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Tasmania, separated from themainland of Australia since the lastIce Age, has developed a uniquecharacter of its own. A dramatic andspectacular island, strewn with ruggedmountain ranges and wild forests, itsupports a natural history that is rich andoften bizarre. This comprehensive tourpresents an opportunity to enjoy the verybest of Tasmania's wild landscapes anddistinctive selection of birds, plants andmammals, including such appealingcreatures as fairy wrens and FairyPenguins, Echidnas, Wombats, Platypus,Pademelons and Tasmanian Devils!We begin and end our holiday in Hobart,from where we are able to explore MountWellington in search of the manyTasmanian endemic bird species whichoccur here, amongst them Green Rosella,Dusky Robin, Scrubtit, Brown andTasmanian Thornbills, Black Currawongand Black-headed, Yellow-throated andStrong-billed Honeyeaters as well as manyother colourful and interesting species. To the south, on Bruny Island, we nextexplore another stronghold of endemicbirds and, as well as such species asTasmanian Native-hen and YellowWattlebird, we will be looking for theisland's speciality, the Forty-spottedPardalote, one of Australia's mostendangered species. As dusk draws in, wewill settle into position for the spectacle ofLittle Blue (or Fairy) Penguins and Short-tailed Shearwaters that come in from theocean to their burrows each evening. Onanother evening we will head out afterdark to spotlight for quolls (native cats),possums and wallabies, following a day-time cruise from Bruny in search ofseabirds. Being so far south, some of theSouthern Ocean cormorants, albatrosses,petrels, shearwaters and terns may beseen, as well as dolphins, seals andperhaps even a Southern Right Whale. Next we will visit Mount Field, Tasmania'sfirst national park which was established in1917. It offers the wild, diverse andprimeval beauty of the Tasmanian 'bush',with forests of giant trees and huge treeferns, plus, at higher levels, a uniquealpine flora, particularly towards thesummit of the mountain. Similarly, withsuch a wide range of altitudes andhabitats within the park, a great diversityof both birds and mammals may be found,the latter including many that are eitherextinct or endangered on the mainlandsuch as the Eastern Quoll and the EasternBarred Bandicoot. Indeed, it was near here- in the Florentine Valley in 1933 - thatthe world's last Tasmanian Tiger wastrapped, to be displayed in Hobart Zoo forthe rest of its sad days. We now head into the TasmanianWilderness World Heritage Area, a vastexpanse of contingent national parks andconservation areas that protects one of thelast great temperate wilderness regions inthe world. It includes the Southwest,Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers and CradleMountain-Lake St. Clair National Parks,and protects a stunning range of ancientlandforms and forests, deep and wildrivers, narrow gorges, jagged mountainpeaks and sub-alpine moorlands. Here wewill make a spectacular journey on theWest Coast Wilderness Railway, whichlargely follows the course of the KingGeorge River through this vast andvirtually impenetrable wilderness, taking usfrom the old mining town of Queenstownto Strahan, on the west coast. Here we willcruise the waters of the vast andmagnificent Macquarie Harbour, enclosedby a magical and pristine environment ofwild rivers and forests of Huon Pine, anendemic tree species which can live to beover 2,000 years old, making it one of thelongest living species on Earth! We continue our exploration of thismagnificent wilderness by visiting CradleMountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, oneof the most dramatic and spectacularlandscapes of Australia and a great placein which to find some of Tasmania'smammals. These include such species asRufous-bellied Pademelon, Bennett'sWallaby, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Wombat,Echidna, Tasmanian Devil and Spot-tailedQuoll. The park also offers great walkingopportunities and an abundant birdlife. A night in Launceston gives us time to visitthe nearby Cataract Gorge before we travelto the beautiful Freycinet Peninsula with itsstunning white sandy beaches andspectacular views towards the pink granitemountains of the Hazard Range. The parkcontains around 145 of Tasmania's 230 birdspecies, due to the high diversity of habitatsand associated plants found here, and wewill devote a day to its exploration from ourbase in nearby Bicheno. We will also spendan evening watching Little Blue Penguins asthey come ashore to their nesting burrows. Back in Hobart for our final night inTasmania, prior to our homeward flight,there will be a chance to re-visit MountWellington in search of any of the endemicbirds that we may have missed during thiscomprehensive tour.Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationTASMANIATASMANSEASOUTHERNOCEANBASS STRAITLAUNCESTONCRADLE MOUNTAIN-LAKE ST. CLAIRNATIONAL PARKBICHENOSTRAHANQUEENSTOWNNEWMOUNT FIELDNORFOLKNATIONAL PARKHOBARTBRUNYISLANDFREYCINETNATIONAL PARKOutline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2In flight.Day 3Arrive Hobart.Day 4/5Bruny Island.Day 6Mount Field NationalPark.Day 7Queenstown.Day 8/9Strahan.Day 10/11Cradle Mountain-LakeSt. Clair National Park. Day 12Launceston.Day 13/14Bicheno and FreycinetNational Park.Day 15Hobart.Day 16Depart Hobart.Day 17Arrive London.AccommodationA mixture of comfortable hotel,motel and chalet accommodation,most with private facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingA/B. Wildlife walks, some moderatebut optional, and cruises.FocusThe unique fauna, flora andwilderness regions of Tasmania. LeaderRuth Brozek, plus local guides.Single room supplement£950.ExtensionsGladly arranged on request.Web quick search: AUS03 263Tasmania - The Wilderness IsleA 17-day holiday focusing exclusively on the unique and special wildlife to be found in the rugged and spectacular wilderness regions of a very special island. Friday 26th October - Sunday 11th November 2012 Cost: £5,495Friday 25th October - Sunday 10th November 2013 Cost: £6,495WombatForty-spotted PardaloteCradle Mountain

Tucked away in the southern rim of thePacific, New Zealand is a land with anenchanting and refreshing nature.Whilst a morning may be greeted high inmajestic mountain valleys by hearing thediscreet scuttle of a skink beneath alpineshrubs, the afternoon may be spent on thesea, watching gliding albatrosses andporpoising fur seals.New Zealand has a very rich and intriguingnatural heritage which, when explored inthe context of the beauty of the forests,mountains, coasts and wildlife, cannot helpbut captivate. The native birds, otherwildlife and plants are diverse and unique,having evolved without the influence ofland mammals since the island's isolationfrom Gondwana. Many, though, havebecome extinct or threatened since thearrival of humans and their accompanyingmenagerie of animal and plant pests.However, these threats have strengthenedthe nation's present-day commitment toconservation, deepening both the locals'and visitors' appreciation of this relativelyclean, spacious country and its veryspecial wildlife.Our natural history journey begins inAuckland, an area characterised by water, volcanoes and islands. On the west coastwe will watch Australasian Gannets soaringin towards their scattered rock outcropcolonies. Within a few hours' drive we willbe on the east coast, observingcongregations of migratory and endemicbirds feeding on the silt flats of Miranda.We will have an overnight stay onpicturesque Tiritiri Matangi Island, to enjoythe fullness of birdsong in regeneratingforest, including that of such reintroducedrarities as the Saddleback, Stitchbird,Whitehead, Little-spotted Kiwi and Takahe.The central plateau of the North Island willshare geothermal secrets with us as wewalk through a valley of boiling mud andwater at Waimangu, and in a podocarprainforest at Pureora. In the mist at thebreak of dawn we may be lucky to hear thehaunting call of the endangered Kokako,and encounter a diversity of other birds,insects and plant species. Not far away isTongariro, New Zealand's first national parkand a place of great spiritual significanceto the indigenous Maori people. The parkoffers us a wonderful perspective of thesevolcanic landscapes, and the conservationissues that affect the area, as we walkamongst a subalpine flora and enjoy thespectacular mountain backdrop.On the way to the South Island, we mayencounter species of albatross, shearwaterand petrel, as well as dolphins, in CookStrait. Then we will explore the waters of theMarlborough Sounds aboard a privatecharter vessel, before travelling further downthe coast to Kaikoura, where snow-cappedmountains reach to the sea. Here we willventure offshore once again, in search ofSperm Whales, Hector's and DuskyDolphins, and a fine selection of seabirds. Our journey now takes us over the maindivide via Arthur's Pass, a route once usedby the Maori people. We will then traveldown the wild and wet west coast, beneathavenues of lush green rainforest, searchingfor the rare Westland Black Petrel, theGreat White Egret and Fiordland CrestedPenguin in their natural habitats. Thecontrast of the west to the vast rollingOtago landscape of schist rock, tussockland and clear turquoise lakes, is striking.Next we will head for the heights andgrandeur of Mount Cook National Park,and walk amongst alpine vegetation alivewith clicking crickets as we search for therare Black Stilt. Two nights on the almostpristine Stewart Island will allow us time towatch the Brown Kiwi in its naturalenvironment, as well as the Kaka, Weka,Bellbird and parakeets. At sea fly a numberof seabirds, including Shy Albatrosses andFairy Prions, and in Paterson Inlet we maysee shags, rare Yellow-eyed Penguins anddolphins. Back on the mainland, we willthen be enticed by the glacially sculpturedmountains and valleys of FiordlandNational Park. The drive through to MilfordSound offers spectacular scenery as wellas opportunities to seek out some uniqueendemic bird species, including theYellowhead, Kea and Rock Wren; anoptional boat cruise along the fiord,beneath its steep cliffs and waterfalls, isawe-inspiring. Finally we arrive in Dunedin, the 'wildlifecapital', where we will cruise aroundTaiaroa Head, the only mainland breedingsite of the Northern Royal Albatross. With awingspan of three metres, these seabirdsare certainly impressive as they soar overcliffs dotted with nests of Spotted Shagsand the rare Stewart Island Shags.Cruising on, past rocky shelves of loungingNew Zealand Fur Seals, we will sail backdown the harbour, towards the city. Amagical way indeed to draw to a close ourrich and diverse discovery of NewZealand's wildlife treasures.New Zealand's Natural HistoryA 22-day experience of the unique and characterful birds, wildlife and scenery of New Zealand,from marshland to rainforest and from snow-capped mountains to the sea.Saturday 9th February - Saturday 2nd March Cost: £5,995Saturday 26th October - Saturday 16th November Cost: £5,995Outline itineraryDay 1/2Depart London/in flight.Day 3Auckland.Day 4Miranda WildlifeSanctuary.Day 5Tiritiri Matangi Island.Day 6Rotorua and Taupo.Day 7Pureora Forest Park.Day 8Tongariro National Park.Day 9Cook Strait and Picton.Day 10Marlborough Sounds.Day 11Kaikoura.Day 12Arthur's Pass andHokitika.Day 13Westland National Park.Day 14Lake Moeraki andMackenzie Basin.Day 15Mount Cook NationalPark and Lake Ohau.Day 16/17Stewart Island.Day 18/19Fiordland National Parkand World Heritage area.Day 20Dunedin.Day 21Depart Dunedin.Day 22Arrive London.AccommodationA range of quality hotels, motels andlodges, generally with privatefacilities, except on Tiritiri MatangiIsland where accommodation isbasic, with shared facilities.Food All included in the price.Grading Frequent day walks. Fairly easy andoptional. Grade A/B.Focus New Zealand's natural heritage andwildlife, especially birds.Leader Mark Hanger, plus local guide.Single room supplement£895.ExtensionsGladly arranged on request.Web quick search: NZL02 264Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryBAY OFISLANDSCAPE REINGATIRITIRIMATANGIISLANDFIRTH OFTHAMESAUCKLANDPUREORAFOREST PARKROTORUALAKETAUPOTONGARIRONATIONALPARKWELLINGTONKAIKOURAPICTONHOKITIKACHRISTCHURCHMOUNT COOKNATIONAL PARKDUNEDINSTEWART ISLANDFIORDLANDNATIONALPARKMILFORDSOUNDWESTLANDNATIONALPARKSOUTH ISLANDNORTH ISLANDSperm Whale, KaikouraYellow-eyed PenguinFiordland National Park