Looking back we wished we could have stayed longer than the 6 days we were in Australia. Of those 6 days the weekend was spent with friends with just a little birding on the side. On the one day that we hired a bird guide it rained! Nevertheless we still chalked some 75 lifers, 72 of which were with photos.
We took the Cebu Pacific Air from Manila to Sydney. It was a cheap, no frills flight which means you had to pay for check-in luggage, buy inflight food and blankets should you need it. No in-flight movies either. The 8 hour flight time was spent sleeping anyway since we left Manila at midnight and arrived Sydney at 11 (their time is 3 hours ahead that of the Philippines).
The first place we stayed in was at the Lane Cove River Tourist Park. Although it is basically a campground there are also cabins for rent. The cost was 151 Australian Dollars per night. The cabin was perfect with comfortable beds and hot showers. You have to bring your own food. Anyway the cabin also has a stove, a refrigerator and a microwave oven. We stayed here for 2 nights. Birding around the area is superb and we wished we could have stayed longer.
From there we moved to the Holiday Express Inn at Macquarie Park. It is a city hotel close to stores and public transportation stations. We stayed here from Oct. 14 to 17. The cost varies according to season and room type. It has all the amenities of an international hotel which included free breakfast.
Our final night was at the Meriton Serviced Apartments. As the name implies it is more like an apartment that is available for short stays. The apartment we got was huge and fully furnished. Again, the price varies according to season and number of rooms. Moreover it is close to the airport and shops. They also offer a shuttle to the airport for a minimal fee.
Although many birds in and around the Sydney area can easily be seen in parks, it is still a good idea to use the services of Bird Guide company. We were glad that we did on our last birding day. Andrew Patrick of Zest for Birds is a very experienced guide. Without him we would have never seen some marvelous birds like the Powerful Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Musk Lorikeets and much more. The cost was 330 Australian Dollars for a day's birding for the two of us.
We were told that there are trains and buses that have stations near parks.We were lucky that our friends drove us to the various birding places that we wanted to visit. The distances between the birding areas are so far apart that we believe a private car is a necessity. If you can handle right hand side driving, there are car rental companies near the airport. One of them even has a weird name: No Birds.
All in all we had a great birding experience in Sydney and surrounding areas. We are already thinking of going back!
Sandhill Crane Family Outing
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