birding accommodation - a different perspective.

To: "Kirrama Wildlife Tours" <>
Subject: birding accommodation - a different perspective.
From: "Tony Russell" <>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 00:33:04 +0930
Hi Klaus and others on this thread.

Let me say first of all that I have now travelled most of the country
birding, there being only a few areas left to cover and they will be tidied
up during 2001.

Sorry, but I take an entirely different view in regard to these "canned"
birding lodges etc.  Sure it's important to have some contacts who are
willing and able to give some leads on best birding spots, and I freely do
that for visitors to SA as well, even if my services as a guide are not
required. But when I'm away on trips with friends the last places we head
for are expensive lodges to stay at - in fact we avoid them as concertedly
as we do other tourism centres. Most birders we speak with agree that a
cabin or motel room is all they need, somewhere reasonably clean to get your
head down. Somewhere like Kingfisher Park is as fancy as one needs; and
let's face it, you're out of there at dawn anyway.
When on a trip taking several weeks staying at expensive accommodation is
just not an option, the main cost is that of fuel to get you to where you
need to be.  We have only cracked once in this regard in order to be at
Pajinka in the wet in Jan 2000, and only then because there is just no other
way to do it.

With regard to visiting O/S  birders I wouldn't want them to be going to eco
resorts or birding lodges in SA. If they did that I'd miss them as clients
because the lodge would be miles out in the sticks and have some tame
naturalist on hand who'd get all the business, and I wouldn't want to become
one of those.
 As it is clients tend to stay in various accommodations in Adelaide, some
even camping, and make contact with me by email or phone to take them out.
If it requires a stopover they are quite happy with motel accommodation -
some ask about camping.   There are plenty of places to stay given a few
enquiries without the pretentious expense of lodges.
Having said all that there are a couple of expensive B&Bs on Kangaroo Island
which do bird tours and probably pinch a few potential clients, but
fortunately for me getting to the island is also expensive and requires
advanced bookings.   I really don't see the value in going over there when
all but two species are available on the nearby mainland, and once on the
island one is locked in to a fairly limited area which doesn't have quite a
few species
which are readily available from Adelaide.
Even as a general tourism destination KI is vastly overrated, in the same
way as the limited bits of Kakadu that visitors are allowed to access are.
Sure it's nice, I'm not knocking it, but it isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Once you get there it's a bit of a let down. But I guess the SA Tourism
Commission has to hang it's hat on what little it's got to work with. The
Commission is currently carrying out a study into birding tourism in SA, but
their usual lack of funds and desultory approach I doubt much will come of
OK Klaus, you can smile now.
Adelaide birding by 4WD
phone: 08 8337 5959

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