Western Australian Birding Tour Operators

Australian Ornithological Services (Philip Maher)
94 Hunter Street
Deniliquin NSW 2710
Phone/Fax : 03 9820 4223
http://www.philipmaher.com
enquiries@philipmaher.com

Phil mainly organises tours of the Eastern states, but in 1997 he organised a south west tour which I accompanied.  Phil has the best ability that I have seen for finding birds and he always has extensive research for every area that he visits.  In 1998 he had a tour to Ashmore Reef, a Kimberley tour and a south west tour.

Birding South West (Peter Taylor)
3/13 Young Street
Manjimup WA 6258
Phone : 08 9772 4788 Mobile : 0428 345 245
http://birding-southwest.mysouthwest.com.au
birdingsw@westnet.com.au

Peter runs half day and full day tours mainly from Pemberton, Manjimup and Bridgetown specialising in small groups and focusing on local endemic species.

Birdwatching Aficionados (Jonny Schoenjahn)
1 Elimatta Way
City Beach WA 6015
Phone : 08 9385 9939 Fax : 08 9385 9801
http://www.users.bigpond.com/jonnybird
jonnybird@bigpond.com

Jonny lived in Broome for 9 years before moving to Perth.  He will organise an individual birding tour for you anywhere in Australia.

Broome Bird Observatory
PO Box 1313
Broome WA 6725
Phone : 08 9193 5600 Fax : 08 9192 3364
http://www.broomebirdobservatory.com
bbo@birdsaustralia.com.au

If you are a serious birder or you simply want a quiet place to relax, then you must stay at the BBO when you visit Broome.  They have a variety of accommodation ranging from a chalet, to rooms, to powered and unpowered camp sites.  They operate a few two and a half hour tours in the Broome area which are the best way to become familiar with the birds and the birding areas around Broome.  They have three or four one week 'courses' each year.  They regularly cannon net waders as part of a long term study and they always welcome helpers.  The BBO is operated as a non profit organisation by Birds Australia and the current manager is Ricki Coughlan.  See the Broome Bird Observatory's web page for more details about the BBO and my page for birding sites near Broome.  If you enjoy Broome then become a Friend of the BBO.

CALM Landscope Expeditions
UWA Extension
University of Western Australia
Nedlands WA 6907
Phone : 08 9380 2433 Fax : 08 9380 1066
http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/landscopeexpeditions

The Department of Conservation and Land Management and the University of Western Australia Extension have combined to organise tours to remote areas of Western Australia.  These are tours where you assist CALM scientists with their studies of rare fauna or flora.  The tours include the Great Victoria Desert, Gibson Desert, Shark Bay and the Kimberley.  Many of the tours (especially to the Kimberley) are led by Kevin Coate and/or Kevin Kenneally.  These are not 'birding' tours but they enable access to remote areas that are otherwise very difficult to get to.  See their web page for a list of tours.

Kevin Coate

Kevin established Coate's Wildlife Tours.  He has sold the company and now chooses which tours that he wants to go on.  He still leads some of the tours for Coate's Wildlife Tours including Christmas & Cocos Islands and the Abrolhos Islands.  He also leads the Kimberley tours for Landscope Expeditions.  He occasionally organises tours for WA Naturalists Club, the Bird Observers Club of Australia and the Kimberley Society.  Kevin is the best WA naturalist that I know, and his knowledge of birds, mammals, flora and reptiles is very extensive, and he has a very keen interest in the history of the areas that he visits.  Kevin smiles from dawn to dusk and you will be assured of a very enjoyable trip if he is the leader.

Coate's Wildlife Tours
PO Box 64
Bullcreek WA 6149
Phone : 08 9455 6611 Fax : 08 9455 6621
http://www.coateswildlifetours.com.au
coates@iinet.net.au

They organise natural history tours to many parts of Western Australia and to Christmas Island and Cocos Island.  Only some of the tours are strictly for birding, but they are all to interesting areas of the state where birds would be of interest.  In particular they have a tour to the Abrolhos Islands (usually in early December) which corresponds with the breeding of large numbers of terns, noddies and shearwaters.  The company was established by Kevin Coate, but it has been sold a few times over the years and is now operated by Tom and Sylvia Grove.

Eyre Bird Observatory
Cocklebiddy
via Norseman WA 6443
Phone : 08 9039 3440 Fax : 08 9039 3450
http://www.eyrebirds.org/observatories/index.htm

The Eyre Bird Observatory is located behind sand dunes on the Great Australian Bight near Cocklebiddy.  It was the site of a former telegraph station.  It is operated as a non profit organisation by Birds Australia.  The accommodation is shared rooms in the old telegraph station and is fully catered.  The water is scarce as the only source is rain water, and the power is mainly from solar power.  Despite this it is a fantastic remote and relaxing place far away from television, radio and newspapers.  The bird list is extensive although mostly vagrants but it is a great place to look for Pink Cockatoo, Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, Malleefowl, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Southern Scrub-robin, Shy Heathwren, etc and on a walk along the beach you could see New Zealand Fur Seal, Australian Sea-lion or Southern Right Whale.

Kimberley Birdwatching (George Swann)
PO Box 220
Broome WA 6725
Phone/Fax : 08 9192 1246
http://www.kimberleybirdwatching.com.au/
kimbird@tpg.com.au

George has been operating tours of the Kimberley for many years and knows the whole area well from Anna Plains Station, Cape Leveque, Derby, Gibb River Road, Mitchell Plateau, Kununurra, Wyndham, Bungle Bungles, Fitzroy River and the Napier Ranges.  He mostly caters for groups of one to four people and will organise the trip to look specifically for the birds that you wish to see.  In recent years he has included a boat trip around the Kimberley coast, and to Ashmore Reef.

Kimberley Coastal Camp (Rob & Liz Terry)
PO Box 3402
Broome WA 6725
Phone/Fax : 08 9161 4410 Mobile 0417 902 006
http://www.kimberleycoastalcamp.com.au
kimberleycc@bigpond.com

The Kimberley Coastal Camp is located on the eastern side of Port Warrender just east of the Mitchell Plateau.  They cater for up to eight guests. Rob & Liz are not naturalists but they know the area very well and they will go out of their way to take you to the best areas such as the tidal creeks, rainforest patches, etc.  The main attraction for people is the fishing.  The meals are superb with barramundi and mud crabs being the main diet with the occasional rock oyster.  It's a hard life!  Access is mainly by seaplane from Kununurra, but you can arrange for a helicopter or boat from the Mitchell Plateau.  Most of the hard to find Kimberley birds can be found in the close vicinity.  They are arranging for a bird week each year in cooperation with George Swann.  This will maximise your chances of finding the particular species that you want.  The mammals in the area are a major highlight.  You can't swim in the ocean because of the abundant crocodiles and sharks, but they have a small pool that is most welcome.  The only problem are the sand flies.

Kimberley Ecotours Australia
PO Box 105
Kununurra WA 6743
Phone : 08 9168 2083

This used to be operated by Russell Gueho who now lives in Broome.  These tours are now run by Triple J Tours.  I don't know much about the tours, but the early morning boat cruise on Lake Kununurra has been recommended to me.

Kirrama Wildlife Tours (Klaus Uhlenhut)
PO Box 1400
Innisfail North Queensland 4860
Phone : 07 4065 5181 Fax : 07 4065 5197
http://www.kirrama.com.au

http://www.ausbird.com
kirrama@znet.net.au

Klaus mainly organises tours of far north Queensland, but in most years he organises a tour from Darwin to Kununurra with a helicopter flight to the Mitchell Plateau to find the Black Grasswren.  A flight over the north Kimberley is something that everyone should do at least once.  He also organises a 12 day tour in March to the south west.

Lake Argyle Cruises
PO Box 1310
Kununurra WA 6743
Phone : 08 9168 7687 Fax : 08 9168 7461
http://www.lakeargyle.com
cruise@lakeargyle.com

This is a trip that should not be missed if you are visiting Kununurra.  Stephen operates a half day trip on Lake Argyle and the upper Ord River near the south end of the lake.  It is not specifically a birding or even a natural history trip, but if you tell him that you are interested in birds he will go out of his way to find species such as Yellow Chat (if they are present), Purple-crowned Fairy-wren and the waterbirds and shorebirds.  The Yellow Chats used to almost be a certainty but they were absent for most of 1998 until October (possibly moved to Broome?), but even without this highlight this is a trip that you will remember especially in the wet season.

Naturaliste Charters (Terri & Steve Mitchell)
Lot 2688 McLachlan Road
Yallingup WA 6282
Phone : 08 9755 2276 or 018 938 056
http://www.whales-australia.com
info@whales-australia.com

They operate deep sea fishing, whale watching and diving trips out of Augusta from June to early September and out of Dunsborough from September to early December.  The boat is their 16 metre (50 foot) MV Naturaliste Lady.  I haven't been on these trips but they must be a good opportunity to see seabirds, and some day I hope to check out the possibility of organising a pelagic trip.

North West Safaris (Peter Kelly)
PO Box 1084
Mossman Queensland 4871
Phone : 07 4094 2000
http://www.northwest-australian-safaris.com.au
safaris@northwest-australian-safaris.com.au

They operate 4WD tours to the remotest areas in Australia including many places in Western Australia such as the Tanami, Canning Stock Route, north Kimberley, Rudall River, Great Victoria Desert, Gunbarrel Highway, etc.

Turnstone Nature Discovery (Chris Hassell)
PO Box 3089
Broome WA 6725
Phone : 08 9192 8585
http://www.globalflywaynetwork.com.au/
turnstone@wn.com.au

Chris has been a warden of the Broome Bird Observatory.  Chris and Adrian Boyle used to run full and half day bird tours in the Broome region, and short tours further afield.  They both have a keen interest in banding and in finding the local rarities.  Chris is now occupied with monitoring the migratory shorebirds as part of the Global Flyway Network, and his tour business is on hold, but he can help you with information.

 

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2008 Visits Last Modified 26th September 2008