best time to visit to see wildlife

Oct 24th, 2004, 01:32 PM
  #1  
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best time to visit to see wildlife

When is the best time to visit Australia to view the most wildlife in their native habitat?

I have been reading that Kangaroo Island is the place to go to see Koalas and Kangaroos, Penguins, Platypus and Sea Lions. I also read about tutrles laying their eggs on Heron Island.

Would October be a good month for trying to pack all of this in?

Also, where can you get close to seeing right whales and any other kinds? What month is good fot that?

Thanks!
Shari is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 12:27 PM
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Shari, the turtle nesting season on the coral cay islands of the Capricorn/Bunker Group, which includes Heron Island, goes from mid November to early February, and the hatchling season is from January to mid March.
As for whale watching in Hervey Bay, the best months are from August/September/October.
As for kangaroos there are heaps of other places, other than Kangaroo Island, for seeing kangaroos. One place that springs to mind is Cape Hillsborough National Park, just north of MAckay, Qld, where you can see kangaroos, often on the beach. JUst west of Mackay is Eungella National Park, where it is possible to sight platypus in the wild.
Penguins & sea lions mainly belong to the cooler southern ocean regions of Australia, like Kangaroo Island, Phillip Island, Montague Island. A lot of people don't realise that there is a penguin colony in Sydney. I know of one up on Lion Island, just off Palm Beach. I've had an occasional penguin swim around me in the surf at Palm Beach, also sighted some inside Pittwater. Amazingly fast little creatures, can turn on a sixpence, as they say.
tropo is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 04:19 PM
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Hello Shari,

>>>>>>Would October be a good month for trying to pack all of this in?<<<<<<

IMO it is not feasible to "pack it all in" when you're dealing with a country as large as Australia is. There is no single month during which weather conditions are optimum right across the country.

October is a good "compromise" month. It generally is very pleasant in the northern part of the country. Being spring, it tends to be unstable in the southern part of the country. In the south October can provide warm, sunny weather, but it also can provide cool, windy, rainy weather.

Even if weather were not a consideration, time probably does count for something, unless you have a couple of months to spend in Australia.

If you are limited to 2 or 3 weeks, as most travellers seem to be, then I think you would be well advised to zero in on a single region.

In the southern hemisphere summer, Tasmania is said to be a delightful place in which to observe Australian wildlife. I haven't been there myself, but that's what other Fodorites say.

I have experience of the Queensland coast in the southern hemisphere spring, and I can attest to the fact that it is awesome at that time.

If you're interested in travelling to Australia in October, I can highly recommend Queensland. But it is a huge state in its own right, and even it will require a considerable amount of research from you before you can decide where you want to go.

I think it would be helpful if you did more initial research on your own, so you could return here with more pointed questions.

Also, it was only by following your name to your other posts that I discovered you wanted to see nature, but you also wanted luxurious accommodation. That is a specialized market, and knowing that would affect the answers that posters would give you. So I think it would help everyone here if you were as specific about your wish list as possible.

It may help you to read Amanda_Chicago's trip report at:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34522150

She went in June / July, not in October. Still, she stayed in a couple of places that combined immersion in nature with luxury, e.g., Lizard Island. So this would give you some sense of what is available in Australia.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 01:06 AM
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There is a fairy penguin colony in Sydney harbour. But tourism of any sort is greatly discouraged as they have a fragile population. The National Parks and Wildlife are working hard to get them to thrive again and can get a bit over protective of them...but in the main I think most people respect that.

The best wildlife sightings I have enjoyed have always been accidental, a little hard sometimes for a tourist with limited time.

Having said that I have read travel journals of travellers who have managed to see more wildlife in a month that I have seen in 20 years! They researched a lot, must of !

You could go down the south coast from Sydney. Stop at Pebbly Beach (or any golf course) for Kangaroos then down to Narooma for a trip to Montague Island for Australian Fur Seals, Fairy Penguin and whale watching.

Kangaroo Island sure if famous for koala, isn't that the place they have eaten all the trees bare? I have neevr beent here though, when in SA never get past the wineries.

Jane_47 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 02:42 AM
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Shari - much of our wildlife is nocturnal and October/November in northern Australia is a wonderful time to find it. It's Spring, baby animals are being born, and the birdlife is in full mating and nesting force. Mostly, apart from chance encounters or road kill of kangaroos, wallabies and wombats, its not so easy to spot on your own - in North Queensland Wait A While takes small groups to Atherton Tableland and Daintree Rainforest for nocturnal widlife spottings and for a more personalised trip Jonathan Munro of Wild Watch is the man. Neither encourage wild life by providing feed, unfortunately there are still a few operators who do.
pat_woolford is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 05:38 AM
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Thank you all for your suggestions! My husband and I are aware that seeing wildlife is a roll of the dice. We respect and adore all wildlife. We have traveled to many places and have photographed them. I know that Australia is a huge place. I just wanted to know if there was a better place to see Koalas, Kangaroos, penguins, etc. Of course, it is all random, however, in Alaska you have a better chance of seeing them in Denalia, etc. because of the low brush. I was just looking for suggestions like that. Thanks for everything! I cannot wait to visit.
Shari is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 07:32 AM
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shari...A couple of great places for Aussie wildlife, off the beaten path a bit: Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland - kangaroos, platypses, emus, sugar gliders and possums to name a few (maybe the odd koala). The Warrumbungle Ranges in central NSW: lots of kangaroos and koalas. So many kangaroos around at dusk it looked like the Serengeti plains with 'roos instead of wildebeast!

Actually 'roos are not hard to see anytime in most of rural Australia, especially around dusk.
RalphR is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Shari, I should have mentioned that the penguin colony in Sydney, is in fact closely guarded by the National Parks & Wildlife Service. But I thought you might be interested in knowing, that sometimes penguins swim in the surf on the some of Sydney's beaches, but its very irregular.
As for seeing wildlife in its natural state, and not in a wildlife park, you have to get out of the cities.
The South Coast of NSW is a good place to see kangaroos, and if you stay at Murramarang Resort, the kangaroos sit on the lawns or in the shade of the trees around the villa cabins.
Then not that much further south, is Montague Island, off the coast from the seaside township of Narooma. They have day cruises to the island, and National Parks Officers will show you penguins, which often take cover in areas around the sealine rocks. Additionally, the cruise boat will take you to the rocks near Montague, where you can see the seals. If you stay at Narooma, then I would recommend eating at one of the restaurants perched over the water, at the Inlet.
A little bit further down the road from Narooma, is the quaint villages of Tilba Tilba and Central Tilba.
Back towards Sydney, is a place called Jervis Bay...drive to the Jervis Bay National Park to an area called Greenpatch (late afternoon) where rainbow lorrikeets and crimson rosella birds will land on your head looking for some food. Close by is a location called Hyams Beach...have a swim in blue clear water, and white sandy beach, then have breakfast at Hyams Beach General Store Cafe.
As you can see, it is quite possible to see most of the animals that you have mentioned, by driving down the south coast of NSW, and all within close driving range.
tropo is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 02:44 AM
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Ahhh Tropo, I love your posts about the south coast, right on my doorstep and still never get enough of it. Keep wondering if I have bias lol.
Jane_47 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 06:07 AM
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Yes. Australia certainly has a plentiful supply of kangaroos, that's why many of them end up as pet food or road kill. That doesn't mean you'll see them everywhere and its just a shame they weren't utilised as meat by our British forebears. These soft-footed creatures are well adapted to the land - the imported cloven footed cattle and sheep with their propensity to tear grasses out from its roots have done untold damage to the country in terms of soil erosion. And kangaroo meat is virtually fat-free, good for humans and pets - the better cuts are available for humans.
pat_woolford is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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It sounds like the original poster and I have a lot in common. I also am interested in seeing a lot of wildlife, like luxury accommodations, and am trying to figure out the best time to go. We were planning to go to N. QLD and the GBR. I was originally thinking of going in August as the weather will be relatively cool that time of year on the mainland but I was reading some postings that during the winter the GBR can be very choppy. If I postpone until Oct or later, however, then I need to worry about stingers? (Are they out on the outlying islands? eg., So if I were to fork over the cash and stay at Lizard Island there wouldn't be any?)

Thanks in advance for your advice!
Joni
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Oct 27th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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I've never heard of stingers out as far as Lizard - last year irukandjis (not box jelly fish)were found on Fitzroy Island, but Fitzroy is a continental island not far from the coast where they breed. I was at Trinity Beach, near Cairns yesterday, the stinger nets were not out which means that there's been no sightings so far. Very light stinger suits are available and not a bad idea if only to protect from summer sun. However the crocodiles are on the move - a very lucky escape for some campers up in remote north when a 12' plus croc entered tent and grabbed sleeping camper by legs - several days ago some swimmers encountered a 15' monster just off shore near popular Mission Beach. It just checked them out and swam away, how lucky were they. So take croc warning signs seriously - rangers will place them on beaches where there's been sightings, and close the beach. This didn't stop some tourists last year, swimming right behind a warning sign (3 languages, large illustration of snapping croc), when questioned by lifeguards they said they thought the sign was a joke!
pat_woolford is offline  
Oct 28th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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I second RalphR's suggestion about Carnarvon Gorge because it is something of a "hidden treasure" in Australia and you will see, meet and be overwhelmed with wildlife there and especially around October/November.
If you were interested in doing a trip mainly to see animals then may I suggest a bit of a Queensland tour starting in perhaps the Cairns/Port Douglas region and check out some of the world's most interesting and remote animals there i.e. the Lemoriod Possum, the tree climbing Kangaroo and other nocturnal wonderful critters with perhaps some of the people the Pat can tell you about. Come further down the coast of Queensland and visit Heron Island before taking a trip out to Carnarvon Gorge for a different experience and then return to Hervey Bay for the Whale experience, come further down the coast and visit Tangalooma on Stradbroke Island for dolphins and walk through the park south of Brisbane which boasts 5,000 Koalas in residence. However before thinking only of Australia's animals remember that we have, together with Brasil, 2/3 or the World's birds, most of which live with us in our suburbs and are abundant & without the need for going anywhere special to see them. I have for instance in my garden, King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas, Pale Headed Rosellas, Scaly Breasted Rosellas, Rainbow lorikeets, Gallahs, White Cockatoos, Black Cockatoos and a noisy and over-sexed Satin Bower Bird who continues to pinch everyone's blue items and adorn his bower with them. He does his wonderful courting dance several times a day and just outside my family room. Some really stupid Australians even have parrots for pets. I can attest to this as we have two of these dreadful and badly behaved things one of which will, if he is so inclined, sing while I play a miniature violin for him. The border ranges between Queensland and New South Wales are also a wonderful place for wildlife as well as other attractions.
lizF is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 11:43 AM
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Do stingers go out to Heron Island or is it too far away? And how is the weather there in Oct/Nov? Is the water too cold and if so, are wetsuits provided by the hotel?

Liz I love your comments about the birds as this is my main interest in coming to Australia. It must be pretty cool to have parrots and bower birds in your yard! In Southern California I generally see only LBJ's (Little Brown Jobs) and am excited when I see something as colorful as an oriole. Once I did have a budgie in my yard but it was an escapee that someone kept as a pet! (And I agree that these birds are best left uncaged;if nothing else their vocal cords alone are meant to be heard from across the rainforest, not across the room!)

Joni
JoniC is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 04:59 PM
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The wild parrots also look a lot better than the drabber caged specimens - the big, gleaming white sulphur-crested cockatoos around my place (in Canberra) are proof of that. Likewise the common galah, which in the wild have very healthy-looking rose-pink and grey plumage.

BTW, we used to have a rosella in the neighbourhood that could emulate a standard mobile phone ring well enough to fool people.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Pat W...

There really doesn't seem to be any limit to stupidity in some people, does there???
margo_oz is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2004, 06:33 PM
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>>>>>>There really doesn't seem to be any limit to stupidity in some people, does there???<<<<<<

Living in croc country as she does, Pat probably could start a second business recruiting &%$#@ (not very smart people) for villages that lack them.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2004, 12:47 AM
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Its getting worse! Rather than complain about Cairns not having its own beach I think everyone should be grateful. Two days ago a 2.5metre croc decided to check out the tourists right on shore, smack bang in the middle of the city. He hung around all day, and of course attracted hundreds of surprised tourists. The rangers festooned the entire area with the afore-mentioned very explicit croc warning signs - less than 24 hours later a 31year old male was observed, ignominiously stuck in the mud flats - he'd decided to take a swim in the ocean, right in front of the stinger and croc proof lagoon, and had to be rescued. Fortunately, for him, the croc had moved on. The next day another 2.5 croc(perhaps the same one) caused a traffic jam sunbaking on the side of the only road to Cairns airport.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 4th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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Thanks to most of the posters on here. You have been more than helpful. I am going to compare what you suggested with my notes and map. Take care!
Shari is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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JonicC - I have never heard of stingers in the water around Heron Island. Heron is a long way out to sea, in comparison to the continental islands near Cairns.The Irukandijis, is a jellyfish, similar to the box jelly fish, and its sting can cause immense pain, so muchs so, that medical staff have to administer morphine in large doses. Also no crocs at Heron either. If you like migratory seabirds in the hundreds, then you will like Heron Island, one of natures gems. The water temp's are just great at the moment. I live in Hervey Bay, south of Heron Island, and I have been swimming right through winter, and the water in the Bay is probably around 23-24 degrees celius. The locals tell me it gets to around 26 degrees.
The islands of the Capricorn/Bunker Group (of which Heron island is part of)
usually have "high visibility" in the water, for scuba/snorkelling, again to do with their distance from the mainland. If you needed a wetsuit, then they are provided at most islands where diving is popular.
tropo is offline  

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