Australia has some 800 native bird species throughout the nation, and the “Twitching” or Bird Watching community is very active in taking the chance of catching a rare glimpse of any of them.
Australia boasts a number of bird watching spots throughout the states, and here’s a rundown of where bird watching is at some of its best, and what is available at each site.
Kakadu Nation Park, Northern Territory
Of course, Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory is by far the best bird watching venue in Australia, and possibly the world. The park is found north-east of Darwin (the capital city of the Territory), and the climate is a very rare, tropical wet-dry zone. This area lays claim to an amazing 280 bird species. The Park is mainly wetland marshes, and as such attracts huge numbers of migrating birds who have travelled enormous distances to breed in this pristine environment. To visit the Park a Permit is required, and there are restrictions on where visitors can camp within the park.
Daintree Rainforest, Northern Queensland
The Daintree Rainforest is a tropical rainforest with true wet conditions where the 430 different bird species can be sighted. The Daintree is World Heritage listed and is one of the only places in Australia where you can experience a truly wet rainforest. It rarely is dry here, but the possibilities of sighting some of the more rare species are pretty good. The Pied Monarch and various Kingfishers are often spotted.
The Daintree is easily accessible from the main highway one from Cairns, and it is possible to camp in various areas – permits are required.
Broome Bird Observatory – North Western Australia
This particular bird watching post is situated on the mudflat shores of Roebuck Bay and is a very popular landing and departing point of migratory birds. Many of these birds feast themselves on the available food before setting of on their annual migration in March to Asia. There are a number of unique habitats where birds of all varieties can be seen.
While Broome is quite isolated on the northwest coast of Australia, it is also a very popular tourist destination, so flights and bus tours are regular features of the area. It is possible to drive to Broome from anywhere in Australia, but it is advised to take at least 4 weeks for a return trip from the eastern seaboard.
Lord Howe Island Northeast of Sydney in the Pacific Ocean
Lord Howe Island is part of New South Wales and was discovered in 1770 by Captain James Cook. Only 11 kilometres long, the island’s isolation has allowed birdlife to prosper. When feral pigs and rats were introduced in 1788 by settlers, the birds were all but wiped out, but thankfully, this World Heritage site (which is where the southernmost coral reef is found); the birds have grown in numbers and include a huge concentration of nesting seabirds.
Flights to Lord Howe Island depart regularly, and there is plenty of accommodation on the island. It is possible to camp – but again, permits and permission must be sought.