RFI: Trip to Cairns – Iron Range

Thank you all for your generous input!
I got several emails from here and not a single tip from Facebook. Thus, old school email lists are still validated (although in demise).
I will try to give individual replies in the next few days. Bear with me. :)
Nevertheless, a short summary of the replies below:
1. Two cars recommended. Read the fine print (i.e. terms and condition) carefully. Be prepared for large liability bonds or an additional fee. 1300 Truckhire was suggested by a few. Roads should be fine in Oct, and most likely also in Nov, especially in the first half.
2. Only a couple of recommendations regarding accommodations in Cairns. Google will be my guide. :) Several reminded of the strict no alcohol policy in Lockhart River, which I was already aware of. The fine of 48.956,25 AUD for the first offence is not something to forget…
3. Postponing to Nov will likely add Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and Black-winged Monarch to our list, but not much else. I'm now forgetting one more species, but that's it. 4 nights in Iron Range was considered enough. Thus, the trip will most likely be in early Nov with 4 nights in Iron Range.
4. Etty Bay for the Cassowary and Lockhart airport and surroundings for Palm Cockatoos were recommended most.
5. Lots of good info and trip reports have now been archived for later use. Hopefully better this time around. 😉
Additionally, a cruise to Michaelmas Cay, Daintree River cruise, Mt. Lewis and Atherton Tablelands were recommended by several. Bamaga was also suggested if we would fly to Cape York, but that's probably not likely. Will keep on reading for more. :)
Cheers,
-Harry
Harry Nyström <harrynystrom@gmail.com> kirjoitti su 13. tammik. 2019 klo 21.06:
Hello,
We are planning a part Finnish, part Aussie birding trip to Cairns and its surroundings and Iron Range in October-November 2019. The plan is to spend the first week in Cairns and its surroundings and the second week in Iron Range (most likely 4 nights on the spot), so 2 weeks altogether without intercontinental travels. This is not a guided tour, but a birding trip "on a budget", and with friends we have gathered over the years.
I have tried to gather good info on many things related to locations and birds, but experience is something I cannot achieve online. Thus, there are a few things that I would like to ask you for your expertise on – if it's not too much of trouble:
1. Car rental? Most likely would be wisest to hire 2 different cars: one for Cairns and surroundings, and another for Iron Range. Which 4WD rentals would you recommend? The prices seem steep, and the conditions excessive, at least in some companies. There would be 4 birders in one car, max, so probably the smallest SUV wouldn't be enough. I think that in October-November the roads should still be fine?
2. Accommodation in Cairns and surroundings for birders? The limited options in Iron Range are most likely already known.
3. Timing? The original plan was to aim the arrival to early October, but we are considering whether it would add a significant amount of birds to delay it even to early November? My original inquiries indicated that the difference wouldn't be significant, but another opinion wouldn't hurt. At least the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher arrives earliest in November. And would the 4 nights in Iron Range be enough for most target species? We really need to lock the dates soon, so this is crucial.
4. Best locations for Palm Cockatoos and Southern Cassowarys are appreciated. Iron Range Cabins – Lockhart Airport for Palm Cockatoo? And Etty Bay & Mission Beach for Southern Cassowary? Of course we will scan eBird as much as we can prior to the trip.
5. Any stories available from your past trips? I remember archiving a couple of them at one point, but seem to have lost them somewhere. I seem to have archived them too well… :)
Thanks in advance for all the help you would like to give us. It really is appreciated, as has been all the previous tips I have received during my previous (business) trips in 2015 and 2012.
Cheers,
-Harry

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