Skip to Content

Featured Wildlife Journeys

  • Female Koala

  • Short-beaked Echidna

  • Koala (Emma)

    Darren Copultere

  • Flame Robin

  • Lace Monitor

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

East Gippsland Wildlife Journey

From: $1,650 USD

Duration: 4 days/3 nights - East Gippsland

Type: Groups, Private Charter, Shared.

Departs: Mondays - Shared Groups, On Request - Private

Venturing across East Gippsland’s magnificent lush rainforests, coastal heathlands, giant eucalypt groves, white sandy beaches and pristine rivers and estuaries, this four day immersive adventure offers you encounters with an incredible array of species.

  • It is especially attractive to enthusiasts looking to spot some of the more shy forest dwellers including Yellow-bellied and Sugar Gliders, Swamp Wallabies, King Parrots and the piercing call of the Eastern Whipbird.

  • Other highlights include walking with Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Echidnas on Raymond Island, searching for koalas in eucalypt forests, spotting Lace Monitors lazing beside secluded rivers and listening for Superb Lyrebirds mimicking other birds on the fertile rainforest floor.

  • You will also spend a little time helping nature, by setting up a wild koala research project on an island refuge, conducting bushfire-recovery wildlife surveys and removing disused fishing nets. Charming lodge-style, owner-operated boutique accommodation ensures a comfortable sleep across the journey.

About Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours was founded by Roger Smith and Janine Duffy in 1993, with the vision to bring people and wildlife together for mutual benefit. The award-winning team believes that observing and connecting with wildlife is a key element in enriching the lives for people of all backgrounds; whether this interaction is for pleasure, new experiences and learning, for connection to the land or the basic needs for humans to breathe clean air and drink clean water via healthy ecosystems.

Price per person based on double occupancy, including touring & accommodation. Single supplements apply. Black-out dates may apply. Pricing is subject to availability and all prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (1/4/22) and may differ when you book your travel. Please contact us for our current pricing and itinerary details*

Itinerary

Tour day-by-day

  • Day 1: Melbourne to East Gippsland

    After departing Melbourne in the morning, travellers will venture east to the beautiful Lakes District in Gippsland. This region is protected by the International Ramsar Convention and is a key habitat for waterbirds such as Black Swans, Chestnut Teals, Australian Shelducks, Musk Ducks, as well as Fairy Terns.

    Shortly after, guests will board a ferry to Raymond Island that provides sanctuary to a host of native animals. Guests will assist in helping to set up a wild koala research project on the island. Data collated will be passed onto a local conservation group, including tree species preference, behaviour, identification of individuals and evidence of koalas drinking stemflow.  Guests will take walks through local forest, with Koalas, echidnas, Swamp Wallabies and Eastern Grey Kangaroos, parrots, honeyeaters and seabirds all sighting opportunities. Driving through lush eucalypt forests, pristine estuaries and white sandy beaches, guests will assist in helping the wildlife guide in recording species for conservation purposes and keep a keen lookout at the nesting sites of endangered Little Terns.

    Guide - Martin Maderthaner"East Gippsland is considered to be one of the more biodiverse regions of Australia, because you get a little bit of the east coast summer rainfall as well as the west’s winter rainfall. It’s the meeting of two system. There are dry eucalyptus forests, wet eucalyptus forests, temperate rainforests, coastal heathlands and riverine forests. That results in a big diversity of both bird, and plant life.”

    Martin Maderthaner - Guide

    Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant with lunch also included. Accommodation is a homestead in a small town where you will stay for three nights.

    Accommodation: Snowy River Homestead, Orbost, or similar.

  • Day 2: Rugged mountain forests of Australia’s coastal wilderness.

    After a relaxing breakfast guests will travel into the rugged mountain forests of East Gippsland. This is one of the few regions in the world that has a large unbroken chain of forest stretching from the alps to the sea.

    The abundance of wildlife is due to the diversity of these forests; from giant Alpine Ash forests, native cypress pines, Mountain Plum Pines through to Shining Gum and Cut-tail Gums, many of the trees are hundreds of years old. Travellers will visit both dry and wet mountain forests, visit the famous Snowy River, and walk beside a wilderness creek where the landscape changes dramatically from dry slopes to fern-filled rainforest.

    Your Wildlife Guide will help you search for animals such as wallabies, Superb Lyrebirds, cockatoos, parrots, goannas and honeyeaters. Birds and reptiles are abundant, but other human visitors are few. We finish the day with a classic Aussie dinner at the Homestead.

    Martin Maderthaner - Guide"We often see Gang-gang Cockatoos and guests like them because they’re unassuming, with their soft voice and subtle colouring. We often hear their ‘creaking door’ calls before we see them. Sometimes, too, we see the Glossy-black Cockatoo and that’s really special as they are listed as threatened in Victoria. By knowing where certain birds – particularly vulnerable species – are doing well, or where they are absent, Birdlife Australia and other conservation groups can target their recovery programs and pressure the government to protect certain areas.

    Martin Maderthaner - Guide

    Accommodation: Snowy River Homestead, Orbost, or similar

  • Day 3: Explore a remote river estuary on the Wilderness Coast

    The day commences walking through large warm temperate rainforests in search of birds such as King Parrots, Eastern Whipbirds, Satin Bowerbirds, Eastern Robins, Golden Whistlers, Rufous Whistlers, Eastern Whipbirds and Flame Robins.

    Guests will then traverse through a heathland and along a forest-lined river to its estuary in Australia’s Coastal Wilderness. This is an opportunity to spot White-bellied Sea Eagles, various parrots, Black Swans, Sacred Kingfishers, and huge goanna lizards including the Lace Monitor and Sand Goanna. Next stop is a visit a quiet beach with a complex dune system to observe beach and ocean-going birds, followed by a walk on the nearby rocky headland, peering into rock pools, walking past wind-sculpted coastal shrubs looking at the expanse of the 90 mile beach.

    The group will spend a little time on a beautiful beach removing old fishing nets that have washed up from the sea, that sometimes wash back out, where they trap and kill sea creatures. Our dinner tonight is a picnic in the bush overlooking the beach (weather permitting). On our way back to our Homestead we search the plains for wallabies, kangaroos and wombats.

    Accommodation: Snowy River Homestead, Orbost, or similar.

     

     

  • Day 4: Melbourne to East Gippsland: Mouth of the Snowy River & Krowathunkoolong

    Guests will depart East Gippsland after one last visit to the beach at the Mouth of the Snowy River. On the way back to Melbourne, a visit to Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place, an informative Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Bairnsdale, provides an opportunity to learn about how the Aboriginal people have lived amongst these captivating landscapes for thousands of years. Following this, guests will venture to a river in Bairnsdale to spot Grey-headed Flying-foxes in their daytime roosts, before arriving in Melbourne. 

     

  • Tour details:

    Group Size: Maximum of 8 guests.
    Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Melbourne city hotels
    Pick-up and Drop-off Time:  8:00am on day one, Approximately 5:00pm on day four.
    Private Touring: Available at additional cost - please enquire with your group size & interests.

    Please note: Tour does not run 23rd December & 30th December.

    Recent Awards

    WINNER Best for Wildlife Conservation at the World Responsible Tourism Awards London • 2014
    WINNER Seatrade Cruise Award for World’s Most Innovative Shore Excursion • 2017
    WINNER TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015 • 2014

    How you'll be making a positive impact

    We have aligned our sustainability vision with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
     
    E-WEB-Goal-15Citizen Science with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

    Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours contributes observations of flora & fauna via iNaturalist, the world’s leading global social biodiversity network. This platform allows our team to create research-quality citizen science data that enables a more detailed picture of our national biodiversity, and assists bodies such as the CSIRO, ecologists and other decision makers to deliver better outcomes for the environment and our species.

    Our guides record observations with iNaturalist Australia by using the iNaturalist app on mobile phones or desktop computers. An observation records an encounter with an individual organism at a particular time and location in Victoria. We require photos to be attached to observations for them to become research grade and added to the Atlas of Living Australia.

    This is where you can greatly assist us in capturing images out in the field! Although we make broader observations that we think are valuable to the local scientific community, we have identified the following species to track when we are exploring Victoria by vehicle or on foot.

    Key species we're looking out for include:

    • Sooty Oystercatcher
    • Platypus
    • Powerful Owl
    • Southern Emu-wren
    • Short-beaked Echidna
    • Lyrebird
    • Glossy Black-Cockatoo
    • Gang-gang Cockatoo
    • Grey-headed Flying Fox
    E-WEB-Goal-14Removing Ghost Net from East Gippsland

    On Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours’ East Gippsland Wildlife Journey tours, guests are offered the opportunity to remove Ghost Net – discarded fishing net – that has washed up on the beach from Bass Strait or the Southern Ocean. The project commenced in 2013 when copious amounts of the orange netting could be found across the rocky headland of Cape Conran.

    Without removal, the net poses an ongoing hazard to wildlife, as it can wash back and forth, putting species such as albatrosses, fur-seals or dolphins at risk. Over time, it also degrades into smaller pieces that fill the bellies of seabirds, causing them to starve.

    With equipment provided such as bags, gardening gloves and heavy duty scissors, almost all guests have eagerly contributed to the clean-up project. Initially, the piles of Ghost Net were so large & heavy that it was impossible to move in one go and it was necessary to cut the net up into manageable pieces. Over recent years, given the large volume of garbage bags of netting removed, it has now become a challenge to find Ghost Net on Cape Conran, with alternative locations now being scouted.

    E-WEB-Goal-04Sustainable Koala Watching Code

    Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours has been at the forefront of policy development for responsible Koala viewing based on over 27 years of research. In 2006, the organisation launched the Sustainable Koala Watching Code, implementing a welfare policy for guides, researchers and staff members in order to reduce human behaviours that cause Koalas to respond negatively as much as possible. 

    This includes policies such as maintaining a distance of 10 metres (horizontally) from any wild Koala, never surrounding a Koala’s tree and avoiding excessive movement or noise around wild Koalas.

    Interestingly, a recent scientific study has found that even captive Koalas subjected to people at close proximity (5 metres) do experience higher levels of stress than when people are further away, highlighting the importance of this requirement. Given that the organisation often visits and studies the same Koalas on a regular basis, this code has enabled a positive, or at least benign relationship to form with these wild Koalas.

    E-WEB-Goal-04Discovering the Nose Patterns of Koalas

    In 1998 Echidna Walkabout’s co-founder Janine Duffy discovered a revolutionary method of identifying individual Koalas through their distinctive natural black and white marking patterns inside their nostrils. That discovery launched a non-intrusive wild Koala Research Project that continues to this day.

    The study documenting nose markings over 22 years and across more than 100 individual Koalas in four locations in southern Victoria, showed that the nose pattern stays essentially the same throughout life, with no two Koala patterns being identical. This method provides a cost-effective and reliable non-intrusive process of monitoring wild Koala populations and has since been embraced by Koala research groups across Australia. Koalas are identified by observation at a distance, through binoculars, without the need for tagging, handling or causing stress to individual animals.

    Every wild Koala sighted in the You Yangs or Brisbane Ranges National Parks has been photographed, named & identified, their sex established, location taken and tree species and height in tree noted. The Wild Koala Research Project is Echidna Walkabout’s own initiative, and fully funded by their social enterprise structure, with Koala researchers employed to input data, conduct research analysis and reconnaissance. This ensures a high degree of success with Koala sightings and adds valuable monitoring data to each day’s sightings.

    E-WEB-Goal-17Supporting the Koala Clancy Foundation

    Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours created, and remains the primary supporter of, the not-for-profit Koala Clancy Foundation. The foundation is set up to support, advocate and plant trees for wild koalas, particularly around the You Yangs and on the Western Plains of Victoria. Started in 2015, the charity relies on the donations and promotional reach of international travellers, and the willing hands of local volunteers and private landowners to restore koala habitat to the rivers and creeks of western Victoria. 

Media Gallery