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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Australia: Victoria and Tasmania

Plains-wanderer, Pardalotes, and Penguins

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Australia: Victoria and Tasmania. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they took this tour. Although we do our best to make sure 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: US citizens must have a passport, valid on your date on entry to Australia and with at least one blank page for an entry stamp. A visa is also requires and it is most easily obtained online at https://www.eta.immi.gov.au/ETA/etas.jsp. More information about the Electronic Travel Authorities (ETAs) 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://usa.embassy.gov.au/, or from the Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles, tel (310) 229-4840. 

 It is also a good idea to take a photocopy of your passport and air ticket with you when travelling abroad. Copies can prove invaluable in helping you get replacements if your originals are lost or stolen. Obviously you should pack the photocopies separately from the originals. 

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information for Australia at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/australia.html , and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Australia at  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html.

PACE OF TOUR: Walks will be of less than a mile in distance and on level ground over generally very even terrain. Some days will be broken up into optional sections, with a few pre-breakfast excursions, morning/afternoon trips, and, on some nights, after dinner spotlighting for nocturnal mammals and birds. You will often be able to choose beween all-day birding or a more relaxed scheduled. On other days, especially when we are travelling from one area to another, opportunities to take time off will be limited.

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. 

Please bear in mind that if you are doing more than one section of this tour it will be a long trip, so it is important to pace yourself appropriately. 

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A. 

No immunizations are required for visitors to Australia (unless you are visiting other countries en route). 

Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s  Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/australia . 

Elevation: We reach a maximum elevation of only 1500 feet during the course of the tour, around the mountains near Healesville.

Water: Public drinking water is safe throughout Australia. 

Insects: Bring a strong insect repellent for protection against mosquitoes, sand-flies and leeches. In general we do not encounter high concentrations of biting insects during the tour but in the interior of the continent flies can be a real nuisance at times some years. Generally mosquitoes are scarce to non-existent but in wet years we may encounter a few.

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited 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, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

CLIMATE: In general, spring weather in Victoria and central New South Wales is glorious, with daytime highs at most 24-25C (77f), and lows down to 8C (46f).  Our time in Tasmania is generally colder, with daytime highs of only 16C (60F), and lows around 4C (40f).  Wind and rain are possible in the south (Melbourne, the coast and Tasmania), but the interior of the country is typically dry and sunny.  

ACCOMMODATION: We’ll be staying in good quality hotels and lodges, most of which have private bathroom facilities in every. Our hotels will vary from small but comfortable family-run in out of the way small country towns, to modern international airport hotels in Melbourne. Almost all Australian hotels provide fridges in the room, tea and coffee making facilities and hair dryers. They also have self-service laundry rooms. Some of the larger hotels have a laundry service as well. 

Wi-Fi is surprisingly tricky in Australia.  Where Wi-Fi exists it is often quite expensive.  Often the airports have free Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi is now available at most of our hotels, although not necessarily fast.

FOOD:  We’ll be taking breakfasts at our hotels, lunches in local café’s or bakeries, and dinners (generally) in our hotel restaurants.  Meals are expansive, hearty, and varied.

Drinks:  A soft drink, a beer or a glass of wine is provided at lunch and dinner, as is coffee or tea. All other drinks or ‘personal’ drinking water for use in your room and during the day is the responsibility of the individual. Tap water is safe to drink and can be used to fill water bottles for daytime use.  We will have a supply of water available in the van at all times. 

Food Allergies/Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORT: Transportation throughout most of the tour will be in a minibus driven by the leader. Participants must be willing and able to sit in any seat in our tour vehicles. During some portions of the tour a local Australian co-leader will accompany the group and will take the front passenger seat. 

For our internal flights (Melbourne-Hobart-Melbourne) we use Australian-based airlines. 

Updated: 12 October 2017