explore the area for wildlife. In addition to the stunning vistas and waterfalls the area boasts over 200 bird species, well over 800 indigenous plant species and at least 30 mammal species. Today we are sure to enjoy a bounty of memorable sightings as the Grampians are an excellent site for a number of sought after species including Emu, Australia’s national bird, Painted Honeyeater, Speckled Warbler, Black-eared Cuckoo, Little Lorikeet, Long-billed Corella, Zebra Finch and Yellow-faced Honeyeater. Mammals we may encounter include Black and Red-necked Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo. While in the area we will enjoy a night excursion where we may encounter Brush-tailed and Ring-tailed Possum and, if we are very fortunate, Sugar Glider! Tawny Frogmouth and the impressive Powerful Owl are also possible. Accommodation: Grampians Motel

Day 7: 7 December          Halls Gap to Melbourne and fly to Hobart
Today is a travel day but if time permits, we will enjoy a brief walk before we make our way to Melbourne where we will connect with our flight to Hobart. On arrival we will settle into our hotel in Tasmania’s charming and quaint capital. After dinner, we will offer an optional night tour where we will be sure to see Brush-tailed Possum and Tasmanian Pademelon. Here we will search for Southern (Tasmanian) Bettong and Eastern-barred Bandicoot both of which originally had a south-eastern Australian distribution and now almost exclusively occur in Tasmania. Tawny Frogmouth and Southern Boobook or Morepork are also possible in the reserve. Accommodation: The Old Woolstore Hotel, Hobart

Day 8: 8 December   Hobart and drive to Eaglehawk Neck
This morning we will enjoy some exploring in the Hobart area before making our way south to Eaglehawk Neck. In particular we will enjoy the scenery and birding on Mount Wellington which, at a height of 1270m (around 4,150 feet), affords spectacular views of the city and surrounding landscape on a clear day. Here we will also take a walk through a fern glade with towering tree ferns where we have our first chance to see the endemic and rather shy Scrubtit as well as Tasmanian Scrubwren and the stunning Pink Robin. Further endemic highlights we will look for today include Green Rosella, Tasmanian Native Hen, Black Currawong and the oddly adorned Yellow Wattlebird. Red-necked Wallaby is not uncommon in Tasmania, and we may well encounter these endearing macropods as we explore the mountain.

In the afternoon we will enjoy the scenic drive to Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsular where we will explore areas of interest enjoying the spectacular sea cliffs and breathtaking scenery typical of the area. Accommodation: Lufra Hotel, Eagleneck

Day 9: 9 December      Southern Ocean Pelagic or visit Port Arthur and surrounds and Hobart
This morning you will have a choice of embarking on a pelagic trip or exploring the nearby Port Arthur Historic site. For the seafarers amongst us we board a charter vessel (weather permitting) making our way into the vastness of the Southern Ocean in our quest for pelagic birds. High species diversity and the nearness of the continental shelf have earned Tasmania an international reputation as a great place to see pelagic species. Not long after we depart Pirate’s Bay we will encounter Short-tailed Shearwater in considerable number as well as our first albatrosses. This is one of the finest places on the planet to see a diversity of albatross species with Wandering, Black-browed, Shy, Southern Royal and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses all possible. With land still in sight we will reach the continental shelf and begin to chum off the back of the boat. Possible petrels include Great-winged, the striking White-headed, Gould’s, and Mottled. Shearwater diversity is also good with Hutton’s, White-chinned, Buller’s, Sooty, Short-tailed (common in Tasmanian waters) and Fluttering Shearwater all possible. Wilson’s, Grey-backed and White-faced Storm Petrels and Fairy Prion are also regularly seen. There are often surprises in store and with 30 plus species possible in these waters there is bound to be something new for everyone. Mammals we may encounter include Australian Fur-seals, Hump-backed Whale and Bottlenose Dolphin.

For those who prefer not to do a pelagic the nearby historic site of Port Arthur serves as an excellent alternative. This site was once home for hundreds of beleaguered convicts and the excellent displays and well-preserved buildings bring the site to life. We will enjoy several rewarding hours exploring the grounds taking in not just the history but the variety of birds (and a mammal or two!) that inhabit this vast historic site. After a rewarding day on the peninsular we will make our way back to Hobart arriving in the early evening. Accommodation: The Old Woolstore Hotel, Hobart

Day 10: 10 December             Hobart and Bruny Island
Depending on our timing and conditions we may opt to start our day in reserves around Hobart or alternatively venture directly down to Bruny Island.

Bruny Island, situated about 40km south of Hobart, is separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and accessed by a vehicle ferry. The ferry trip takes approximately 15 minutes where we will enjoy some wonderful scenery and possibly Little Penguins or dolphins alongside the ferry. This afternoon we will visit Bruny’s southern coastline to view the second oldest lighthouse in Australia where we will search for species such as Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Olive Whistler and Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo. Here we also have a chance to see the Tasmanian subspecies of Short-beaked Echidna, one of Australia’s two egg-laying mammal (montreme) species. Tonight after dinner we will visit the Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwater rookery to view these species at their burrows. Accommodation: Explorers Cottages, Bruny Island.

Day 11:  11 December                                             Bruny Island
Today we have a full day to explore Bruny and the variety of habitats found on the island; from coastal beaches, where there is a possibility of finding Hooded Plover, Australian Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, to rainforest areas where we will search for the endemic Scrubtit and Tasmanian Thornbill. We will also make an effort this day to find all the remaining Tasmanian endemics with Strong-billed Honeyeater, Dusky Robin and Forty-spotted Pardalote likely highlights. Most of these can be seen at the Inala Private Reserve, Dr Tonia Cochran’s privately owned 500 acre sanctuary on south Bruny Island. If we are fortunate, we may encounter the striking white morph Grey Goshawk that is regularly seen on the Inala Reserve. We will also take the time to enjoy some interesting flora, including Tasmanian endemic species and relics from the ancient Gondwana Supercontinent. Tonight, we will enjoy another night trip for the chance to see a range of Tasmania’s nocturnal marsupials (including Eastern Quoll and “normal” as well as white morph Red-necked Wallaby and Brush-tailed Possums) as well as searching for Tawny Frogmouth and Morepork (formerly Southern Boobook). Accommodation: Explorers Cottages, Bruny Island.

Day 12:  12 December                           Bruny Island to Mount Field
This morning we will depart Bruny early for Mount Field National Park. This is an excellent area to experience a range of habitats, from fern gullies with waterfalls to alpine heathland to cool temperate rainforest boasting some of the tallest Eucalyptus in Australia, some of which are well over 80 meters in height. While in the area we will enjoy a short walk around a high-altitude lake fringed with fascinating sub alpine flora and it is here that we have a chance of seeing the bizarre looking Platypus, the other species of Australian monotreme. In the late afternoon we will make our way out of the park to a nearby settlement where we will overnight. Accommodation: Curringa Farm, Hamilton

Day 13:  13 December          Mt Field area to Cradle Mountain
This morning we will leave the Mt Field area and travel towards Cradle Mountain National Park. While this will mainly be a day of travel, we will enjoy some lovely scenery and stop en route to bird and stretch our legs. There will also be an option to visit a Wildlife Sanctuary where some of Tasmania’s rarer mammal species can be seen. We will arrive at our accommodation near the National Park in the late afternoon. This accommodation has been chosen as it offers a chance of seeing one of Australia’s most threatened and charismatic mammals in the wild and at close range. Having become increasingly rare this is one of the only places left where one has a reasonable chance of seeing Tasmanian Devils. Both Tasmanian Devils and Spotted-tailed Quolls are regularly seen on the verandas here providing an excellent opportunity to view and photograph these elusive creatures. Accommodation: Mountain Valley Wilderness Lodge, Cradle Mountain

Day 14:  14 December                                      Cradle Mountain area
Today we have a full day to explore Cradle Mountain. This is a good area to search for Tasmania’s endemic bird species like the retiring Scrubtit, Black Currawong and Tasmanian Thornbill. In addition to the great birding, we will enjoy some of the interesting plants found here, including ancient rainforest species and Gondwana relics such as Pencil and King Billy Pines, Myrtle and the famous Fagus (Nothofagus gunnii) which is Tasmania’s only deciduous tree. This is also a good area to view Common Wombat and if we are fortunate, we may see Platypus. If time permits, we will visit the replica of “Waldheim”, the home of the Austrian Gustav Weindorfer, whose love of the area inspired the establishment of the national park. Tonight, we have another chance to see Tasmanian Devil. Accommodation: Mountain Valley Wilderness Lodge, Cradle Mountain

Day 15:  15 December      Cradle Mountain area to North Coast
We depart the Cradle Mountain area after breakfasting this morning and travel towards Tasmania’s northern coastline. En route we will stop at some additional places where Platypus are seen on a regular basis as well as visiting Narawntapu National Park. The park boasts some impressive marsupial lawns (well grazed areas frequented by marsupials) that hold some of the highest densities of Common Wombat, Tasmanian Pademelon and Red-necked Wallaby in Tasmania and is often referred to as the “Serengeti of Tasmania”. Eastern Grey (Forester) Kangaroos can usually be seen feeding during the late afternoon. After dinner there will be another optional night tour to search for Southern Brown Bandicoot and Long-nosed Potoroo. Accommodation: Hawley House, Port Sorell

Day 16:   16 December                               Port Sorell area
Today will be a relaxing day with options to enjoy the lovely coastal walks from our accommodation or to head to Narawntapu National Park again. Accommodation: Hawley House, Port Sorell

Day 17:  17 December North Coast to Launceston, Flight to Melbourne, return flight to UK.
If time permits we will visit some wetlands en route where there is a chance to view a number of wetland species including Purple Swamphen, Australian Shelduck, Black-fronted Dotterel and the retiring Little Grassbird. We travel to Launceston after breakfast where we will transfer to our flight home, landing in the UK on Day 18, Thursday 18th December 2025.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • scheduled return flights from London - Melbourne. Domestic flights from Melbourne- Hobart, Launceston - Melbourne, Airport taxes and transfers.
  • ground and boat transportation as outlined.
  • fifteen nights full-board accommodation, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus 2 overnight flights.
  • the services of your leaders.
  • field trips as specified.
  • The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included free of charge subject to terms and conditions. Read more....

Free Field Guide! - 'Birds of Australia' by Graham Pizzey is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.


What's not included in your holiday price:

  • personal insurance, drinks and other personal expenses, visa costs where necessary, optional tips to local guides/other staff, and any other costs not specified as 'included'.



More holiday information:

Flights: Many of our guests may choose to spend more time in Australia, heading out before the trip starts and meeting us at the airport or remaining behind after to visit other parts of Australia. We can arrange flights accordingly, please speak to the office for more details.
Visas: Visas are required for all travel to Australia.The requirements for these have been updated in recent years. British citizens can obtain the following types of electronic visitor visa: An online e-Visitor visa direct from the Department of Immigration & Citizenship.There is no visa application charge or service fee for this. Information about this type of visa can be found online here:http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/651-
Meals and drinks: Breakfast generally consists of a continental style breakfast with cereal, fruit and yoghurt and tea/coffee. Lunch will generally consist 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 appetiser or dessert. Drinks (soft and alcoholic) are generally not included but at lunches and breakfasts juice may be made available.
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.
The pelagic: This activity is weather dependant and there is no guarantee that we will be able to go to sea. Photographic and optical gear is at risk of salt spray so care must be taken to protect valuable items during and after the trip.
Weather: The tour runs in late spring, early summer. Temperatures at this time of year can vary although mild to warm weather can be expected. You can expect comfortable conditions on most days with average daytime temperatures in the mid-twenties. In both Victoria and Tasmania we will be spending time in high country where, in the evening and early morning, minimum temperatures may drop below 10°C. On the pelagic we can expect cold conditions due to cold ocean temperatures and wind chill. We may encounter rain although this is typically not a wet time of year (most rainfall occurs in the winter months). Average monthly rainfall in November and December in the region is well below 50mm.
Daily Routine: While this is not a fast paced tour, we will take advantage of the heightened birding and wildlife activity of early mornings and afternoons and enjoy some evening spotlighting excursions. On travel days we will do our best to break longer journeys with comfort stops. Most days will start with an early breakfast followed by an excursion and then a picnic lunch to maximise time in the field. We typically then enjoy an afternoon excursion and have a bit of downtime in the late afternoon/early evening before dinner. Many excursions are optional.
Biting insects and venomous creatures: Although biting insects are not regularly encountered on this tour, mosquitoes (malaria free) may be present at certain places. Wasps and bees occur but are generally not a nuisance. There are a number of species of biting ants (jack jumpers and inchmen) that can inflict painful bites however incidents with these insects on tour are extremely unusual. Venomous creatures are very seldom encountered on this tour. Tasmania has only three species of snake (all venomous) but, as with most snake species, they are not aggressive and seldom seen.
Walking: There is no demanding walking on this tour with the birding/wildlife locations easily accessible on foot. Guests can expect comfortable walking at the pace of a stroll and while walking is mostly on flattish trails and dirt tracks there will be the occasional hill and uneven terrain.
Accommodation: Accommodation is chosen for its proximity to good wildlife viewing areas and are generally in comfortable cabin/bed-and-breakfast type establishments. At most sites we accommodate all guests in en suite facilities but at some Tasmanian locations there may be shared bathrooms. These sites offer us the best chances of Platypus and Tasmanian Devil so we wouldn't want to miss them!

Other birding and wildlife holidays in Australia

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

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Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: +44(0)1479 821248