Exploring a global biodiversity hotspot in south-west Western Australia

AT A GLANCE

Dates 11–15 September 2022
16–20 October 2022

7–11 May 2023
10–14 September 2023
8–12 October 2023
Activity LevelModerate
Duration5 days, 4 nights
PricesFrom $3,968 per person twin share
From $688 single supplement
Group SizeMinimum 4, maximum 6 guests
Featuring RegionsGnaala Karla Booja (Peel Region, Western Australia)

WHAT TO EXPECT

You will be guided by expert local naturalist guides (with worldwide guiding experience) to explore the hidden treasures of the Gnaala Karla Booja region, only 1.5 hours south of Perth’s CBD. This often overlooked and spectacular region is home to internationally recognised Ramsar-listed wetlands, and the geological wonder of Lake Clifton’s living rocks, the Thrombolites. Your guides share the amazing diversity of flora and fauna in this region. There are more than 130 species of birds, a richness of floral species and critically endangered species such as the western ringtail possum, Carnaby cockatoo and the iconic numbat. Your tour will include guided river kayaking, nocturnal wildlife walks, birdwatching tours and partaking in citizen science conservation projects.

Tour Highlights

  • By kayak, enjoy a guided tour of internationally recognised wetlands with more than 100 species of birds.
  • Join nocturnal tours to see the critically endangered ringtail possum, woylies, bettongs, bilbys and bandicoots.
  • Learn about one of the world’s largest and extremely rare ‘living rocks’ – thrombolites – from expert geologist guides.
  • Explore the ancient landscape of the Yilgarn Craton, 2.9 billion years old.
  • Take a safari-style walk through Wandoo woodlands to search for endangered numbats in the wild.
  • Help with important citizen science projects, including counting and monitoring critically endangered western ringtail possums, conducting birdlife surveys using the iNaturalist app to document biodiversity in the region and during the month of October have the opportunity to participate in a fairy tern breeding facilitation project.
  • Adventure through the Northern Jarrah Forest and visit the historic town of Dwellingup.

Your Naturalist Guides:

Sebastian Jones and Jamie Van Jones are husband and wife naturalist guides. They have led expeditions and guided tours around the world, including Antarctica, the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea and Alaska. Both have environmental science and geology backgrounds, and a passion for sharing the natural world and using citizen science to help conserve and protect it. Join Jamie and Base on this spectacular global biodiversity hotspot tour as they share their knowledge and passion for the place they call home.

ITINERARY

DAY 1 – Transfer to Lake Clifton

We highly recommend arriving a day or two earlier to settle in and also check out Boola Bardip (Western Australian Museum), which will give you a great overview of the area you will explore over the next few days.

This morning you will be picked up from the Perth airport by your guides and driven to your accommodation in the Peel region. You will drive scenic Estuary Road, alongside Ramsar-protected wetlands, while getting an introduction – covering the local geology, ecology and history – to the region.

Tonight’s accommodation is a private 5-acre property in Lake Clifton with an infinity pool. After a delicious barbeque dinner, you will have a night of stargazing and stories from your naturalist guides. Telescopes set up under the Milky Way will add to your first night in the Bindjareb region.

From your accommodation look for a variety of waterbirds, including pelicans, cormorants, spoonbills and great egrets. From October–April you also have the chance to see up to 32 species of migratory shorebirds. Keep your eyes peeled for myriad bird species (up to 100) during your time around the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

Accommodation: Private House Lake Clifton (shared bathrooms)

Meals: Lunch and dinner provided

DAY 2 – Kayaking down Serpentine River followed by Yalgorup National Park

Spend the morning exploring the Serpentine River using tandem foot-peddled kayaks. During this tour you’ll explore a samphire wetland and lake system that features an abundance of bird species, including the yellow-billed spoonbill, nankeen night-herons, ospreys, whistling kites and more. As you float down river you’ll be guided to learn about the flora, fauna, geology and history of this area. Thanks to the foot-peddled kayaks you’ll travel silently and splash-free, leaving your hands free to use binoculars and cameras. The Serpentine River guided kayak tour is a peaceful and relaxing experience that gives you a great perspective of the overall area and its importance for Indigenous people of the Noongar nation. 

We will return to our accommodation, where the in-house private chef will have lunch waiting for us. A break after lunch to rest and relax will allow you to recoup your energy for the afternoon.

Less than 10 minutes from your accommodation is the Thrombolites – a geological wonder and the largest microbial reef in the southern hemisphere. Your geologist guide will take you back billions of years to explain the way these living rocks shaped the Earth as we know it today. After exploring ‘deep time’ and paying homage to the first living organisms on Earth, we’ll head a little further into Yalgorup National Park for a sundowner with magnificent views of the park and the sun setting over the Indian Ocean. 

After dinner, enjoy an (optional) nocturnal wildlife walk. Using infrared torches and night-vision binoculars you’ll look for brushtail possums and the critically endangered western ringtail possum, taking part in a citizen science count to help with the monitoring of the latter.

Accommodation: Private House Lake Clifton (shared bathrooms)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided

DAY 3 – Walk along Murray River followed by check-in and exploring Dwellingup

A morning hike will take you into the Northern Jarrah Forest where the sounds of black cockatoos echo in the canopy and amid zamia palms growing on the ancient Yilgarn Craton. In September and October there are prolific wildflowers to view. This easy walk will take you along the edges of the Murray River and a chance to have a swim or cup of tea along the river’s edge. 

Lunch in Dwellingup (winner of Western Australia’s top tourism town award) will be at the Blue Wren Cafe, followed by a visit to the town’s state-of-the-art Trails Centre to learn about the town’s logging history and the many trails that walkers and cyclists can embark upon from here. 

After lunch we will check into Noble River Estate accommodation in Dwellingup.

This afternoon will be spent exploring the exclusive property of Cypress Farm with a guided bushwalk and view of the botanical gardens of world famous botanist Kingsley Dixon.

We’ll spend sunset at Drakes Brooke Winery where black cockatoos come to roost in lakeside trees, and enjoy local wines and a barbeque dinner before retiring to Noble River Estate.

Accommodation: Noble River Estate (private bathrooms)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided

Day 4 – Walk through Wandoo Forest followed by nocturnal tour

After a relaxing morning at Noble River Estate, which borders the Northern Jarrah Forest, we’ll make for Dryandra Woodland, on the edge of the wheatbelt, and the wandoo forests that provide habitat for many amazing species, including reptiles, echidnas, woollies, possums and kangaroos. We’ll explore Dryandra Woodland National Park and take two short walks to see the different wandoo vegetation. Be on the lookout for the endangered numbat, which is diurnal, as we enter the woodlands. As night falls we’ll take a nocturnal tour of the Barna Mia Animal Sanctuary, a fenced, predator-proof enclosure that’s home to species such as bilby, boodie, mala, woylie, quenda and possums.

We will spend our last night at Lions Cottages in Dryandra Woodlands where we’ll wake up to a paddock of kangaroos and hear the birds’ chorus at dawn.

Accommodation: Lions Cottages

Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided

DAY 5 – Exploring Dryandra Woodlands and departure to Perth

Spend more time in Dryandra Woodlands this morning looking for elusive numbats; fingers crossed they aren’t shy today! As we start making our way back to Perth, we’ll take a road that winds through the Northern Jarrah Forrest called Scarp Road where we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch along the Darling Scarp, home to ancient geology and amazing history, before returning to Perth by late afternoon. 

Meals: Breakfast and lunch provided

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Experienced, local and professional naturalist guides
  • 4 nights in boutique, private-room accommodations 
  • Breakfasts, daily lunches, morning/afternoon teas
  • Selected beverages at meals
  • All national park & other entry fees as per itinerary
  • Transport in air-conditioned Toyota commuter mini bus
  • Airport transfers 
  • Hobie foot-peddled kayak equipment, including dry bags 
  • One pair of binoculars per pair
  • Highlight reel of photos from your trip.

COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Domestic or international airfares
  • Pre-registration, late check-out or day use at hotels other than specified above
  • Guide services other than specified
  • Meals/ beverages other than specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Optional tours/services.

COVID-19

Until further notice: from 1 October 2021 we will require that all participants on our tours must be fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved vaccine against COVID-19 with the final dose administered no later than two weeks prior to departure. See terms and conditions for more details.

CONTACT US

Want to know more or register your interest?

Send us an email to travel@australiangeographic.com or call 1300 241 141.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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