Have you been dreaming of a Asian wildlife safari adventure?
Well pack your bags and migrate to a birder’s paradise in Sri Lanka,
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
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 guidelines and ethical bird and wildlife photography guidelines.
Our vehicles are modern and fuel efficient.
Our Team flies carbon neutral.
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.
Please get in touch to learn more about our environmental and cultural sustainability policies and actions.
COVID-19 Vaccination Policy:
The health & wellbeing of our guests, small team & remote vulnerable communities is at the forefront of planning & delivering your quality experiences so you can travel with us with confidence. Our team is fully vaccinated. To safeguard what matters most, it is recommended that guests be fully-vaccinated to enter the regions we tour in.
Our Team monitors the evolving situation closely & will make adaptations as required.
Northern Territory borders are open to all travellers. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with border entry requirements https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/.
Where third party suppliers require all guests to be fully vaccinated, unfortunately non-vaccinated guests may not be able to participate.
Please get in touch with our team on [email protected] if you have any questions.
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.
We recommend handwashing small amounts of clothing or washing a larger load of clothes on arrival at a two night stay.
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.
Please visit Tourism Top End Visitor Information Centre’s website for details on car hire, tours and travel.
To deliver personalised tours, advertised group sizes remain small, usually 2-4, 5-10 passengers in a comfortable air-conditioned 4WD (7 seater), modern mini-van (12 seater).
Our 18-seater 4WD bus has up to 14 guests on private tours. If larger groups wish to book, please contact us to discuss options.
Unless it’s a private tour, everybody has the same access to all seats. Seat rotation is most welcome and encouraged on group tours.
We join larger public groups when travelling on some boat cruises.
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: 4-8 guests, bird watching tours: 3/5 – 10.
Sri Lanka Itineraries have 6-11 guests plus an NT Bird Specialists tour leader.
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.
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.com.au to compare prices and book easily online.
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. If you do need to fly out the night of the return tour, you may want to fly after 11pm to allow buffer time after tour. International flights should be booked for the day after tour. Tours finish around 4-5:30pm.
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.
Yes. NT Bird Specialists aims to be an Accessible Tourism Business wherever possible.
We aim to offer accessible birdwatching tours and photography experiences to all people, regardless of their physical abilities or age.
Private tours can be tailored to suit many accessibility requirements.
Our Accessible Birding Set Up:
- Vehicles: Although our vehicles are not wheelchair-accessible, they do have space for a folding wheelchair/frame and/or walking aids.
- Cruises: We can organise some boat cruises with ramp access too.
- Locations/terrain: Due to the rugged remote location of some areas we visit, not all locations will suit all guests.
- Accommodation: Accessibility standards vary in remote areas, however we always book the ‘most-accessible room/bathroom options’ where possible.
- Meals/Dietary Requirements: Please see our Dietary FAQ for more information
- General Fitness & accessibility: All group tours require a moderate level of fitness for walking over uneven surfaces for up 1-6 kilometres in warm conditions while carrying your own gear and water.
- Walks rating: 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 reduced mobility so we can tailor accordingly.
You may also like to book a private tour for a more strenuous/fast-paced itinerary with difficult grading tours.
You can download our Accessibility & Dietary PDF at the top of our FAQ page.
We cater to vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, lactose-intolerant needs or other allergies if we are notified at least 14 days prior to tour departure
*We will do or best to assist if notification is within this timeframe.
Our Australian menus are mostly palm-oil free, fresh and healthy meals, continental breakfasts, hot buffet breakfast and picnic lunches.
Guests are welcome to bring personal food with them that we can keep cool/dry.
Breakfasts and lunches are mainly eaten outdoors on location whilst we watch out for birds. Dinners will be eaten in restaurants close to the nightly accommodation (very 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.
- Access to a wide range of dietary needs may not always be available in remote restaurants/shops
- We cannot specifically cater for ‘fad diets’
You can download our Accessibility & Dietary PDF at the top of our FAQ page.
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, accessories
- Australian/Sri Lankan charger/adaptors
- Sunscreen SPF 50+ and polaroid sunglasses
- Insect repellent, fly net (for hat)
- Long-sleeved, light-weight clothing
- Swim wear
- Personal medications (including Rapid Antigen Tests, paracetamol/Ibuprofen, rehydration salts as needed)
- Face mask/s
- 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 medications
- *Passport and international bank cards for Sri Lanka tours
We highly recommend you take out a comprehensive travel insurance cover 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, such as Force Majeure and pandemic related impacts.
Comprehensive Travel insurance is required on our Sri Lanka Tours. Please provide your travel insurance details at the time of booking.
If your travel plans are interrupted due to COVID-19, you may like to follow up with your travel insurance policy to see what you are covered for. See our COVID-19 Terms and Conditions updates for information on NT Bird Specialists tours.
* Our 1 day tours commence pick up between 6:15 – 7am.
* Our multi-day birdwatching tours commence at 6:30 – 7 am.
* Our photography tour 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 pm on the final day of tour.
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
COVID-19 Ready Policies & Travel Experiences:
For truly unforgettable immersions in remote wilderness areas of northern Australia, a wildlife journey with NT Bird Specialists is a must. We’ve implemented enhanced procedures in response to COVID-19 so that you can travel with peace of mind and confidence.
Get in touch today where your ideal wildlife adventure awaits: [email protected]
To support keeping our guests, team & remote communities safe, we’ve implemented the following procedures which all comply with Federal and Territory/State Government and Industry standards.
* Fully-vaccinated Professional Team Open for Business
* COVID-19 Safety Plans, Accreditations & Training
* Book with Confidence, Updated Booking Conditions
* Contactless Payments
* Spacious Clean Vehicles, Enhanced Hygiene Practises, Wide Open Spaces
* Tour Waitlists & Short-notice Travel Incentives – Ask us
Healthy & Fit For Travel: Please declare if you are unwell before commencing the tour. A PCR or other COVID-19 test may be required if you are displaying symptoms. Each case will be assessed individually. Some instances may require refusal of you on the tour to keep guests, staff & communities safe. If staff or guests become unwell on tour, masks-use will be an immediate requirement. Other Government regulations may need to be followed as directed by the guide (at guest expense).
General Fitness & accessibility – All group tours require a moderate level of fitness for walking over uneven surfaces for up 1-8 kilometres in warm conditions while carrying your own gear and water.
Private tours can be tailored to suit all accessibility requirements, excluding some mobility aids in vehicles *please contact us to discuss vehicle options.
Masks: Mask wearing may be required in some settings, including if anyone is displaying COVID-19 or cold and flu-like symptoms. Check with our guide if you are unsure of requirements or appropriate mask-use. For ease and comfort, we recommend you bring your own mask with you, otherwise we can provide you with one.
Enhanced Cleaning & Hygiene: We’ve added additional hygiene measures to our already clean vehicle and dining experiences, including sanitising stations, extra cleaning of high touch points, anti-bacterial air-conditioner treatments in vehicles and anti-bacterial wipes for optical equipment.
Social Distancing: Our tour groups our considered to be a single ‘travel party bubble’. However, where possible we create space by not filling our spacious modern vehicles to capacity, not only to improve window-viewing and leg room experiences, but to create space between guests. Breakfasts and lunches are served in a fresh open-air environment. Private cruise and charter options allow for maximum social distancing. Our guide works hard to make sure each guest has the opportunity to view and photograph subjects from individual vantage points if desired.
Training: All staff have undertaken COVID-19 Ready Training certifications and accreditations. Our guide, Luke Paterson, is the COVID-19 Safety Marshall for NT Bird Specialists and implements safety and hygiene practises before, during and after touring. Our Team regularly attends industry-leading training forums to stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 tourism requirements. Refer to our COVID-19 Ready accreditations here:
Please follow any safety directions requested by our COVID Safety Supervisor (Luke Paterson).
These may include:
* Declaring any COVID-19-like symptoms prior to or at any time you have symptoms on the tour.
Please conduct a personal Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) if you have symptoms (and take a photo of the results in case you need to provide to medical authorities). **If you’ve had COVID within 4 weeks, a test won’t be required.
We prefer all guests/guide wear a mask if anyone has symptoms until test results arise.
We suggest you bring 5 personal RATs per guest for tours longer than 5 days and at least 2 personal RATs per guest if touring for up to 5 days. Also pack paracetamol and/or ibuprofen as needed.
* Adhering to all government health advice/directions as appropriate at the time of travel and respecting the health and safety of fellow guests/guides.
How should I plan for COVID-19-Safe Travels?
Please review and follow the Northern Territory border entry requirements.
We recommend you keep up to date with your individual State/Territory requirements when travelling to/from the Northern Territory. A border entry form is not currently required to enter the NT.
For convenience, please have a screen shot or a print out of your Vaccination Certificate to show businesses if requested (the Apps won’t all work in remote areas where phone signal is limited or absent).
Getting COVID Ready for NT Travel
Here are a few steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe including:
* Review your travel insurance: In the event you test positive for COVID-19 while touring with us, you may need to book alternative private travel arrangements to manage your COVID-19 case. It is highly recommended that your travel insurance cover repatriation costs to avoid out of pocket expenses.
* COVID CareNT explains how to manage your COVID case if you have a positive Rapid Antigen Test.
Important phone numbers:
- NT COVID-19 hotline (to register COVID cases or for any queries): 1800 490 484
- National COVID Nurse Hotline for clinical advice if symptoms worsen, or you have health concerns: 1800 022 222
- More helpful contacts here:
Travelling with NT Bird Specialists
We thank all our guests and suppliers for their flexibility and understanding as we progress through COVID-19 travel updates and we look forward to touring with you all.
Updated COVID-19 Terms & Conditions:
NT Bird Specialists are open for business. We monitor government health advice closely and source up to date information from our suppliers to determine appropriate actions.
To aid your confidence when booking with us, we have amended our Terms and Conditions for tours which require rescheduling or cancellation due to COVID-19 force majeure events.
If due to COVID-19 Government regulations restrict travel from your home location to or within the Northern Territory (or other tour commencement location), your non-refundable Commitment Deposit will be converted to a Future Tour Credit valid for use until the end of 2023 (less any unrecoverable third party cancellation fees and bank charges if applicable).
For added flexibility and security, new bookings will also receive Free Date & Name Changes on the credit. Select tours have reduced deposits or special offers as stated on that product.
We are unable to refund for guests who contract COVID-19 preventing them from travelling with us.
Future Tour Credits: We understand your needs may change so we are offering flexible Terms for credit use.
* Free Date Change – Guests who receive a Future Tour Credit are entitled to free date changes within the credit validity period for tours interrupted by COVID-19 restrictions.
*Free Name Change – Future Tour Credits can be transferred to another person in the form of a booking voucher or gift certificate valid for the credit period. The new credit holders will need to be fully-vaccinated and supply us with their contact details to meet COVID-19 Safety Plan requirements.
*Valid for Available Departures – Credits can be used on any available NT Bird Specialists tour within the validity period.
**For 2020-21 bookings that received a ‘Future Tour Credit’ in place of a non-refundable deposit: Credits are valid to be spent until the end of 2022. This can include booking onto a 2023 advertised group departure booked in 2022.
Private tours for travel in 2023 requires a new booking and deposit.
**Bookings made from 20 December 2021 – Any Future Tour Credits issued will be valid for use until the end of 2023.
**Standard Terms & Conditions apply for changes/cancellations for non-COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
These Policies, Terms & Conditions override any previous terms but will be superseded by any Federal, State or Territory Government regulations that may arise as the situation evolves.
We strongly recommend guests are covered by comprehensive travel insurance at the time of bookings.
Guests agree to tour Terms & Conditions at the time of booking.
Yes of course. We welcome LGBTQ+ guests and our tours are LGBTQ-inclusive.
All guests are treated equally and we aim to be as inclusive as possible when creating our unforgettable wildlife experiences.
Guests can choose between group and private tours to suit their needs.