Ground truths from our guests
Corinne, 9 Day Photo tour 2022: One of the Greatest Birding Experiences Ever!Hi Luke and Sarah, Just wanted to let you know how fabulous the recent photography bird tour with Luke was. Luke is an amazing guide, with phenomenal knowledge of birds and their calls, and an ability to find them without the constant call-back which many guides use. He is sensitive to all his guests and their various interests, and works very hard to keep every one happy. The catering was extremely good, exceptionally well planned and organised by Sarah, and well executed by Luke. I know that a lot of hard work and thought goes into that side of the trip, and it was much appreciated. Our last morning at the Timber Creek waterhole was one of the greatest birding experiences ever, with huge numbers of budgies and finches. I still get a high just thinking about it. Many thanks, Corinne
Denis VIC, 7 Day Finch Frenzy 2022Thanks again for a wonderful tour. One of the most outstanding experiences of my life. I've also attached a link to a short video I've uploaded to YouTube https://youtu.be/AvG3BhM4FbM
Greg 4 Day Kakadu Birdwatching Tour 2022I went on this tour with my 12 year old son who is a keen birder and I have to say that even as a non-birder it was the best tour I have been on. Luke was amazing in not only spotting birds but taking the time out to be engaging, funny and educational while literally spotting and knowing where all the best birding and nature spots are. My son didn't want the trip to end and wants to book the 10 day tour ASAP. I couldn't recommend Luke more! Will definitely be back.
“You do a great job! Thanks so much”Thank you. I most enjoyed seeing owls, pratincole, so much water in Fogg Dam and consequently so many wonderful bird, great food, great company.
“Kakadu Bird Week 2017”Just sending a quick note from Peter & myself thanking you for an experience we will continue to talk about for a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the birds over half of which I would have completely missed had I tried to observe them by doing the walks solo. One of my highlights was definitely the Rainbow Pitta. I was also wrapped with the Black Bittern and Pete got a good photo of this on the Yellow Water morning cruise. We are putting the photos together now and my favourite keeps changing. Peter is still joking about the elusive Yellow Chat ... we were hoping that one may have jumped in our suitcase for a free flight to Sydney but alas this wasn't the case. The whole trip culminated in winning the helicopter ride which Pete kindly gave to me. For a laugh I've attached a photo....zoom in on Pete's pocket if you can... LOL. Thanks again for a fabulous time and we will keep an eye out for other up and coming "NT Bird Specialists" tours. All the best.
“The organisation was comprehensive and excellent”We booked because we found the package listing attractive. Luke is a very passionate, knowledgeable, considerate guide and the most pleasant company during the tour. He spared no pains to make our visit to the NT memorable and set and met goals way above our expectations. Well catered too. Luke was not only a kind, friendly person, but also patient and able to keep varying levels of backgrounds and ability engaged and enjoying the experience at an appropriate level. We enjoyed covering so much ground not only birds but also such a wide and varied range of NT so that one is eager to return and keep enjoying the NT experience.
“Recommended by a friend”Luke’s knowledge was extraordinary. It was lovely to see familiar Darwin places in a new light with his guidance.
“A complete package”Potential species – birds, mammals, reptile, and reputation of Luke made us book. The pace, the comfortable relationship, knowledge of wildlife and the country was great.
We spent two days with Luke & Sarah in Kakadu and had a great time as well as being a successful birding outing. They are so friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile to satisfy their client's wishes. They are obliging - Luke & Sarah constructed a tour to meet our time constraints, preferred locations, and particular birds we were after. The food was top quality, generous and well presented. Luke's birding skills are impressive and they both have so much knowledge of the cultural significance of the area and the history and all the wildlife and plants.
“Our guide was excellent”The expertise and patience of our guide was excellent. The choice of sites seemed (to a novice birder) very good, and beautiful as well. I loved the most active pieces of the daily schedule, along with the sightings.
“I would recommend this tour to anyone”I have been on many guided tours throughout the world and this one was absolutely stunning an outstanding in comparison. Luke was friendly; endlessly obliging; his ability in bird-spotting was amazing; everything was well organised; attention to detail extraordinary and food excellent and abundant. Luke's kindness and thoughtfulness in making sure everyone was ok and seeing the birds (and we saw way more than expected) was great. Luke was endlessly knowledgeable but modest in sharing his expertise and a great sense of warm humour. I would recommend this tour to anyone!
“My eyes were opened to this ancient landscape through bird watching”My eyes were opened to this ancient landscape through the lens of watching birds - what a fabulous way to have ones eyes opened. Our guide Luke Paterson provided a superb blend of knowledge, skill and enthusiasm. His people skills and patience were as well developed as his bird knowledge - exceptional at times and breath-taking. this is a holiday to be remembered for the rest of our lives - a stand out!
“An exceptional (10 day) tour!”Luke's level of skill and knowledge was brilliant - great depth, he was patient, friendly and cheerful throughout the tour. the range of habitats and destinations were beautiful and varied. Boat tours, walking, driving and stopping with perfect picnic spots every day. The itinerary was really good - well paced and planned. The catering was all good, healthy but tasty. Luke was very flexible and responsive. It would be difficult to fault, I enjoyed it all. Really brilliant and I would thoroughly recommend NT Bird Specialists and Luke as a guide. Thank you so much for your very hard work these past 10 days - much appreciated.
“Good ethics and responsibility to the environment”Luke's incredible knowledge of bird, country and willingness to include those of us less capable at spotting was enjoyed most. What was also really special is Luke's care and thoughtfulness. Also good ethics and responsibility to the environment. While Luke was a true professional he has a warm and fun attitude - also great for those of us less experienced in birds. I also enjoyed the healthy food and great care taken to food preparation. I also appreciated the respect shown to traditional owners.
“Exceeded Expectations”I enjoyed absolutely everything! The tour was well thought-through and researched and Luke's knowledge, enthusiasm, ability to spot birds and flexibility were greatly appreciated. We saw so many amazing birds and stunning locations, often got well away from the crowds into wild and unique places and had wonderful breakfasts and lunches in beautiful environments. Lots of fun and a memorable experience.
“Highly skilled professional”Luke is a highly skilled professional with the interpersonal skills to be able to share that expertise with bird watchers of all levels of experience and knowledge. Our favourite day four was all fun, with many sightings of birds we would never have found, nor identified without Luke's guidance. Luke's approach to meals, snacks and accommodation was spot on. I highly recommend Luke to any serious bird watcher.
“Ticked all my small group boxes”Luke was a well-informed leader, beautifully organised, lovely treatment of aged and physically challenged people.
“Darwin – Pine Creek/Adelaide River and environs – 3 days”Firstly, the tour more than met our expectations. Great birding over three days. You (Luke) made every effort to locate the birds and you usually did. Your acute hearing and bird habitat and behaviour knowledge was admired by both of us. We thank you for sharing your bird knowledge with us. We will certainly recommend you to our friends. Many thanks for a great experience. A number were ticket for us. Highlights were many but for Celia a pair of barking owls roosting head height only 3 metres away and as if on command they both softly barked. For John the Red Goshawk (male) at nest was a splendid sight. For both of us the sight of Gouldian Finches (black & red headed) also will be remembered for years to come. This was a well run tour with an excellent bird guide. We can certainly recommend him.
“3 Day Luxury Gouldian Finch Charter”Luke was excellent in every way including going out of his way to find an optometrist for me on a Sunday so that we could find out if I could go forward with the tour (which thanks heavens I could). The 2+ days birding with Luke was the highlight of my trip to Australia. Luke persisted and found my most wanted bird, the Gouldian finch, as well as one I hadn’t even shared with him, Rainbow Pitta! Plus we saw so many more. Luke’s ability to communicate interesting information about where we were traveling and what we were seeing and his interaction with us that made us feel at ease and allowed us to get to know him a bit. (This is in contrast to other guides we have experienced that lecture on topics and act as if they were full professors speaking to junior students)
“Tours By Turner”G'day, Luke, What a wonderful time I and my group had with you!! Wow, the memories we all have of what we experienced - so much to process. Seeing the red goshawks was frosting on the cake. To have such good, prolonged views of these birds was fantastic. I'm glad the chicks put off leaving the nesting site until my group could see them - so obliging of them. The black bittern, Gouldian finches early in that setting, antilopine wallaroos jumping, a frilly cooperating, a short-eared rock wallaby showing - man, what a show!! I so appreciate all you did for us - your usual all-out effort which impressed all of my group. Thank you, thank you..... I love Australia and hope that I can return soon. Cheers, Bill
“Tours By Turner”We did have a wonderful holiday and lots of wonderful memories and I got lots of lovely photos of different bird that I had never seen. Luke did know where to take us to see the best birds also for me to get the best photos 2013 I just wanted to send you our belated thanks for arranging the trip to Kakadu Nat Park with Luke Paterson in September. It was just amazing, and Luke was a fantastic guide. We saw so much and learned more. He looked after us so well, and we thoroughly enjoyed his company, as well as his birding and client care skills.
“Don’t Change a Thing”Birds, flying foxes, wallaroos…The birds were spectacular and Kakadu and it’s history is captivating. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous country and treating us like family. We’ve had a brilliant experience. All the best for your health, happiness and glorious future.
“Unbeatable bird expertise”I had a limited amount of time but wanted to catch as many of NT's unique birds as possible during my visit. Luke took me to a range of spots round Darwin and was able to produce some fantastic sightings simply because he knows so much about how each bird lives and where in particular to look for it. In some cases he even knows their calls and is able to bring them closer. I ended the day out at Fogg Dam and it really produced some wonderful birds and some wonderful photographs. I am a keen bird photographer so it is great being with someone who understands both birds and photography in terms of getting the best shots. I would rate it right up at the top of my birdwatching experiences.
“Unmissable bird photography day tour”We wanted to take exceptional bird photos in Darwin and Luke knew the right place to take us identifying birds by their calls without fail. He could spot a bird at half a mile and managed to get us close to just about everything. He took us to Fogg Dam for a half day tour which was excellent. We saw a large variety of birds in the area and Luke positioned the vehicle so we could do some shots with the big (600mm) lens it was perfect and no request was too much trouble. Being a photographer too, Luke understands light and angles and was extremely helpful in positioning. The vehicle is clean, comfortable and has plenty of space if you want to take heaps of camera gear and is well sealed from the dust. Luke is cheerful, friendly, warm and amazingly informative about birds, trees, mammals and the local area. He is also safety conscious so no risks were taken in saltwater croc territory. If you want to see or photograph NT birds this is the way to do it. We will definitely return at a different time of year to catch different species.
“Fantastic birding Day”Just had the most wonderful day around Darwin bird watching with Luke. We saw 80 different birds thanks to Luke's incredible knowledge of birds and their calls. He could tell what bird it was from the call. Not only that he was highly organised - and we had a yummy picnic lunch. The four wheel drive was very comfortable and clean and Luke is a very careful driver. Certainly this day ticked all the boxes for me. Thanks Luke.
“This does what it says on the tin”5 members of my family went for a tour with Luke and Sarah for my mum's 70th birthday. This tour was exactly what I had pictured in my mind, and hooray we even saw a Gouldian Finch on the day (which made up for not seeing a Rainbow Pitta). It wasn't a Family (teens) trip. It was a Family (all adults) trip. I have no complaints about value for money from this day trip.
“Oh wow where do I begin?”I just spent 6 days travelling Kakadu with NT Bird Specialists........Words like Wonderful, Fantastic and Mind Blowing enter my head in summing up my time and experiences spent with Luke and Sarah. From first meeting them at the airport I found them both instantly likeable and as it turns out are the best birding hosts/buddies you could ever ask for. There is nothing that is to much of an effort for either of them, the food they offered was excellent and the drinks were always cold. Luke and Sarah are very kind, caring and courteous and often asked as to how we are going (given the heat). When out and about driving or walking Luke has an extrasensory ability to detect the smallest movement or sound, immediately training his spotting scope on the bird or animal for an intimate view and explanation of what is to be viewed in the scope. Luke and Sarah’s depth of knowledge not only about birds but also the vast cultural and natural landscape of Kakadu as a whole is quite extraordinary, I found my time with them deeply rewarding and at times a very moving experience, particularly in relation to their rock art interpretation. They both effortlessly shared with myself and my son this wealth of knowledge, interpretive signage found at the rock art sites just doesn't come close to having a personal guide like Luke and Sarah. I'm so indebted to them for showing so us many unique, beautiful and amazing birds animals and cultural sites in what is one of the most incredible landscapes on earth. I highly recommend NT Bird Specialists for your next outdoor birding experience, you will walk away with so many wonderful memories and photos, that you will be talking about it for years to come. This is one Top End experience that I personally will never forget. Thank you so much Luke and Sarah, you’re both so awesome, Riley and I are missing your company so much........!!!!
“Happy birdwatchers!”Just reporting back on our excellent 4 day tour. Luke and Sarah were great, and made sure we saw an amazing number of birds, plus gave us enough time to explore their behaviors and environment. Sarah also filled us in on Kakadu and how it is run, which was interesting, as were the visits to indigenous people's sites. The highlight was the sight of a grey goshawk taking and eating a dragon- what a fantastic white bird- but there were many other great incidents, like the yellow water cruise where we saw eagles and jabirus on their nests. Ian said it was his best birthday present ever!