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Gulf Country Outback Queensland Birds & Wildlife

Unforgettable excursion into the varied habitats of Queensland’s arid north-west

Gulf Country Outback Queensland Birds & Wildlife
Budgerigars - Alfred Schulte
Tour name
Gulf Country Outback Queensland Birds & Wildlife
Fully Booked
15 days

Join us for an unforgettable guided wildlife and birding tour into the many and varied habitats of Queensland’s Gulf Country and arid north-west.


Join Inala Nature Tours for an unforgettable excursion into the many and varied habitats of Queensland’s Gulf Country and arid north-west. We expect the region will be crawling with life, and out on the spinifex plains and eucalypt-lined creeks we can expect to see big flocks of Budgerigar and Cockatiel, mixed flocks of finches like Long-tailed, Masked, Zebra and Plum-headed Finch as well as Pictorella Mannikin and Painted Firetail. In pandanus-fringed riparian waterways and rocky, sandstone gorges we’ll look for Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, Buff-sided Robin and Sandstone Shrike-thrush, plus the added possibility of Grey Falcon. Mangrove forests along the Gulf Coast should yield Red-headed Honeyeater, Broad-billed Flycatcher, White-breasted & Mangrove Golden Whistlers & Arafura Fantail. And that’s not mentioning the grasswrens, the likes of which include Kalkadoon, Carpentarian and Rusty Grasswren on this itinerary. Add to that a good chance of Rufous-crowned Emu-wren as well as White-winged, Red-backed and Purple-backed Fairywrens, and this tour certainly delivers a fair punch in terms of an amazing variety of birds and wildlife.


Price includes: All accommodation as per the itinerary, specialist guide and transport, meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the above itinerary. (These prices are based on the current rate of GST and may need to be adjusted if there are significant changes)


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.

Additional information

Discount: We would be pleased to offer a $200 per person twin share discount for participants who choose to join both Cape York and Gulf Country Queensland sections.

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.

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Itinerary download

Download the itinerary brochure for the Gulf Country Outback Queensland Birds & Wildlife tour.

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Here's what you'll see and do on the Gulf Country Outback Queensland Birds & Wildlife tour.

Day 1: Arrive Cairns
Map of Gulf Country Outback Queensland Birds & Wildlife tour

Today we will arrive at Cairns to settle into our accommodation before a welcome dinner where you will meet your guide and the rest of the group. Own arrangements for flights, airport transfers and activities today. 

Accommodation: Cairns (en suite motel rooms)

Meals included: D

Day 2: Cairns - Georgetown
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo - Karen Dick

This morning we will depart Cairns and head west out into the drier country towards Georgetown. Birds we’ll hope to see en route include Red-tailed Blackcockatoo, Apostlebird, Cockatiel, Spotted Harrier, Wedgetailed Eagle, Emu, Brown-backed Honeyeater, Dollarbird, Brown Treecreeper and White-throated Honeyeater.

Accommodation: Georgetown (en suite motel rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 3: Georgetown to Karumba
Weebill - Alfred Schulte

This morning we’ll have a look around a dam near Georgetown which is famous for the finches that come to drink early morning. Here we hope to connect with Blackthroated, Masked, Plum-headed (rare), Zebra and Doublebarred Finches, as well as Pictorella & Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and the very rare Gouldian Finch if we’re really lucky. Other woodland birds here include Rufous-throated, Yellow-tinted, Banded, Bar-breasted, Grey-fronted and Bluefaced Honeyeaters, Varied Lorikeet, Pale-headed Rosella, Redbrowed Pardalote, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Brown Treecreeper, Spinifex Pigeon, Diamond Dove, Paperbark Flycatcher and Black-chinned Honeyeater. Waterbirds may include Black Bittern, Comb-crested Jacana, Green Pygmygoose, Hardhead, Plumed Whistling-duck and Australasian Grebe. From here we will drive west from Georgetown along the Savannah Way, looking to see birds like Sarus Crane, Brolga, Black-necked Stork, Australian Pratincole, Emu, Weebill and White-browed & Masked Woodswallows.

Accommodation: Karumba (en suite rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 4: Karumba
Australian Bustard - Alfred Schulte

We’ll explore the extensive mangroves and swampy grasslands in Karumba today. The habitat here holds a few species we won’t have connected with yet including Whitebreasted Whistler, Mangrove Golden Whistler, Broad-billed Flycatcher, Yellow White-eye, Mangrove Gerygone, Mangrove Grey Fantail, Arafura Fantail, Red-headed Honeyeater, Mangrove Robin and Rufous-throated Honeyeater. In adjacent grassland flats there are Sarus Crane, Tawny Grassbird, the rare Zitting Cisticola, and the difficult to find Star Finch, which is more tied to freshwater environments around Karumba. Along roadsides and in wetlands and open habitats between Karumba and Normanton we have the chance of Australian Bustard, Australian Pratincole, Radjah Shelduck, Glossy Ibis and the possibility of an over-wintering Oriental Plover or two. At night we’ll try to locate one of the resident pairs of Barking Owl.

Accommodation: Karumba (en suite rooms).

Meals included: B L D

Day 5: Karumba to Burketown
Black-breasted buzzard - Alfred Schulte

After a morning birding around Karumba we'll set off again, this time heading for Burketown, and of course we will stop to bird along the way. Birds: Brolga, Sarus Crane, Red-backed Fairy-Wren, Black-breasted Buzzard, Red-browed Pardalote, Striated Pardalote (black-headed race uropygialis), Ground Cuckoo-shrike, Little Woodswallow, White-throated Gerygone.

Accommodation: Burketown (en suite cabins)

Meals included: B L D

Day 6: Burketown to Boodjamulla National Park (Lawn Hill)
Little Woodswallow - Karen Dick

It's only 207 km from Burketown to Adel's Grove but it will probably take at least 5-6 hrs to travel as it's fairly rough. Along this section we'll see similar birds to yesterday, but there will be a range of sought after specialties at Boodjamulla NP, and we'll base ourselves here for the next two nights. Birds we will aim to see here include Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, Buff-sided Robin, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, Long-tailed & Crimson Finch, Silver-crowned Friarbird, White-gaped Honeyeater, Pictorella Mannikin, Varied & Red-collared Lorikeet, Northern Fantail, Azure Kingfisher, Little Woodswallow and Paperbark Flycatcher.

Accommodation: near Boodjamulla National Park (en suite cabins).

Meals included: B L D

Day 7: Boodjamulla National Park
Red-winged Parrot - Alfred Schulte

We will spend a full day of birding around this prime location, looking for the aforementioned species, plus others like Northern Rosella, Red-winged Parrot, Great Bowerbird, White-throated, Grey-fronted, Grey-headed, Black-chinned (Golden-backed race laetior), Brown and Yellow-tinted Honeyeaters, Variegated & Red-backed Fairy-Wrens, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike and the possibility of the very rare Grey Falcon.

Accommodation: near Boodjamulla National Park (en suite cabins)

Meals included: B L D

Day 8: Boodjamulla National Park to Mt Isa 
Sunset over Mt Isa - Alfred Schulte

After a final morning's birding in Boodjamulla NP we'll commence our journey to the somewhat more arid country around the mining town of Mt Isa, where we'll be based for the next three nights. We'll need a bit more time here to search for the regional specialties, the hardest of which are the Kalkadoon and Carpentarian Grasswrens. 

Accommodation: Mount Isa (en suite rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 9: Mount Isa area
Red-backed Kingfisher - Alfred Schulte

Today we'll commence our search for the region's specialties with one of the harder to find birds - the Kalkadoon Grasswren. This is a tough and possibly arduous task, so we will need to set out early before the heat of the day kicks in. The Kalkadoon Grasswren occurs in Spinifex-clad hillsides strewn with large boulders so some nimble-footedness will help here. With some luck we can see them singing from atop a boulder. Also here, may be Grey-headed Honeyeater, Diamond Dove, Red-backed Kingfisher and Little Woodswallow. At around midday we'll head back to town for lunch, after which we will drive to a nearby Lake to look for a range of aquatic and woodland birds like Wandering Whistling-Duck, Glossy Ibis, Black-necked Stork, Intermediate Egret, Pacific Black Duck, White-eyed Duck, Black-tailed Treecreeper, Painted & Long-tailed Finch, Pictorella Mannikin, Bar-breasted Honeyeater, Varied Lorikeet, Little Friarbird and Rainbow Bee-eater.

Accommodation: Mount Isa (en suite rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 10: Mount Isa area
Zebra Finch - Dennis Braddy

Our target today will be the critically endangered Carpentarian Grasswren, and in order to see this bird we'll need to drive north west of Mount Isa to a well-known location for this increasingly difficult to find species. We'll try in several locations along the route and with some good fortune will have found the bird before the heat of the day kicks in. Other species here include Grey-headed Honeyeater, Painted Finch, Hooded Robin and Square-tailed Kite. Travel back to Mt Isa for lunch plus some more birding in the region. Additional chance of Kalkadoon Grasswren if needed.

Accommodation: Mount Isa (en suite rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 11: Mount Isa to Winton
Varied Lorikeet - Alfred Schulte

With a bit of time up our sleeves we can bird the morning around Mt Isa to look for any birds we may be missing, and after lunch will head towards Cloncurry. Birds we can expect to see today include Australian Ringneck (local race macgillivrayi, "Cloncurry Parrot"), Varied Lorikeet, Cockatiel, Little Corella, Galah, Budgerigar, Ground Cuckoo-shrike, Emu, Little Crow, Apostlebird, Spotted Bowerbird, White-plumed Honeyeater and Black Falcon.

Accommodation: Winton (en suite rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 12: Winton area
Mistletoebird - Alfred Schulte

  We will visit a nearby National Park and have the whole day to look for a few species associated with Spinifex grasslands. We are on the edge of a range of species here that rely on this habitat type. Birds we are searching for today include Spinifexbird, Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, Spinifex Pigeon, Hall’s Babbler, Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, Painted Finch, Black Honeyeater, Pink-eared Duck, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Yellow-throated Miner, Mistletoebird, Black-tailed Native Hen and Red-browed Pardalote.

Accommodation: Winton (en suite rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 13: Winton to Charters Towers
Painted Finch - A. Browne

Today will involve a bit of travelling as we make our way back towards Cairns; however we can stop for birding en route.

Accommodation: Charters Towers (en suite rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 14: Charters Towers to Cairns
Plum-headed Finch - Alfred Schulte

Today we will continue our journey back to Cairns, stopping for birds en route.

Accommodation: Cairns (en suite rooms)

Meals included: B L D

Day 15: (= Day 1 of Cape York Queensland Tour) - Depart Cairns
Cloncurry Ringneck - Alfred Schulte

Depart Cairns this morning or for those joining the Cape York Tour, you will meet the rest of the group at the welcome dinner tonight in Cairns.  

Accommodation: none

Meals Included: B

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