Australia and Barry Davies: When I found out it was Barry Davies that was leading the trip, I was thrilled as I had been in contact with him years ago when I was with Jaeger Tours, at the recommendations of a number of my friends that had travelled with him, so we knew each other! He was extraordinary – knew his stuff in and out about OZ and its flora and fauna and was great with the participants. We did Cairns & Darwin then an extension to Perth & Tasmania. Not sure how you would pick a favourite place from that. Each region is different and of course getting to see different parts of the country is something that I would have thought one would want to do if doing OZ. I would have loved to have seen more butterflies, mammals and reptiles than we did, but maybe that requires different locations and more time in the field. We did however get Platypus and Echidna. Butterflies are pretty much restricted to the north east. Timing for birds is tough as there is so much movement amongst them depending upon food sources, but I would have said we did pretty well. While obviously we wanted to see all we could, it was not the end of the world if we missed anything, and a huge list was not our goal. We were there in the dry season, I would hate to think what it would be like in the wet season, as a number of places/routes would have been under water, especially in the Darwin region. Accommodations on the whole were very good – I loved the different lodgings, many of which we had to do our own breakfast, with kitchen facilities in the cabins. The country is huge, and with very few people, less than SA!, so some of the locations there was little choices, especially for a large group, but Barry did great in getting what he did. At each region we had to get a bus, there were 14 of us – these varied between great to OK, as the on the extension we had to have one with a trailer.
Australia is a natural wonderland of beautiful beaches, crystal blue waters, amazing ancient rock formations, and pristine rainforests. Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world and has the lowest population density per square kilometer. Australia has 16 world heritage-listed properties, with its historic townships, bustling cities, vivid landscapes, and exotic flora and fauna all adding to its unique appeal. Much of Australia’s exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and the lifestyle is one second to none.Click Here to Read More
Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. It is famed for its rugged landscape of blue lagoons and palm-lined beaches, and for eco-activities from mountain climbing and surfing to soft-coral diving and birdwatching. Its major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, contain the lion’s share of the population, meaning much of the country is uncrowded. The climate in Fiji is tropical and warm most of the year. The two most important and largest islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which together account for 87% of the population. Kadavu in the fourth-largest island in the archipelago and is a tropical bird watcher’s dream come true. This island has the additional attraction of four endemic species found only on Kadavu, and these species can all be seen on the grounds of most resorts.Click Here to Read More
The fauna of the vast island country of Indonesia is characterized by high levels of biodiversity and endemism due to its distribution over a vast tropical archipelago. Many sources credit Indonesia as the most species-rich country on earth. Indonesia is divided into three ecological regions; western Indonesia, which is more influenced by Asian fauna, and the east, which is more influenced by Australasian species. The Wallace Line, across which lies the Wallacea transitional region, notionally divides the two regions. There is a diverse range of ecosystems, including vast rainforests, beaches, sand dunes, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, coastal mudflats, tidal flats, algal beds, and small island ecosystems. 1718 avian species are distributed across the entire country, which straddles all three of the Asian, Wallacean, Australasian regions.
Although West Papua, located on the island of New Guinea, is politically a province of Indonesia, it is the country’s only province that lies est of the Lydekker Line, which separates the Wallacean and Australian faunal regions. Its avifauna, therefore, is essentially the same as that of the country of Papua New Guinea.
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Distant land, land of contrasts, pristine land… New Caledonia, a special collectivity of France, is a diverse and unique destination. Bathed by clear waters at the heart of the Pacific Ocean, lulled year round by gentle trade winds, le Caillou (the Pebble) has more to offer than just its heavenly beaches and brilliant sunshine. Sanctuary of the earth’s biodiversity, New Caledonia is THE destination for nature lovers. It boasts of 3,500 varieties of plants, of which three-quarters are endemic, 4,300 species of terrestrial animals, 200 species of birds (including the Kagu), 1,000 species of fish, and 6,500 marine invertebrates.
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New Zealand is a truly photogenic country that looks more striking than any movie could convey, and within its walls of beaches and mountains, fiords and volcanoes, there is really too much to see and do. You could be surfing, bungee jumping, snowboarding, kayaking, or just hanging out on a beach with a beer; add to that rich Maori cultural experiences, outdoor music festivals, energetic cities, and amazing wildlife, and you’re looking at some seriously good times. As a compact little country it’s easy to get around in just a few weeks and makes for the perfect stop-off as part of a round-the-world trip. Or stay for longer with a working holiday visa and really feast on a country that is the ultimate playground for the young and adventurous.
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Papua New Guinea (PNG) is indeed a birder’s paradise. Thirty-four birds-of-paradise live on the island of New Guinea, of which thirty-one can be found in Papua New Guinea. The island of New Guinea is home to an incredible 399 endemics! Together with awe-inspiring scenery, endless rainforests, and fascinating highland societies that only made contact with the outside world in 1930, this makes Papua New Guinea a definite must-do destination for any avid birder.Click Here to Read More
Samoa (formerly Western Samoa) is an independent nation comprising the westernmost group of the Samoan Islands in Polynesia. Many of its islands have reef-bordered beaches and rugged, rainforested interiors with gorges and waterfalls. The islands include Upolu, home to most of Samoa’s population, and Savai’i, one of the largest islands in the South Pacific. The others range from islets with small villages to uninhabited wildlife sanctuaries. Samoa is a postcard of natural beauty. Blessed with stunning land and seascapes and friendly people, who are proud of their country, there are many versions of paradise to discover. The country is part of the Endemic Bird Area (BirdLife International) of the Samoan Islands, and close to its capital Apia can be found one the six Important Bird Areas of Samoa, the Apia Catchments, where 16 globally threatened or range-restricted species have been observed.Click Here to Read More