Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Australia. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.
ENTERING AUSTRALIA: U.S. citizens may travel to Australia on a valid U.S. passport with an Australian visa or, if eligible, on a valid U.S. passport and an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. The ETA is free of charge and is available from airlines and many travel agents. More information about the ETA and entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Australia at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 797-3000, via the Australian Embassy home page on the Internet at http://www.austemb.org/, or from the Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles, tel (310) 229-4840.
MAP AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view a map of Australia here. Click on the lower right corner to increase (decrease) the map size. You can review the U.S. State Department information on Australia here.
CLIMATE: The weather in Australia varies from state to state. In general, we should experience mild to warm weather, but it is likely to be cold in Victoria at the start of the tour, especially on Bruny Island and Tasmania; warm clothing may be necessary on Tasmania. Nights will vary from cold to cool. Rain is possible at any time.
PACE OF TOUR AND DAILY ROUTINE: The tour will not be physically strenuous in any way. Most days will be broken up into optional sections, with pre-breakfast excursions, morning/afternoon trips, and, on some nights, after-dinner spotlighting for nocturnal mammals and birds. Thus you will be able to choose all-day birding or a more relaxed schedule as you wish. On some days, especially when we are traveling from one area to another, opportunities to take time off will be more limited.
We’ll normally have breakfast in our hotel, though sometimes this will be cereal, fruit, juice, coffee, and toast in our rooms. On some days we will have a picnic lunch, while on others we’ll stop at a small cafe or take-away for sandwiches and a drink. We’ll usually return to the hotel in the late afternoon/early evening, and we’ll almost always have a break of an hour to shower and relax before dinner. We’ll compile a checklist of the birds we’ve seen just before or just after dinner each day.
HEALTH: No immunizations are required for visitors to Australia (unless you are visiting other countries en route). All the same, it is always a good idea to consult with your physician and to visit the website of the Centers for Disease Control before undertaking international travel.
ACCOMMODATION: Throughout our Australia tours we’ll be staying in good-quality hotels, most of them with private bathroom facilities in every room. Our hotels will vary from fairly basic motels in out of the way small country towns to international airport hotels in Melbourne. Almost all Australian hotels provide tea- and coffee-making facilities in the room and have self-service laundry rooms. Some have a laundry service as well. In a couple of places we stay in cottages, each with two private bedrooms and a private bathroom.
DRESS: Neat informal dress is accepted in most restaurants, although denim jeans are not accepted everywhere. Flip-flop type sandals are not acceptable as footwear in some restaurants, though leather sandals are accepted. Shorts are commonly worn throughout Australia, even as formal dress, when they are usually worn with knee-length socks. On Tasmania it may be very cold, so warm clothing could well be necessary. During our day trip to the Great Barrier Reef, waterproof footwear such as Teva sandals or lightweight washable trainers or tennis shoes is recommended, especially for those intending to go onto the island to see the birds (highly recommended).
TRANSPORT: Transportation throughout most of the tour will be in a minibus driven by the leader.
SMOKING: Smoking is not allowed in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, we ask that you do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a more restrictive policy, that stricter policy will prevail.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND CONDITIONS: Please take a moment to read the WINGS General Information and Conditions. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for Tours to Southeastern Australia will be sent to each registrant on receipt of their booking. Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Updated: December 2010