7-day small group wildlife tour providing intimate encounters with shorebirds and flatback turtles
This rewarding experience is located in the breathtaking natural surrounds of Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast. Broome’s Roebuck Bay is acknowledged as being the shorebird capital of Australia. The region is home to more than 325 species of birds, over one third of Australia’s total species. This includes 55 species of shorebirds, which is nearly a quarter of the world’s total. From September to April the vast, nutrient-rich tidal mudflats are visited by half a million wader birds that have flown an 11,000 kilometre journey non-stop from Siberia, North Asia and the Arctic Circle.
The northern Australian coastlines also provide an excellent nesting ground for turtles. Flatback are the only sea turtle species endemic to Australian waters, but much remains unknown about them. Returning to the exact beach at which they were hatched, flatback turtles return to Eco Beach during November – December to nest.
Join our expert guides as they introduce you to the diversity of bird life and wildlife in and around the internationally recognised Roebuck Bay and Eco Beach. Witness some of the great sights in nature including diverse and rich mangrove ecosystems, watch thousands of roosting shorebirds on red sandy beaches and enjoy the setting of Western Australian sun over vast empty plains. Enjoy close encounters with flatback turtles and contribute to our long term research project, recording data on nesting activities. You will also uncover the conservation importance of the region and the extensive research being conducted on shorebirds and flatback turtles.
With over 20 years experience in natural resource management and wildlife research, our guides will share their expertise and insights. This is a truly remarkable experience and a rare opportunity to connect with our natural world.
- Expert naturalist guides with over 20 years turtle and wildlife research experience
- Intimate encounters with a variety of bird species
- Expert guided bird tours in the shorebird capital of Australia
- Stay overnight at the Bird Observatory and the eco-friendly Eco Beach Resort
- Intimate encounters with turtles
- 3.5 hour Snubfin Dolphin eco cruise
- Spectacular coastal scenery and remote, uncrowded beaches
- Small group, personalised experience of up to 9 people
- Supporting flatback turtle research and shorebird conservation
Duration: 7 days / 6 nights
Departs: Broome, 11.00am 21 – 27 November
Price: 7 days from $2,200 per person
Day 1 Broome – Roebuck Bay – Bush and Plains Bird Tour
Hotel pick up and travel to the internationally renowned Broome Bird Observatory. Ideally situated on the shores of Roebuck Bay, Broome Bird Observatory has unequalled access to the hundreds of thousands of migratory shorebirds which visit the region. We settle into our accommodation for the next few days, before a light lunch and an overview of the conservation importance of Roebuck Bay. In the afternoon we join our local expert guide for a bush and plains tour. The natural grasslands of Roebuck Plains Station are home to a wide variety bird life including pipits, bushlarks, cisticolas, bustard and quail, Oriental Plover, Yellow Wagtails and sometimes Oriental Pratincole. Freshwater lakes and claypans are homes to dozens of species of ducks and shorebirds, including Brolgas, Black-necked Storks and large numbers of Little Curlew. You’ll experience the magic of Roebuck Plains at sunset as we seek out local bird and wildlife species including raptors, Brolgas, and the Northern Nail-tail Wallaby. Return to our accommodation base for a group dinner. (LD) Overnight: Broome Bird Observatory
Day 2 Mangrove and Shorebird Tour
Breakfast before our expert guided bird tour. The mangroves around Broome are havens for a variety of species including Broad-billed Flycatchers, White-breasted Whistlers, Red-headed Honeyeaters, Mangrove Golden Whistlers and many, many more.
This tour includes a walk of about one kilometre, each way, walking on sand along the beach and a small section of mud to reach a more extensive area of mangroves along Little Crab Creek. You will spend time amongst the mangroves, searching for several special birds typically restricted to this habitat, including Mangrove Grey Fantail, Dusky Gerygone, and Broad-billed Flycatcher. After emerging on the far side of the mangroves, good views can be had of the abundant bird life feeding out on the Roebuck Bay mudflats, and a variety of other fascinating creatures are likely to be encountered.
Afterwards we leave the mangroves visiting roost sites along the northern shores of the bay during the high tide period. At this time, the shorebirds are forced from their feeding areas by the rising tide and come to rest at specific locations along the shoreline. This gives us an unique opportunity to view a wide variety of shorebird species at relatively close range which helps to discern the sometimes subtle features that distinguish the different species.
Your guide will describe key identification criteria, as well as discuss the ecology and conservation importance of Roebuck Bay and the incredible life cycle of the migratory shorebirds that utilise the bay. You will also hear about the extensive research that is conducted on the shorebirds of the bay.
In the afternoon you have the option to relax back at our accommodation base, or take an afternoon self-guided bird walk. Sunset drinks and group dinner. Note: The times of tours are subject to tide times and may vary slightly. (BLD) Overnight: Broome Bird Observatory
Day 3 Broome Bird Observatory – Snubfin Dolphin and Roebuck Bay Eco Tour – Eco Beach
Breakfast and morning boat cruise on the beautiful Roebuck Bay. In 2015 Roebuck Bay became of international importance and was declared an Australia marine park. Home to dugongs, turtles and rare Australian snubfin dolphins, Roebuck Bay provides extensive seagrass meadows for feeding and is a major nursery for numerous species of marine life. Cruising the bay by catamaran is the perfect way to experience the regions spectacular marine environment including sea and bird life. After the cruise we travel to our stunning base for the next few days, Eco Beach Resort. Overlooking a beautiful beach, and turtle nesting ground, the resort has received Advanced Eco Certification for its sustainable lodge operations. Time to relax and maybe take a dip in the infinity pool, before a talk on flatback turtles and the monitoring program. Dinner and evening beach walk alongside our experienced guides in search in nesting flatback turtles. (BLD) Overnight: Eco Beach Resort
Day 4 Eco Beach Turtles
Optional early morning beach patrol looking for new turtle nests and tracks. Breakfast and time to relax, take in the beautiful the surrounds, take a dip in the pool, go for a kayak, treat yourself to a delicious lunch at the restaurant or visit the local bird hide in the afternoon.
In the evening just before high tide we walk the beach in search of nesting flatback turtles. With over 20 years experience in turtle monitoring projects, our guides Steve and Anne will share their expertise and insights into the turtle nesting behaviours, false crawls, egg chambers, sand temperatures, egg incubation periods and hatchlings. (BLD) Overnight: Eco Beach Resort
Day 5 Eco Beach Turtle Activity
Optional early morning beach patrol looking for new turtle nests and tracks. The morning is a beautiful time for a walk when the temperatures are cooler. Spend the day enjoying the resort facilities, hire a kayak, or relax taking in the endless coastal views at the infinity pool. Today our group lunch together is at the resorts restaurant. Evening beach walk in search of nesting flatback turtles and turtle monitoring. (BLD) Overnight: Eco Beach Resort
Day 6 Eco Beach Turtle Activity
Optional early morning beach patrol looking for new turtle nests and shorebirds. Time to enjoy the resort facilities and activities or relax taking in the endless coastal views at the infinity pool. Evening beach walk in search of nesting flatback turtles and turtle monitoring. (BLD) Overnight: Eco Beach Resort
Day 7 Eco Beach – Broome
Leisurely breakfast before our return journey to Broome. Our approximate drop off time will be 12 noon at either your city hotel or airport. (B)
About our naturalist guides
Steve Winderlich and Anne O’Dea have over 20 years’ experience in natural and cultural resource management. They are passionate about marine and terrestrial protected areas and wildlife. Their experience includes running research and monitoring programs, volunteer engagement, education, interpretation and training. They operated one of the longest turtle research projects in Australia on Field Island in Kakadu National Park. Steve and Anne have interesting stories to share having spent time working in National Parks including Fraser Island, the jointly managed Kakadu National Park and more recently Papua New Guinea. Ann also featured in the ABC Television Series – Kakadu.
B- Self serve continental breakfast
L- Light lunch
Meals are a group activity with everyone assisting with the catering. Meals are simple and wholesome, using fresh local produce. On one of the days we enjoy a delightful chef prepared lunch together at the resorts restaurant. If you have special dietary requirements please let us know in advance and we are happy to assist. BYO alcohol is allowed in your accommodation, otherwise you can purchase supplies from the resort bar at your own expense. Additional meals and snacks may be purchased at your own expense from the resort restaurant (please note that during this time of the year the restaurant and bar are open on weekends).
Easy to moderate – activities involve walking along coastal areas, beaches and mangroves, including walking on soft sand at night, in warm climatic conditions. Depending on the nesting turtle activity we can walk up to 3 kilometres.
- Group of up to 8 people
- Minimum age for participation is 10.
- Participants under 16 are to be accompanied by an adult.
- Departures subject to 4 people travelling .
The Bird Observatory exists to facilitate research focused on Roebuck Bay and migratory waders in the East-Asian Australasian Flyway. Their principle aim is to support the conservation of the migratory shorebirds which visit Roebuck Bay. This eco tour supports the ongoing important work of the Bird Observatory through use of their accommodation and local specialist guides.
Flatback turtles are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in Western Australia and under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and data deficient by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Turtles are threatened by habitat loss, oceanic pollution, climate change and the wildlife trade, among other factors.The data gained from the Eco Beach research contributes to data the IUCN need to determine the status and management needs of Flatback turtles which are the only sea turtles that occur mainly within the Australian continental shelf. During this experience you will have an opportunity to assist researchers with GPS mapping turtle nests, measuring turtles, egg counts and data recording.
Location and Transportation
This holiday is located at Roebuck Bay Broome Bird Observatory and Eco Beach, 130 km’s South East of Broome on Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast.
You will be transported from Broome in an air conditioned vehicle. The approximate travel time to Roebuck Bay is 50 minutes and to Eco Beach is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
2 nights’ accommodation at the Bird Observatory in basic but comfortable air conditioned single, twin or double rooms. Guest amenities with toilet and shower facilities are shared and a short walk from your rooms. Linen is provided, please bring a bath towel.
4 nights accommodation at the 4 star, award winning Eco Beach Resort. This stunning eco-friendly resort offers luxurious spacious safari-style eco tents (not air conditioned, ceiling fan only) or beautifully appointed air conditioned villas, all with private bathroom facilities. Choose from twin, double or single room options. Linen provided.
Please note this eco tour takes place during the resorts low season. Some services, tours, activities and the resorts restaurant may be limited and closed during Monday – Thursday.
All prices are for 7 days/ 6 nights, per person.
Basic Package – Eco Tent @ Eco Beach Resort
Twin or Double Room: $2,200
Single Room: $2,500
– Basic package includes non-air-conditioned Eco Tent accommodation at Eco Beach Resort
Comfort Package – Garden View Eco Villa @ Eco Beach Resort
Twin or Double Room: $2,500
Single Room: $3,000
– Comfort package includes air conditioned Garden View Eco Villa at Eco Beach Resort
Upgrade Package – Ocean View Eco Villa @ Eco Beach Resort
Twin or Double Room: $2,700
Single Room: $3,400
– Upgrade package includes air conditioned Ocean View Villa at Eco Beach Resort
6 nights accommodation • transfers from Broome • experienced naturalist guides • guided bird activities • turtle viewing and monitoring • meals as indicated • Aboriginal cultural tour
Alcoholic beverages • travel to the Broome departure point • optional extra tours and water sport equipment • travel insurance
Departs Broome: 11.00am
21 – 27 November 2018 BOOK NOW
Scheduled Hotel Pick up locations :
– Mercure Broome
– Mangrove Hotel
– Oaks Cable Beach Sanctuary
– Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa
Returns: Day 7 to Broome accommodation or airport at approximately 12noon.
Pre and Post Tour Accommodation
Do you need pre or post accommodation in Broome? We can assist you with accommodation bookings in Broome and Eco Beach. Email us your dates, preferred price range and if would like to stay in Broome or Cable Beach.