Australia | Inala Nature Tours | Property Tour of Inala’s Private Conservation Reserve

A wonderful opportunity to see some rare and threatened flora and fauna on Inala’s Private Reserve, including the Endangered Tasmanian endemic Forty-spotted Pardalote. We will tailor the experience to suit your wishes.

Walk with one of our expert guides around the Inala Private Reserve, a 1,500 acre Land for Wildlife property which is home to a variety of threatened species and all 12 Tasmanian endemic birds. Observe at close range the Endangered Tasmanian endemic Forty-spotted Pardalote from the purpose-built canopy platform within one of its largest known colonies. View raptors such as the Tasmanian subspecies of the Wedge-tailed Eagle and the white morph of the Grey Goshawk from the raptor hide. Endemics including the Tasmanian Thornbill, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Dusky Robin, Green Rosella, and all four endemic honeyeaters are also commonly seen here.

There is also a good chance of spotting Swift Parrots which breed on the property between September and January, as well as Flame, Scarlet and Pink Robins, and Beautiful Firetails. Learn of the ecosystem in which these birds live, and conservation efforts to protect these species and their habitats.

The property is also a great place to see the uncommon white morph of the Bennetts Wallaby, enormous eucalypt trees and tree-ferns, a magnificent stand of Blackwood trees, and some native terrestrial orchids that mostly flower between August and March.

Top Five Birds

  1. Forty-spotted Pardalote
  2. Swift Parrot
  3. Grey Goshawk
  4. Pink Robin
  5. Strong-billed Honeyeater

Ethics

At Terra Incognita we support tours that do good in the world. They must help to conserve the environment, support local people, and educate their guests. Here’s what Cat Davidson from Inala Nature Tours said to us…

What conservation activities do you support through the tour, and your wider operations?

Tonia Cochran is the founder and owner of Inala and it was her passion for conservation that underpinned the creation of Inala’s private conservation reserve on Bruny Island, Tasmania. Now Inala Nature Tours’ tourism activity is the vessel that facilitates this message. Being a successful commercial business allows on-property and wider, local and national conservation efforts to be supported.

We have established the ‘Inala Foundation’, formed to primarily protect the 1,500 private sanctuary here at Inala in perpetuity, with intention to expand the project reach in future.

Targeted examples of species conservation make up an essential part of what drives people to visit Tasmania, Bruny Island, and specifically the Inala property. Profits from Inala Property Tours and entry to the Jurassic Garden and Nature Museum are returned directly to on-property conservation efforts, and each season Inala positions more purpose-designed and built nesting boxes for the Forty-spotted Pardalote and Swift Parrot, as well as revegetating former farmland with wildlife corridors and rehabilitation of riparian zones.

The combination of a solid reputation in both birding, nature and conservation fields means that Inala is asked to provide consultation advice on a wide range of local environmental issues. This has grown to include being asked to consult on proposed development and building projects regarding environmental and threatened species management issues.

We stay alert to potential threats to wildlife on the Island resulting from a range of activities including as examples infrastructure developments, forestry practices and increased tourist visitation, and when specific threats emerge, express concern with appropriate stakeholders, supported by well-considered and scientifically based information. In 2016/17 this process ensured that a forestry coup adjacent to Inala and home to a Wedge-tailed Eagle nest, was removed from the logging schedule for the next 3 years.

Inala practices what it preaches and provides a working example of how to keep habitats healthy while operating its tours and accommodation services.

We welcome non-invasive scientific research on threatened species and allow scientists and PhD students access to the Inala private reserve to carry out important research on key species of flora and fauna.

Inala has cared for Injured and orphaned wildlife for over 25 years. We have a constant flow of orphaned native wildlife; usually as a result of the mothers death by vehicle strike; that live under our temporary care with the perpetual aim of rehabilitation and release into the safety of the Inala Reserve.

For over 8 years, we have cleared the roads around Inala daily of roadkill, to mitigate raptor injury and death from collision with vehicles when they are feeding on the road kill. Moving the roadkill into a safe field area allows the raptors to then feed in safety. Three threatened species in particular benefit from this (Wedge-tailed Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle and Grey Goshawk). 

We contribute to many other important Australian conservation programs including threatened shorebirds, Swift Parrot and Orange Bellied Parrot programs. We support conservation programs both through direct financial contributions and through in-kind donations of accommodation and tours to auction and raise money for the programs.

One of our on-island initiatives has been to partner with another local conservation business to create readily available red cellophane packs for both locals and visitors to wrap over their torch beams in order to protect nocturnal wildlife such as Penguins and Shearwaters, from the damaging effects of bright white torch light in their eyes.

How does the tour support local people?

Being based on an island leads to many challenges including finding and retaining suitable local staff. At Inala, we are very fortunate in this regard, as we have found qualified, professional and passionate individuals at all stages of life and career, and from its origins Inala has utilised this pool of skills and we are proud to have become a large employer on the island. With operations, management and document storage systems now hosted in the cloud, Inala has also managed to retain staff who have moved off island due to other commitments. These staff work in a remote capacity but are in constant communication with the office-based staff and have access to all the office software and programs. Currently there are ten Bruny Island staff engaged in travel consultancy, guest services, property management and guiding roles, with a further two operational and travel consultancy staff working from Tasmania’s capital, Hobart. We have two specialist guides based full time on Bruny Island and a further six guides based over the water in Hobart.

Although Inala provides accommodation and tour experiences on property and in-house, there are many times when the property is fully booked and we must accommodate guests elsewhere on the island. Likewise, meals that form part of an inclusive Inala tour package are sourced on-island, and we often add nature experiences offered by other operators to our itineraries.

We use trusted and experienced contract local guides in birding hotspots outside of Tasmania, we ensure that Inala guests have the best possible experience employing local knowledge, whilst simultaneously building a network of reciprocal trust by respecting the ‘patch’ of other operators.

We also use local contractors and this year employed a local builder and neighbour for construction of bird viewing and photography hides. We also expanded the merchandise range in the nature gift shop. The gift shop showcases the skills and crafts of several Bruny Island based artisans and authors, wildlife related gifts from a small boutique Hobart-based business, and for example sell hand-dyed clothing and shopping bags produced by a 16 year old student (whose parents have a shack on Bruny) who sources native plants from Bruny Island and elsewhere in Tasmania as her eco-dye base. We also support the Bruny Island District School by stocking their calendars, screen-printed calico bags and stickers.

What type of environmental education activities do you incorporate into your tour?

Inala’s mission is to provide the best experience for guests without damaging or putting at risk the environment that supports the very birds and other wildlife they have come to see. In fact, Inala’s ultimate goal is to contribute to the overall wellbeing of the natural environment through education and research, awareness raising and practical measures.

We view wildlife in situ and as such, environmental sustainability is always at the forefront of business planning. Guides practice responsible birdwatching whenever on tour, which helps contribute to the maintenance of healthy species populations. Responsible birdwatching techniques include not using call-back/playback as this causes unnecessary stress to birds – especially at breeding times. It also involves not chasing or attempting to handle local wildlife, and not disturbing vegetation when near sensitive areas such as nesting sites. By providing our guests with a tour, we are not only helping them to see a particular target species, we are educating them on sustainable best-practice wildlife viewing and photography techniques that can be applied anywhere throughout their travels, in any environment.

On the Inala reserve we often host school group tours and community education programs. We have recently become a Children’s University which allows any children or visiting families to use their touring time with Inala as an environmental learning experience helping towards their ultimate ‘graduation’.
On the broader global issues of climate change and pollution, all the Inala guides incorporate positive ‘call to action’ messages and behaviour change suggestions within their guiding.

To encourage and enable the local community to further value, respect and enjoy the island on which they live, we are one of three founding partners and organisers of a much-loved biennial ‘Bruny Island Bird Festival’ which is a celebration of birdlife and nature. As part of the festival we offer our guided tours at a substantially discounted price to allow locals and guests to learn more about the remarkable and fragile ecosystems around them and hopefully then become involved with further environmental protection activities and commitments in their own homes and lives.

Inala stands out because our commitment shines through everything we offer, and we do it from the heart. Each member of the Inala team has a passion for nature, loves Australia’s diverse uniqueness, and is proud of being part of a business that stands up for what it believes in. Inala strives to give visitors an experience they will remember for the rest of their life, an experience they won’t want to stop talking about – and that leads the way to give the wildlife and species we seek to protect, a greater chance of tomorrow.

Review

“Picking just one magical moment is difficult. I was going to nominate the moment when four chestnut-breasted whitefaces — one of Australia’s rarest bird species — popped up out of the saltbush, or when a pair of orange chats flew in to look for food around the white mullock heaps of a working opal mine, while we dug through the spoil looking for treasures. Both are experiences that will stay with me as joyful images. But I think my most memorable moment occurred when Dr Ben McHenry, a geologist from the South Australian Museum who was accompanying us on the tour, showed us Ediacaran fossils in situ. These 635-million-year-old fossils represent the earliest forms of multicellular life, and are strange and wonderful and not quite like anything alive today. Dr McHenry also interpreted the rocks for us: the tillites deposited by glaciers during the Snowball Earth phase, the alternating bands of sandstone and siltstone that indicated changes in sea level, the layer of debris that came from a tsunami created by an ancient meteorite strike…This is my most memorable moment because it added to my understanding of the Earth’s history.

What made the tour special was Dr Tonia Cochran and her team take care to pick locations and design itineraries that offer a range of experiences. The tours focus mostly on the natural world, but different aspects are emphasised on different tours. For example, the Outback South Australia tour gave us both sightings of rare birds and an opportunity to look for opals (while learning about the geology of the region)! Local experts lead the groups, which are small and inclusive. Food and accommodation on the tours are always great — on INT tours, I’ve stayed in cabins, cottages, outback pubs and even an underground hotel! — and the value is excellent. But most of all, love of and knowledge about the natural world and enthusiasm to share it makes INT’s tours special.

Do it! It will be an experience that lasts a lifetime. You’ll see fantastic birds and lots of other animals, including yellow-footed rock-wallabies and maybe a southern hairy-nosed wombat. (And who doesn’t want to see a hairy-nosed wombat?!) The scenery is extraordinary — from the mangroves at St Kilda to the red desert plains of Coober Pedy to the Hans Heysen landscapes of the Flinders Ranges. You’ll see behind the scenes at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide and at an opal mine at Coober Pedy. Dr Tonia Cochran and her guides are extremely knowledgeable, with a wide range of interests and expertise. You will come away with great memories. And you’ll do all this in comfort!”  Bronwen Scott, July 2018, Outback South Australia tour.

• Experience of the tour = 5/5
• Tour’s contribution to conservation = 5/5
• Tour’s contribution to local communities = 5/5
• The education the tour = 5/5

Images

Contact

Tour Operator | Inala Nature Tours
Contact Name | Cat Davidson
Contact Email | [email protected]
Website | https://www.inalanaturetours.com.au
Website | https://www.inalanaturetours.com.au/bruny-island/walking-tour-inala

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