Have you been dreaming of an outback birding adventure?
Well pack your bags and migrate to a birder’s paradise,
making NT Bird Specialists part of your BIG year.
TO HELP MAKE YOUR TRIP PLANNING FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
SMOOTHER, HERE ARE SOME TIPS AND ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY
Birdwatching in Darwin and the Top End is always superb, so it depends on what you want to see and places you want to access. Darwin and Australia’s ‘Top End’ undergoes dramatic seasonal changes throughout it’s annual tropical wet/dry monsoon cycle.
April - May
June – August
Bush birding is very rewarding in northern Australia’s dry warm ‘winter months’
October - November
We rise early to beat the heat and you’ll be rewarded with great views of birds coming in for their morning activity. A small inland water hole or creek is a perfect place to sit and wait for thirsty parrots, doves and finches to come in for a drink. Masses of water birds can be seen noisily congregating around shrinking water bodies. Monsoon forests and rock shelters provide cooler relief for Rainbow Pitta, fruit doves, shrike-thrush, owls and rock wallabies.
December – March
Our accommodated option is a comfortable standard ensuite room with air-conditioning. Hotel rooms and service standards differ between locations and may not be quite as high in remote locations as you may be used to. In some regions we have access to high end and luxury lodges, which you may request for private tours and custom itineraries.
Our camping option includes a single elevated stretcher tent, pillow, pillowcase, sheets and a self-inflating mattress. You may want to bring a lightweight sleeping bag for Dry Season nights. A single supplement applies for night 1 of camping tours only if staying in a Darwin hotel (when stated in itinerary).
NT Bird Specialists respects the natural and cultural assets found in the environment we are lucky enough to operate in. We aim to minimise food packaging, rubbish and waste and have palm-oil free menus. We support local and indigenous-owned businesses. Our tours follow minimal impact principles, including ethical bird watching and photography guidelines. Our vehicles are modern and fuel efficient.
Our Sri Lanka tours practise low impact sustainable tourism principles.
We employ local guides and eat at local restaurants with local meals. We do not feed wildlife on our tours or engage in activities that can be harmful to wildlife.
Darwin has a wide range of short and day touring options, along with many local attractions and seasonal events. We’re happy to provide suggestions and refer professional services where appropriate for pre and post touring activities. We can package other experiences on request.
Single travellers can choose to join a group tour (single supplement and minimum guest payments apply) or book a private or custom tour.
It really depends on your budget and what is available at your preferred time of travel.
Please let us know if you are a single traveller willing to share a twin room with other guests (no single supplement applies), and we will let you know if anyone is interested to share with you.
Sri Lanka tours have a triple share option.
Family rooms may also be available on request and subject to availability.
Generally speaking, walks are between 0.5-3 km and up to 6 km on longer tours. You may book a private tour for a more strenuous itinerary with difficult grading tours. Walks vary from easy to moderate (relatively flat with the occasional walks up to lookouts or rocky steps). We recommend a private charter for those who would find this difficult or have limited mobility. Please note our vehicles are not wheelchair accessible but have space for a frame or walking stick. Please advise us of any special needs or requests at the time of booking. We will try to accommodate your needs and/or requests where possible.
We recommend that you take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy prior to departure of our tour, which covers you for the duration of our tour. Travel Insurance is not included in your tour price. NT Bird Specialists recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance that includes (without limitation) coverage for: accidental death, medical expenses, loss/damage to personal belongings and luggage, water and land-based activities, and airfare/travel disruption due to reasons beyond yours or our control.
Comprehensive Travel insurance is compulsory on our Sri Lanka Tours.
Please provide your travel insurance details at the time of booking.
Yes, we have a car fridge to keep them cool. We travel in remote areas with limited medical facilities so please come prepared and make our team aware of anything essential we should know to keep you well. Our team is trained with Senior and remote first aid.
We can cater to vegetarian, vegan, coeliac or allergies if we are notified at least 7 days prior to tour departure *We will do or best to assist if notification is within 3 days of departure. Our meals consist of fresh and healthy foods, continental breakfasts, hot buffet breakfast and picnic lunches. **Please note, we do not specifically cater for ‘fad diets’** Guests are welcome to bring small amounts of personal food with them that we can keep cool.
Breakfasts and lunches are mainly eaten outdoors on location whilst we bird watch. Dinners will be eaten in restaurants close to the nightly accommodation but occasionally we cook.
On Sri Lankan tours, we eat hearty buffet-style (mix of Western and Sri Lankan cuisines) and home-cooked lodge meals. We occasionally eat at clean roadside stops in small towns. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.
Unless it’s a private tour, everybody has the same access to all seats. Seat rotation is most welcome and encouraged on group tours.
* Our 1 day tours commence pick up at 7am.
* Our multi-day tours commence at 6:30 – 7 am.
* Our photography tours pick up time is announced closer to the touring date.
Our tours depart early so we can make the most of prime bird and wildlife watching opportunities in the early morning.
All tours aim to get back in by 5:00 – 5:30 pm on the final day of tour.
We recommend you book at least one night’s accommodation in the destination where your tour ends, and fly out the following day to allow for any unforeseen circumstances. Flights are not included in the tour price. Shuttle buses and taxi are available around Darwin to Darwin International Airport.
There are a couple of locations where laundry facilities are available on longer tours. WiFi is growing in coverage but limited or absent in some remote regions. Most townships have ‘Telstra’ sim card signal. Victoria River has a public phone which accepts Telstra phone cards.
Every effort will be made to provide access to power when camping for charging phones/batteries etc… We often use a surge-protected powerboard or inverters over night. Portable battery chargers with Australian plug and USB sockets are available in the vehicle.
All ensuite rooms have power.
What to bring:
- It’s advisable to travel with a soft overnight bag or small suitcase on group tours. Most hotels offer luggage storage for those retuning to the same destination.
- Binoculars (we have a few pairs to share)
- Spotting Scope (shared use available)
- Camera, tripod, spare batteries
- Australian/Sri Lankan charger/adaptors
- Sunscreen SPF 50+ and polaroid sunglasses
- Insect repellent
- Long-sleeved, light-weight clothing
- Swim wear
- Light-weight sleeping bag (for camping option)
- Wide-brimmed hat
- Sturdy walking shoes and slip on sandals
- 1 litre water bottle (you should drink 3 litres of water per day in the tropics).
- Drink bottles can be refilled regularly form our vehicles
- Light jacket
- Waterproof jacket
- Personal nedications
- *Passport and international bank cards for Sri Lanka tours
You may request airport transfers from the team at NT Bird Specialists subject to availability or build it into your tour. Airport drop off can also be arranged in advance.
You can also take a short taxi ride or shuttle bus to Darwin from Darwin International Airport. Kununurra and Broome airport transfers are a short ride from hotels.
If your journey requires airport parking, you may like to visit FlyParks to compare prices and book easily online.
To deliver personalised tours, advertised group sizes remain small, usually 2-4 or 5-8 passengers in a comfortable air-conditioned 4WD or modern mini-van. We join larger public groups when travelling on some boat cruises. Private tours can have 1-11 guests – If larger groups wish to book, please contact us to discuss options.
Private boat cruises are booked on request and subject to availability.
Our tours require a minimum 2, 3 or 4-guest payment to depart (depending on itinerary).
Scheduled group photography tours: 3-6 guests, bird watching tours: 3/4-8.
Sri Lanka Itineraries have 6-10 guests plus NT Bird Specialists tour leaders.